Start a Business That’s Right For You

Start a Business That's Right For You
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series How To Choose a Home Based Business

Identify your interests and passions to find the business best suited for you.

Choosing a business to start is an important decision. After all, it’s a life altering decision that changes nearly every aspect of your life and the lives of those close to you.

Because it is so important many people spend a lot of time thinking about it, but delay doing anything concrete about getting started. Who wants to make a wrong choice?

Fear of choosing wrong – and failing – will often keep people stuck in the thinking mode. For years they think. And the day of choosing just never seems to come. You want to avoid this trap. But how?

By not rationalizing the decision too much. You see, ultimately you want to choose a business that makes you the happiest. You want to choose something you’ll love to do every day.

This means you must first go with the thing that stirs excitable emotions in you. If you think about your decision too long, then you’ll never get anywhere. You must choose from the heart, and THEN apply rational thought to your decision. Heart first, then the head.

It’s important to note that you can’t trust the heart to do what’s right for the pocketbook. That’s why you have that round thing atop your shoulders. Use your heart to choose, then use your head to make sure you’ve got a business model that will make money.

Now let’s do some “heart” work. Get out some paper and make a list for all of the questions below. Don’t think too much about your answers, just write as much as you can without attention to grammar or spelling.

1. Fun List

• What events do you like to attend?
• Where do you like to go for outings or vacations?
• When you have a day all to yourself free from responsibilities, how so you like to spend your time?
• If you are currently working, what part of your job do you find most satisfying?
• What type of movies do you like? Why do you like these movies?
• What kind of music do you like? Why?

This fun list represents an inside look at your inner child. The core of who you are can often be seen within the answers to these questions. Incorporating your playful self into your work life ultimately gives you the vitality and passion to propel your business upward.

2. Hobbies and Interests

What hobbies or activities do you like to do when you have spare time? Your list may include time with your children, working on a craft, writing to friends, talking politics, cooking up a great meal… whatever it is, you love doing these things and you could do them for hours on end. List everything you can think of. Don’t worry if your list has some of the same answers that you listed in your Fun List. Recurring themes are a good indicator of your true calling.

3. Reading Material

What books or magazines do you like to read? What subjects interest you? Why do they interest you? Think about your visits to the local bookstore. What kind of books to you look for? List all the books and subject matter that appeal to you.

4. Strengths Others See In You

Do your friends and family ask you to help them with certain tasks? What are those tasks? Why do they ask for your help? Do people tell you how good you are at doing something? What do they say?

5. Your Dreams

What have you always wanted to do? Do you have a dream of starting a specific business but feel held back by a lack of money or a lack of time? Imagine for a moment that money and time are not an issue any longer. What would you do if there were no limits?

6. A Better Widget

What things frustrate you? Do certain products just never seem to be the quality you expect? Have you ever tried to get some information and just couldn’t find it easily?

The “frustration factor” is often a great starting point for new businesses. Matt Coffin started Lower My Bills because he couldn’t find a good service to help him lower his bills after buying a new house.

And Nancy Wurzel started All Baby when she noticed the poor quality of personalized children’s gifts she had ordered.

Now then, have you got a good, long list? Look at your list and notice recurring themes. Does one thing keep coming up? Does one thing interest you more than anything else?

Whatever jumps out at you from your list… … that’s the thing to do!!

But, wait. It’s not that easy is it? Let’s say you’ve determined from your list that you like to go night fishing with Uncle Joe. His Jeff Foxworthy impression is hilarious at 3AM in the morning. How can that be transferred into a viable business model?

The trick is to look at that thing on your list and explore the possibilities it represents in a business application. You’ve got to give it some thought. Look at the essence of the favorite item on your list. In the above example, do you like seeing people entertained? Perhaps a comedy club is in your future. Do you enjoy the fishing aspect most? Perhaps you have the knowledge to provide guided fishing tours in your area.

Whatever direction you go, you must think in terms of motivating people to shell out their hard-earned cash by providing a perceived use value for your product or service that is greater than the cash value you receive.

What would cause folks to value what you have to offer?

It all starts with motivation. Think in terms of the underlying factors that motivate people to buy. Here’s a short list of motivating buying factors you should consider when thinking about how you will turn your idea into a start-up business. People buy because they want to:

  • make money
  • avoid pain
  • feel safer
  • feel healthier
  • feel more beautiful
  • be happier
  • improve relationships
  • save time
  • save money
  • be smarter
  • feel unique
  • have fun

So, once you’ve got a business idea in mind, think in terms of the above motivators and the value application within a specific business model.

If you’ve identified your passion but still don’t have the slightest idea how to apply it to a business… give it a few days. Think about your passion frequently over the next few. Get online and do some research. See what others are doing to make money in areas related to your passion. Look for different angles, improvements over existing business models, or variations which could compliment and enhance existing services in a unique way.

Once you’ve got an idea, it’s time to research your idea and write a business plan. But first, dive into the last topic in this series and inject your idea with a fire of burning desire!

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Brett Krkosska provides how-to advice on small business and home-based work issues. He is the founder of HomeBizTools and the publisher of Straight Talk, a syndicated column that offers a unique perspective on today’s business issues.

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