You are an aspiring entrepreneur. You are exhausted from being a cog in the giant wheel. Done with committing your time and energy to the pursuit of someone else’s passion (and pocketbook). For you, there is something bigger and bolder out there. You’re looking to put both your mind and your heart to work. You need substance, fulfillment and purpose in your career. We are here to help you on your journey. To help you find not only a startup idea that is profitable, but also to find a startup idea that you will actually enjoy.
Number 1: Find sources of inspiration
If you’re not sure where to begin, then start with people you know and trust. There is no better tool at your disposal than the network of people you already have in your orbit. From close family members to longtime friends. From coworkers to acquaintances. You have a vast source of knowledge and inspiration at your fingertips. Given the opportunity, these people would be happy to help you. The question now is, is there anyone in your web of connections who has a career or hobby that you want to learn about? More often than not, this person will be ecstatic to share their passion if you ask. The ball is in your court.
It may be easier to consider your extended network. You already have a wide range of strong connections with the people you interact with often. What about the people you aspire to connect with in the future? We recommend you spend time researching who out there has your dream job or dabbles in an industry that you find fascinating. Be purposeful in your roaming. Peruse Instagram, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Wikipedia or any sources you find helpful.
How did this person achieve what you strive to become?
There has to be a path out there for you. Luckily, you don’t need to map out the entire journey right now. You only need to find a starting point. A step further, you could even directly reach out to those target connections. You could even take the Donnie approach from The Wolf of Wall Street and walk right up to a stranger enjoying a nice meal if you felt so inclined.
If you take that approach, we recommend you present yourself as professional, polite and concise. Think “be brilliant, be bold, be gone” for these reach outs. For an email introduction, we even have a guide for how to create a professional signature line. You never know, it could be the extra bit of flair that makes someone want to connect with you. Lastly, we recognize that reaching out to a variety of different people may end up becoming a project all on its own. Check out our project timeline to add structure to your activities and transform them into a strategic agenda.
Number 2: Find your ideal lifestyle
What does your ideal working situation look like from day-to-day or week-to-week? Your idea of perfection may be to work from home four days a week and have every Friday off. Or you could be hoping to set off on a never-ending globetrotting adventure. There is an infinite number of combinations between those two scenarios. For the aspiring entrepreneur working from home, we have tips to help you master your work environment. And for the wanderers who don’t have a minute to spare, we have ways you can create more time in your day. It all comes down to you and your preferences.
Have you narrowed down what is the right fit for your lifestyle? Before a startup business can fit into your life, you need to know how much time, energy and focus you can dedicate to this single initiative. Our project checklist is a quick and easy way to get to the bottom of what’s important to you. If you have a business idea that you’ve been toying around with, our checklist is a perfect tool to help you determine if it is feasible to push ahead.
Number 3: Try out the Focus exercise
On our store page, you will find our collection of Wheelhouse Factory workbooks built for aspiring entrepreneurs. Among the options is our Creativity Workbook, which includes an exercise we simply call Focus. This exercise is critical to folks looking to discover a startup idea that will resonate based on their unique interests and values. In this workbook, we challenge you to reflect on three areas: what you are good at, what you offer the world and what you enjoy. The intersection between these three areas is essential. This is where your story begins. This is where your wheelhouse begins to take shape.
Number 4: Test out a proof of concept
Time to experiment a bit! What better way to figure out the startup idea that you will actually enjoy than to try it for yourself. When we were putting together Wheelhouse Factory, a lot of discussions went into our approach to reach people. We thought that a podcast would be an amazing way to connect with other entrepreneurs. A great idea in theory, but a massive challenge in reality. We had no awareness or expertise around how to start a podcast show. Additionally, we were in the dark when it came to the equipment that would be needed. With obstacles of this magnitude, the easy thing to do would have been to pack it up. Instead, we got to work.
We jumped right in and started putting the pieces together. The end product was the first season of the Wheelhouse Factory Podcast show. Today, you can find us on Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher and Google Podcasts. The most rewarding thing is that we’ve been able to share our experiences in our blog and help others on their journey. In just a few weeks of experimenting, we began putting out articles of our findings.
In the end, being able to test out the path toward a podcasting business was the only way to build skills and knowledge in that area. The experience has been invaluable. You can apply a similar methodology for yourself in almost any business scenario. Get out there! Scale your experiment for your situation and needs. All you have to do is start once and your journey is off and running. Not every experiment has to be a success, but we can guarantee that every experiment will provide vast learnings and growth opportunities, getting you one step closer to that startup idea that you will actually enjoy!
Some startup business ideas to build from
Below is a list of a few business ideas you can start. Obviously, this is not a list of everything out there. But you can use some of the ideas here and tweak them to fit your interests and hobbies. Remember, the goal is to find the intersection between what you enjoy, what you’re good at and what you want to offer the world.
- Become a drop-shipping seller for boutique products.
- Start your blog or book! There’s no shortage of outlets that would love the opportunity to share your voice. Heck, if you want to be published on our website, send your article idea to email@example.com and we will help you promote your piece!
- Take on the role of coach or tutor. The best part about this business is that you can really personalize it to fit your interests and lifestyle. Whether it’s a life, school, career, fitness, sports, music or another type of coach – your students are waiting!
- Sell freelance design services on Fiverr.
- Sell arts and crafts on Etsy.
- Get into the real estate market. Once you have the appropriate certifications, the world is your oyster!
- Share your secret recipe with the world by opening a pop-up restaurant or food truck.
- Repair services such as a car, house, tech or furniture handy-person. People are always on the lookout for folks they can trust doing business with, especially when it comes to their large investments.
- Become a pet care expert.
- Salon services.
- The list goes on and on . . .
Other challenges on the horizon
You may have felt the urge to pursue your own business for a while but, for a variety of reasons, you’ve resisted. You know the feeling. The rush of curiosity and ambition from dipping your toe in the entrepreneurial waters. Yet, the next step of submerging yourself completely is more intimidating.
A new venture takes focus and precious time. It takes creative problem solving and a host of other challenges that lurk in the depths below. The old adage of sink or swim has never been more applicable. For aspiring entrepreneurs though, it’s not enough to float on the surface where the water is calm. It’s about summoning the courage, the audacity, to plunge into the ambiguous unknown. Finding a startup idea that you will actually enjoy is the first in a series of never-ending challenges you will face. We’ll help you navigate this unknown territory with a few quick tips.
Find the right name for your startup business
How can something so simple as naming your business be so challenging? You may spend days, weeks or even months agonizing over this decision. Unfortunately, it’s inescapable and will be an obstacle you have to overcome.
In our article, “Name Your Business” we give you the guidance, tips and insights you need to create the right business name for you. We help you fasten your business identity to your mission in a way that connects with your target audience. In fact, we also included a similar exercise in our Creativity Workbook called Name-Storming. It’s like brainstorming specifically for your business name. In this exercise, we lead you through steps to pinpoint the perfect name that you will take pride in sharing.
Remain positive through adversity
Another unavoidable challenge facing aspiring entrepreneurs is that not everyone will see your vision as clearly as you do. While it will be a tough pill to swallow, you should know that you’re not alone. In our Shark Tankaways series, we found some truly amazing examples of entrepreneurs who pitched to the sharks on Shark Tank only to hear “I’m out” and still find massive success after the fact. Entrepreneurs need to have thick skin. You will hear “no” a lot. Consider it a gift because it provides solid feedback to improve your business and it will make things that much sweeter when you do find success.
Stay ahead of the curve
Last but not least, you will need to be vigilant about your place in the market. Other companies are constantly shifting their go-to-market strategy. They are trying to figure out the best way to drive demand. Having steadfast clarity in your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities is your best shot at staying ahead of the curve. Once you have your perfect startup idea, we highly recommend that you try out a SWOT analysis. In our article, SWOT Analysis, we give you step-by-step instructions along with an example to help you get started.
– Trevor Lightfoot
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