In my world I help my clients create a business from their passions and find ways to make their talents profitable. I help them find their own clients, become an expert in their field and make a name for themselves online through social media.
I’ve seen their success happen over and over again many time.
But it doesn’t start with a LinkedIn profile or a Facebook page, it starts way before that. It starts deep down with the answers to questions I call Your Why. Simon Sinek calls it that too.
In June I published a blog post on LinkedIn to all the recent graduates of 2014. In this post I discussed these questions and more.
Time and time again I come back to these questions as the foundation of everything, and I come back to them with my clients who are typically much older than 22. These questions are where we learn how to create the life you want by building the business that will get you there.
So let’s get you there!
I. Answer your where questions first: You need to think about what you want from a business to begin with, before you start talking about how you choose what kind of business. You have to choose how you want to spend your day.
Let’s say you want to paint pictures and you say, “I really want to paint pictures of the Eiffel Tower,” but you know for the next five years that you’re going to be stuck in a particular area because your family is there, or your job is there, or you’ve just had a grandchild, or your parents might be looking for additional help from you; and you know that logistically that’s not going to work.
So you need to build that business as a painter of things before you go too far down a road with a business that you know you’re not going to be able to sustain technically. Not from a business perspective, but from an actual physical perspective. You need to decide what do you want your day to look like.
II. Next go for the why, be honest here! I want you to name ten reasons why you want to have a business. If nine of those ten reasons are because I like to buy a lot of shoes, that business is not likely to be as sustainable, right? But if the ten reasons are because, you know, you can buy shoes if you go work at Macy’s – you can get a discount and you can buy shoes; you don’t need to own your own business to do that.
Can you come up with ten reasons where most of those reasons come from your heart? Then look at those reasons and see if they make sense for you to start a business on your own; if eight of them can be handled by working for somebody else without the added tasks of being an entrepreneur.
Now we’re talking! You’re on the path to developing what that business is going to look like.
III. The third step is going for the what: Picking a business that you still want to be talking about ten years from now. Take the painter example: you decide you want to be a painter because you know you’re good at it, and maybe you’re really good at painting portraits. You’ve done your ten reasons, you love to paint portraits, maybe you decide to get more specific and paint portraits of animals.
But the reality is people drive you crazy when you paint portraits of their animals. They say, “Well my dog doesn’t look like that” and “I don’t like when they have that on their neck” and “You know you painted her sitting and I wanted her standing.”
And you realize you don’t want to be doing this for ten years, even though it’s something you’re really good at.
You need to look long and hard at what kinds of things you choose and be sure that in ten years it’s still something that’s going to give you joy. That in ten years it isn’t something that’s going to give you a headache.
Take a long hard look and ask:
- Can I imagine myself doing this in ten years?
- Am I doing this to get away from doing something else?
- What are the underlying reasons that I’m doing this?
IV. One of the biggest questions to answer of all is the how: Do your research! Take your idea and do your homework, you need to know if it’s profitable and sustainable. One way is to spend some time looking at what other people are doing in the same field.
Back to our pet portrait painter! You’re now painting portraits of people’s pets and the average portrait takes you ten hours, it’s not going to be sustainable if you decide you’re going to charge $200 because its not $20 an hour. It sounds like it’s $20 an hour but it’s not.
You have to figure out, to the best of your ability, your total costs involved:
- It’s the cost of the paints
- it’s the cost of the materials
- it’s the cost of the time you’re spending negotiating before the sale and after the sale
The end result is it probably would end up being $5 an hour if you decided to charge $200.
V. Finally the bonus round – figure out the roadblocks ahead of time! There are roadblocks in business everywhere, but there are many you can think of ahead of time that might prevent you from sustaining the business you have chosen.
Let’s take interior design as our example this time. You want to start an interior design business and you want to be able to help your clients design their homes.
You will need to:
- be mobile and able to meet at different places around town
- be able to help them shop
- help them put things together
- be available for consultations
But the reality is you are newly married and you know you’re probably going to start a family. Right off the bat I can tell you you’re starting a business that has guaranteed roadblocks to begin with, because you know once you have your family you may not be so flexible to run around.
The answer? You want to design a business that’s going to be able to grow with you. You don’t want to put roadblocks in front of your business before you’ve even started.
Back to interior design, all is not lost! Maybe your interior design business wouldn’t be based on you handholding clients, running to stores with them, and traveling all over the world to find amazing pieces. Maybe your business is built on Skype assessments of their rooms. This method can be done much more affordably, but you can also do a lot more of them, AND you can build them into your lifestyle!
As you answer these questions, do your research, and your business foundation starts to take shape, you need to be sure you’re not building a business in which you can see visible roadblocks from the start. We all know hings can happen, but you want to be sure you are eliminating chances of building a business that in five years you won’t be able to sustain because of your lifestyle, or your projected lifestyle.
Guess what is another roadblock? Fear! Don’t let it be, don’t let it stop you, do your research and then test your idea. Put your toe in the water, get started and if things change, if it’s not sustainable because it’s not making enough money, or it’s too busy, you can always adjust.
Be flexible in business and in life and you too can have your passions be profitable. I believe in that.
Put your toe in the water today and join my LinkedIn group! Ask us questions, gain the support of others searching for the same success, and have access to me for free!
Go on, join today and tell me your business idea! Let’s do this!