Over 40 and Overwhelmed about Entrepreneurship
Part 4 – Do You Have Your Business Idea Picked Out and What Do You Really Need to Start?
They Say to Do What You Love – Is That Really True?
Should you do what you love / follow your passion or what. In recent years I often come across articles and blog posts about following your passion etc. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life they say.
This is good if doing what you love will move you measurably toward your ultimate goal. In other words, if I love to paint houses and I’m really good at it, I can do that for the rest of my life but will it accomplish my ultimate goal which would be to travel with my kids, make a specific amount of money to support my youngest child for his entire life (he is autistic and will need help his whole life, don’t sweat it though he is a happy guy and joy to be around, I’m so grateful!) and to start a non-profit idea I have.
What Do Many Ultra Successful Entrepreneurs Say?
There are tons of self-made millionaires and billionaires who flat out tell you to follow your passion because it’s the only thing that can lead you to greatness and achieving your dreams.
You can’t really argue with their results.
One thing being over 40 has taught me is there’s more than one way to ‘skin a cat’ (I do like cats – don’t go off on a crusade) and not everybody follows the same path.
How boring it would be if we all had to do the same exact things to get the same results. Successful entrepreneurs, athletes, academics are all made not born. If someone thinks successful people are all born this puts themselves at a serious disadvantage and means they have a closed mind as to what they can really accomplish.
Michael Jordan didn’t just run out on the court and start making baskets. C’mon you know better. He practiced for hours and hours. While his buddies were out running around he was practicing the shots he missed in the last game.
It was not his athletic ability it was his desire and yes passion to be the best.
Sorry for the little soapbox detour – I just don’t want anyone to sell themselves short.
Just remember, following your passion is great as long as it is congruent with your ultimate goal.
This is why it is imperative to be very clear and focused on what your goals are.
Once you know what your goals are you can then determine the best course to get achieve them. If you are wishy washy about your goals, well, you’ll get wishy washy results.
Since I won’t be able to address every possible combination between what ultimate goals people have and starting a business I will use financial success as the benchmark.
It is true and I’ve met many entrepreneurs who are not nearly as concerned about financial gain as they are about helping people in one way or another.
I’m not here to judge, although I probably will anyway, but whatever your goal is, it’s ok.
Now let’s address a couple of ways to figure out your business idea, even if you don’t have one yet.
1. Let’s say you have no idea of what you want to do. This is simple – Make a list of 20 things you are good at… notice I didn’t say 20 things you love. Pick the top 3. Ask yourself a these questions –
- Do I enjoy this?
- Can I make money with my idea?
- Is this something that could grow into more?
- Do I want to spend the time and effort validating my idea?
If you answered yes to these go ahead and start validating the idea as I state in number 2 below.
You could also run a Facebook ad and see if you can get anyone to respond if you don’t want to ask your friends and family.
Look, I know it’s easy for me to say “Run a Facebook Ad” when you may not even have website or aren’t even sure how you would go about it. As I have stated before this blog post can’t really encompass everything.
If you really don’t know and aren’t sure if you can figure it out, you probably need to hire a coach or consultant. Yes this is part of what I do but I’m not trying to do shameless self promotion. Which by the way I am a fan of. I’ll save that for another time.
You can schedule 30 minutes with me on the right side of this page for Free and I’ll be glad to help you with whatever you wish.
2. Let’s say you have an idea and are excited about it. That’s great but what if nobody will pay you for it. Do you want to spend time, effort and money putting your idea together just to find out it’s a dud?–
I’ve done this myself. Not a good plan.
Your best bet is to try to determine who will pay you for your idea before you put very much work into it.
Validating the idea is a process but can be done quickly by just putting it out there to your Facebook friends. Throw out the idea and ask if anyone would be interested in pre-ordering at a deep discount. You can also join some Facebook groups for your ideal audience and if they allow you to post promotions put it out there to those groups.
3. You have an idea but you are not sure how to roll it out and make money quickly. The easiest option at this point is to become a consultant. If you are good at something and can explain it to others as well as have a validated idea than the least expensive route is consulting.
A consultant just advises people in the industry or closely related industry how to do something.
Example: Let’s say you are good at sales. You can advise local businesses on how to boost sales performance and consult with them.
Again I know this sounds simple but the process seems overwhelming.
Just take it one step at a time and let me know if I can help.
What Do You Really Need to Get Started?
So, for now you’ve got an idea of what you can do – what’s next.
- Do you need a business plan?
- Do you need a website?
- Do you need business cards?
- Do you need a federal tax id number?
- Do you need a business checking account?
- How are you going to do your marketing?
- Do you need employees right off the bat?
- What about office space?
- CPA and Attorney?
Far be it for me to give tax or legal advice. All I can share is my own experience.
Why would I need a business license, tax id, checking account, etc if I haven’t even gotten a sale or two?
Sounds like a good way to spend money without growing your business. I’m not saying these things aren’t important because they are. In fact, in many ways they can make you feel like you are actually in business which is a confidence booster.
(Ok, so you do need a lot of that stuff if you’re trying to open a retail store or restaurant but if you are doing this you most likely will have a partner and/or financial backing like an angel investor or small business loan and they will give you a list of requirements.)
What I am saying is they may not be necessary and you have to weigh out the potential benefit versus the cost and time you will put in setting these things up.
In my opinion, the only real thing you need is the idea and a willingness to talk to people about it.
Once you have the idea and you get it out there the market will tell you how good it is and from there you can move yourself in the direction you want to go.
All that being said, I do think it’s good to have a decent website up and business cards. While admittedly, I can’t remember the last time I got a call off one of my business cards, I do know it does not help my confidence to be speaking with someone new and they ask for my card, only to tell them I don’t have one. This is a confidence killer.
Same goes for the website. It may not actually bring in business initially but it goes a long way for feeling good about your venture.
The best thing you can do is grow your business first. Nothing happens without sales. Once you start getting some sales in then you will be ready to do all those things.
Don’t forget if you have any questions go to my ASK BEN page or schedule some time with me.
When I finish up my New Entrepreneur Over 40 Marketing Essentials Kit, if you want to be notified just sign up here and I’ll let you know. It’s really close to being completed.
All the best,
Next up: Final Post in this series – Content – How to deal with all of it and not pull your hair out!
Previous Post: Part 3 – Over 40 and Overwhelmed
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