This is the first article of the “How to build a business in part-time” series.
You want to create a new company but you’re still looking to find that perfect idea that will lead you to the Phi Phi Islands on your private jet?
In that case, suffer no more! I’m here to tell you the magical formula that will make you rich!
How could you believe that I or someone else could have a magical formula to find the perfect idea?
Nope, there isn’t such thing as a free lunch, as you probably already know. And the first thing you need to understand is that if you want to become an entrepreneur, there’s no easy way to success, you will have to climb by yourself up to the top of the mountain, as nothing that really matters in life comes easily. This also applies to the process of selecting your business idea, I’m afraid.
Nevertheless, I will definitely do my best to help you thinking through it. That is my job here, as nobody can think and design an idea for you. Searching for an idea in those ‘100 easy and successful business ideas’ B.S. posts won’t be of great help, do you know why?
Because YOU are unique. And that means the odds you find the perfect idea to you, specifically, in a random blog post, is pretty close to zero.
So I am absolutely convinced the best way to help you is actually by providing you some reasoning guidelines so that later on, on your own, you might be able to find that idea that works for you.
Reasoning tips to find your perfect business idea
#1 Define what you really want from life
The first reasoning guideline would definitely be to force yourself to think what are the specific things about life that you’re aiming at. If you aren’t yet aiming at anything, be sure to understand what are your living drivers, why do you wake up every day and what would you want to achieve with your own life. This process may take a while, sometimes months, but as long as you reflect on the issue regularly, I’m positive that you will find out what you really want from life.
A better way of illustrating this idea can be found in Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People book. Think about this scenario:
Imagine you are dead, it is your funeral and your close relatives are all there, friends, family, and colleagues. Imagine that one of them decides to make a speech about you.
What would he say? What would you want him to say about you?
Now, this reasoning comes with a specific purpose: you might want to determine what are your specific priorities and goals to achieve in life, not only because it will guide you to find a business idea, but also because it will provide you with clarity when it comes to the achievements that are crucial to you, so when you are older you won’t look back and regret.
This reasoning is absolutely critical because, when finding a business idea, you can filter the ideas that don’t have a perfect fit with your main goals in life, and avoid doing something that is not yet what you are looking for.
At least, there’s a high chance this process will help you defining what you don’t want, which is already the first step.
#2 Visualize your ideal lifestyle
For a long time, I’ve been studying many authors who would say things like ‘What the human mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve’ – Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. Another author, Brian Tracy, for instance, usually says that you must visualize your desired lifestyle, such as a typical day in your perfect life.
Make sure you have very clear to you how would be a typical day of your future life. Where would you wake up? What would you eat for breakfast? Where would you go after? Would you go to work? What would you do and with whom? Would you go by car, train, bicycle? What type of assets would you have?
I’m sure you get the point. This reasoning is very important because it will help you defining the business model you’re looking for. As an example, if you’re looking to work with high mobility, you might want to avoid a logistics business or a food business, for instance, as it is an industry known for demanding the physical presence of the founders and long periods of working hours.
#3 Think what you are good at
This is a classic. Of course, you should be selecting a business idea according to what you are good at.
Everyone knows that, right?
Not necessarily. My own story is the proof that you might pretty much do something that isn’t what you’re good at. Just look at my case: my first venture was a Mexican street food business. Did you know that I have no passion at all for cooking? Why would I even bother to create a street food business, then? Well, because I didn’t have a solid decision process that would yell at me ‘No way you will do a food business when you can barely cook an egg!’.
What I’m suggesting here is: please have in mind that you should always leverage your strengths and the things you enjoy doing. Creating a business is already difficult enough, trust me, you won’t want it to become any harder by doing something you dislike or don’t feel comfortable with.
Additionally, when everything goes well and you’re selling, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling airplanes or toilet paper, you love what you’re doing! But when things don’t go as planned and you struggle, I promise you that doing something where you don’t feel comfortable with might represent a tough burden.
Example: while I was working on my street food business, I couldn’t be left alone on the point of sale, because if a customer would appear and order a Burrito, I wasn’t sure I could hand-roll it decently.
#4 What would you decide to do if you knew you wouldn’t get paid
If money wouldn’t exist on the planet earth, what would you be doing? Or what would interest you so much that you could actually do it without being paid?
This point is also a must. Very often seen as a dumb question, almost everyone would say something similar to ‘Oh, if I could do what I really wanted, I would be playing guitar!’, which actually means they believe that in the current context, deciding to become a guitar player would pretty much be a childish decision.
Well, I’m not saying that your instinctive and gut feeling should be your first option. Perhaps, being a guitar player is something unthinkable nowadays. However, opening your mind to things you really enjoy doing in life allows you to benefit from some additional creativity and, who knows, you might end up finding something related to the guitar that can actually become an income stream.
It is sad how so many people decide to abandon their childhood dreams. What they seem to forget is that when you focus, even for a while, on your childhood’s wishes and things you enjoy doing, there will be a rush of happiness and creativity flowing through your brain, which might actually help you finding the perfect business idea.
#5 What’s your current economic status?
Well, this one is also unavoidable.
What I want to share with you about your economic status is that it should definitely impact the type of business you’re looking for. For instance, while some investment bankers might be open to thinking about business ideas that require 1M$ of upfront investment, a bar waitress might be forced to think on a business with no or lower upfront investment.
The curious thing here is that I would actually recommend starting with a low or nonexistent upfront investment, especially if it is the first time you’re creating a company. Try to minimize your upfront investment as much as possible. Doesn’t matter if you have huge savings in your bank account, it is just a question of calculating the risk and being extremely humble versus a new reality to you and that is ultimately challenging to everyone.
Also, if you are currently in a situation in which you find yourself desperate to make some money, I would recommend that you don’t opt to reinvent the wheel – searching for a disruptive product or industry – but instead focus on an industry and business idea that already exists, works and belongs to a growing market. Personally, I see nothing wrong with following a trend (as long as it isn’t a technological hype), most people always make their best to create innovative products, which will require several years in order to become profitable. If you need the money asap, choose something that you can implement fast and that the market already understands how it works.
As a final addition to what we’ve been analyzing in this article, I would just like to share with you some ideas that are common thoughts within the entrepreneurship community. These are high-level guidelines that hopefully will be of use to you.
The idea isn’t really that important. In the end of the day, what matters is the execution and getting your action points done. Sure, the idea will be your initial source of motivation, but as you will find along the way, what separates the doers from the thinkers is that the first actually make things happen, and the latest remains watching. Besides, there’s a high chance you will need to shift your idea somewhere along the initial stages and it is advisable not to get too stuck on your original idea, be ready to pivot as soon as you observe outputs that are not coherent with your main assumptions.
Likewise, whatever you decide to work on, make sure to always think big, but smart small and, most of all, check the details.
Ideas that aren’t big enough – I mean big as if you would conquer the planet earth – are doomed to fail (well, the large majority), as they tend to lack the vision that intrinsically motivates the team and will also be less appealing to investors, should you need to raise a capital investment.
Start small and walk baby steps, so you can learn and adjust as you go. You will face tons of Alps around the way that you must walk around, so make sure you drive carefully.
Finally, always check the details. No matter what you’re doing, assembling your team, talking with your accountant or establishing a supply contract, guarantee that you understand perfectly everything that is going on so there won’t be any surprises along the way.
Thanks for reading guys, this was the first article of my “How to build a business in part-time” series and I will be launching a new chapter every week. This series’ purpose is to provide you with a structured, complete and friendly guide on how you can build your part-time business to a tremendous success, so later on you can dedicate yourself to your dream company.
Feel free to let me know which topics would you like me to address, I’m glad to reply specifically to your question.
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