Whether you want to be an entrepreneur today, or not – some of these strategies outlined below may help you define not only how you might make a few extra dollars, but may also help you define exactly WHO you are.
Have you ever seen “The Last Holiday” with Queen Latifah? One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from that movie – my other fave is from Hitch. The movies are not current – but the content is timeless.
In this movie, Queen Latifah has just learned she has a terminal brain condition. After cashing in all her money, she packs up and heads for a snowy mountain retreat where she intends to live out her last week or two of life. While there she coincidentally meets the owner of the big box store where she had been employed, along with a politician from her district, and their partners.
At dinner one night they learn about her story. When asked why she was spending her time at the resort she says, “You know how it is. You keep your head down, and you hustle and you hustle. Then you look up one day and you wonder, “How did I even get here?””
This is a nearly perfect picture of how we all seem to live our lives these days. Each day is packed with “things to do,” from housework to school work and your job. Somewhere in all this mess you find time to be with your friends and if you are REALLY lucky, you pick up a book or a magazine that isn’t related to anything you HAVE to do.
For some, developing a small business is a way to get out from under a massive mound of debt, while others do it as a way to express themselves and earn a little money at the same time. But, before running off to try the next new thing, let’s figure out a few rules that will make your journey safer and more productive.
Forget about Shiny Object Syndrome. If you subscribe to any newsletters, you’ll likely have received ads about how you can work from home – if only you purchase the next piece of software, information product or way to produce a service that EVERYONE needs.
In the first place, not everyone needs your product or service – no matter how great you think it is. In the second place, the only thing the ads are selling are products. The owners are not interested in your success, no matter how much they say they are. They are selling a product or a service and whether it is or is not successful is up to YOU.
Your first task is to forget about the next shiny object that comes along and stay focused on what you determine is the road you want to journey.
Once you’ve determined the road you’ll travel, it’s time to travel down the road! Right action is the ONLY way to experience success, no matter what anyone else ever tells you. If you want to be a writer, you must hone your craft. If you want to produce videos, you must practice. If you want to produce a physical product, you must have a prototype that you test and use. If you want to have a service, then you must advertise and get clients.
Determine WHAT you want to do. Make a PLAN to do it. Now take right ACTION.
Those are the two rules to keep you safe and moving in the right direction. You’ll take a misstep or two or three – but if you get up, revise the plan and keep moving, eventually you’ll get to your destination. Have a business is a lot like going through life. You might not have imagined yourself as a single mom, but this isn’t the end of your journey.
So how do you determine WHAT you want to do?
What you read next may not be news to you, but if you haven’t acted on the information then you are no further ahead than if you did have the information. So – ignore the shiny objects, make a plan and take action.
Research, research, research
You’ve heard the expression that the value of any property is based on three factors? Location, location, location. For the most part, the same is true of any business you start. Without research into many factors, you’ll likely stumble more times than you care to.
Before you can research the actual business idea, you have to HAVE an idea. And that takes research too – just a different kind.
Start by making a list of the things you enjoy, the things you are good at and the things others say you are good at. Don’t keep anything off the list. Maybe you’re good at organization, making lists, writing, research, parenting, relationships, numbers, accounting or building. It doesn’t matter what it is – write it down. If it helps, make categories to help you think about where your talents lie.
Pay attention to what others have told you in the past. What are the things you’ve done that you’ve enjoyed, done well, had fun with or that others have asked you to do for them? Has anyone ever said to you – “someone would pay for that!” Nothing should be left off the table – this is the time to consider everything.
Part of your research is to find what things may fit together. Maybe you’re great at cleaning and organizing. Have you thought of starting your own housecleaning business? You may clean homes or you may organize people you hire. Maybe you love children and organization. Can you organize a babysitting coop? Are you a whiz at the computer? Can you hire out your skills?
You may not build a business – but maybe you just want to freelance your work to others. Do you build beautiful websites? Can you do the books? Are you a great crafter? Do you make good matches? Does being a dating coach or life coach sound like something you could be good at?
By using talents you already have, you can learn new skills and build a business you love.
But, by learning and recognizing your talents, you can also enhance your performance at your current job, become a better parent, engage more with your friends or just pay greater attention to your own life and get greater enjoyment from what you already know how to do.