Everyone knows how to start up a business. There’s so much free content online telling us about hundreds of online business ideas like affiliate marketing, drop shipping, online tutoring, designing – you name it!
What most of these not so life-changing articles don’t tell you is how to choose the right business idea that fits you.
If you’ve ever watched any of Marie Forleo’s youtube channels – she’s actually rad! She champions the idea that you can be a multi-faceted entrepreneur with multiple businesses. But when you knuckle down and get stalking – like the creep I am – you realise she only started off focusing on one thing; coaching. Then she branched out. That’s why narrowing down your pursuit will be the best decision you make as you start focusing your attention on building out that one idea.
Oprah Winfrey once named Marie as a ‘thought leader’ for the next-gen on her show. She has an incredibly positive mindset, is completely passionate about what she does, is super empathetic, loves to help others and always seems to be doing a kajillion things at once. Here is Girlboss’ podcast with her.
When you start-up it can be easy to start doing everything at once. It’s because you have so many different skills, interests and you’re so DAM excited! This is the pain from being a life long learner and passionate about what you do. You consume so much content that it starts to consume you and sometimes, you deviate from your path and other times it can even stop you from starting at all.
This might include reading up multiple different ‘methods’ from different sources which can sometimes contradict each other leaving you very confused.
This is why I have written this little guide to keep you on track. If you want a business that you enjoy, that you love, that is in line with who you are then these questions can help you focus and understand what type of business is more sustainable for you in the long term.
After you uncover what works for you and you take the leap don’t be surprised that they may change over time – this is proof you are defining your own path and learning from implementation.
1. How Many Learning Sources Do You Have?
Learning is the best thing about starting up but refining, condensing and strategising all the information to fit your own needs is the hardest part. When you learn from multiple sources and you come across many different techniques. It’s easy to get tied up and confused about who to listen to especially if they contract each other. “This way is the best” “no that way”.
I recommend reading up on hardcore business theory which you can do so from reputable sources like edx.org(it’s free) and Linkedin Learning(it’s cheap) and discover what works best for you. Checking genuine reviews can help you figure out whether or not they are for you.
You don’t have to dive into a long-ass course. A good #madhack: when you get started, hyper-focus on that specific area you are working on. For example, when I started Email marketing I wanted to create a Welcome journey so I sat down and studied all the videos I could find on Welcome journey from Linkedin Learning even if it was module 4 in a course and module 7 on another – I ignored the other modules. Once I got that set up I moved on.
You can pick and choose when to dive in an complete a whole course and when to only dip a toe in. I usually dip my toes in if I want to complete a specific task that needs step-by-step follow through. I complete a whole course if it’s theory-based.
If you’re super stuck then find a coach, a mentor or a business personality (you know, I LOVE Marie Forleo) that has a similar mindset to you, that you admire, trust and want to be more like who is also very successful in the area you want into dive into = start investigating and emulating just to get you started.
I recommend finding 1 or 2 you trust that have the same values that you do. Because your values really do filter into the way you do your business and they differ from person to person. There is no right or wrong way but you want to follow someone in tune with what you stand for.
This can help uplift you, focus and reach your goals so much quicker.
2. What are your goals for starting up a business?
Whether you want to set up passive income, sell your creations, make $100,000 over the next two years or eliminate the plastics in the world, your business must have defined goals.
Think about why do you want a business?
If your only goal is money – you are going to get burnout. That’s why it’s so important that you have a goal beyond making money.
What do you want money for? Is it to start a family? become more independent? travel the word? pay for grad school? help your parents?
What is it beyond the $$$ that you desire?
3. Do the things that you love
There are so many amazing ideas out there for an online business but once you got your goals sorted out then you can start looking what you enjoy doing.
Get a pen and paper out and try to answer these questions:
- What relaxes you when you’re stressed?
- What do you love talking about all the time?
- What have you done that you want to get others to do?
- What did you used to do but now don’t have time to because of work, commitments or a family?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What do you love doing at work?
Think of something that you already do, have done and like already. You don’t have to love what it is but you have to really believe in the goal, outcome whatever it is enough to push through the daily tasks to get where you want to be. That’s why knowing what you love is the most important thing to focus on. The rest of the business you can outsource affordably on places like Fiverr (affiliated) which is an online platform for freelance and business services.
I started blogging when I was 12 and used it as a diary. Since then it has helped me through rough times, uncover what my passions are, learn more about myself, what I love and what I care about which has helped sculpt how I want my future to be. If you’re still stuck I highly recommend you try out blogging, journaling, audio blogging.
Then ask yourself what do you do that makes you feel like you?
Then focus on those things and let others do the rest.
4. Who are the people you really want to work with?
If you are planning on being a creative entrepreneur you will no doubt be dealing with a lot of people 1:1 and networking to start off with as you start researching more in-depth. This means knowing what kind of environment that makes you feel comfortable, energised and fulfilled is important in deciding on what kind of customers you want to work with. If you’re a studio you still need to get to know your customer because you want to cater your products to your audience.
You may want to work with people who you understand and how you can help. Here are some questions to get you started..
- What type of person do you feel comfortable working with?
- Who do you know who has problems that you have experience in that you know you can help?
- How do you know they need your help? Do you have proof?
After you figure this out try to start finding out more about them, what they like, how they spend their time. This will help you fill out their profile which is known as your customer profile.
Then you can use this to find more people like them to understand more how you can help them.
5. Do you need an accountability partner?
Depending on whether you’re a lone wolf or a social butterfly; I waver between the two, having someone there to speak to whilst you go through this whole ordeal is life-changing. Solopreneurship can get lonely.
I have my best friend and we VN on Whatsapp most days. We talk about what we’re doing, our dreams and what we wish to do. When our fears and self-doubt creeps in we have each other there for moral support. We’re there for each other and we’re on a similar path but we’re also very different so our different viewpoints can really help each other out when we’re stuck or confused. You may not be this type of person but for me, this works very well in getting validation and support from a close one.
It also helped me discover what type of person I want to work with. 💖
I like working with talented creative women who don’t know how amazing they are and that they already have what it needs to start up their own businesses and they just need that tiny bit of encouragement.
If you are doing it alone opening up and connecting to others in a community can open up your opportunities – you never know who you might meet and collaborate.
If you prefer a direct path and less exploration you may work better with a business coach, mentor or a course which can directly give you the information and direction you need to get started.
Sometimes, people will tell you that you need to do this to get to there or where they are at and it can push you through your path OR push you off it. It’s up to you to be in tune with your own wants and needs to fade out the noise if it doesn’t feel right.
“Clarity comes from engagement not thought”
All these articles I am writing are merely suggestions based on my own experience which may differ from yours. You will never know something works unless you do it.
What works for me may not work for you but you can only figure that out by taking the jump, going with your gut, following your heart and to be brave and just go with it and trust everything will work out how it’s meant to be.