You’re smart, talented and driven. You’re going places and you have sooo much potential BUT you just need to find the perfect business idea that’s perfect for you so that you can just run with it and go (because we both know that you have the chops to make it a shiny success).
Where do you start?
I’m a firm believe in starting with you. It’s all about you. Your business idea has to light you up and be in that perfect sweet spot of:
- Your Desires
- Your Strengths
- What You Care About
- What Skills You Have / or Are Willing To Acquire
- Your Target Audience’s Needs + Willingness to Pay for Your Service or Product
1. Your Desires
Ask yourself what is it you want from your life? What do you dream of doing, achieving, experience, being? Go large here and don’t hold back. If time, money or resources weren’t an issue what would you want to achieve in your life? Feel free to break it down to different areas of your life to make it easier. I like to look at 5 areas:
- Your Career, Home + Family Life
- Body + Wellness
- Creativity + Learning
- Relationships + Community
- Soul + Spirituality
Go through each of the areas and right down what’s on your bucket list. Don’t edit. Just go.
2. Your Strengths
We all have our own unique strengths. Sometimes we wish we had different strengths but you’ve got to acknowledge and work with what you’ve got. Marcus Buckingham has done some really awesome work on Strengths and if you haven’t already heard of him you should check him out. He emphasises that whilst you may be good at a particular skill, if it doesn’t light you up or energise you, it’s not a skill. Ahhh relief. This gives you permission to focus on what you are good at AND enjoy. Super critical. Whilst you may be an awesome lawyer and great at remembering cases and putting together an argument, if you don’t love it and it doesn’t excite you it’s not strength.
Brainstorm 20 of your strengths. Go back to what you were good at when you were at school. What are you good at in your current job? What role do you play with your family and friends? What activities do you find yourself losing track of time? These are all great ways to figure out your strengths.
Next, survey your friends, family and colleagues and ask them to tell you your top 3 strengths. This can be scary, I know but honest feedback is the first step to self-awareness and getting a reality check on what others see in you. All too often we can’t see how awesome we really are 😉
3. What Do You Care About?
This is critical because you have to care about what work you’re doing in the world. Ask yourself what’s the one problem in the world I would love to solve? OK if it’s curing cancer that’s a biggie. But embrace it and start there. Ask yourself why? Perhaps it’s because you believe in health and living a healthy life. Or someone you know and love passed away from cancer all too soon and you want to do something about it. Investigate the why’s behind what you care about and this will help you understand what you’re really motivated by. You may have a long list but that’s fine. Go nuts and brainstorm. There’s no editing here.
4. What Skills Do You Have / Are Willing To Acquire?
To start a business and be successful at it, it goes without saying that you have to have the skills necessary to do well in that business. You don’t have to know everything; we all start somewhere and take a leap of faith when going into business BUT it’s important to take note of your skills. Note: these are different to strengths which are more generic things you are good at e.g. winning others over, being empathetic, developing people etc. Skills are more specific e.g. accounting, negotiating, writing poetry etc. You get the drift.
Write down a list of all of the skills that you have. Go through what you do in your existing job, what you do for fun and how you show up with friends and family.
If you have a specific “thing” that you care deeply about and want to train yourself to do something with it then you may need to acquire some skills. For example, if you really want to be a graphic designer but you’re an accountant who gave up Art in high school, you’ll need to invest in some education or training to really go for it in your new business as a graphic designer.
5. Your Target Audience’s Needs + Willingness to Pay for Your Service or Product
Once you’ve gone through steps 1-4 brainstorm the potential business ideas that you have then ask yourself who is my target audience and are they willing to pay for what I have to offer? At this stage it’s all pie in the sky. You’ll need to have the proof once you’ve spoken to your target audience.
Take the time to go through each of the steps above and ask for feedback along the way. I find the best way to tune into the answers to the above questions is to get out of your head where you can tend to “think” too much. Go for a walk; take a yoga class, journal, meditate or paint. Do something more relaxed where you can get a download from you. Sometimes the best answers come this way.
Good luck and have fun with it!