If you want to start a profitable side business but aren't sure where to begin, here’s a simple roadmap to help you get started over the next 24 days!
I meet a lot of people who want to own their own business, but most of them don’t (and likely never will). The reasons? Fear, excuses (these can be the same thing), negative outlooks on life, criticism from toxic (and often well-meaning) friends or family members.
Would-be entrepreneurs say things like: “I don’t have the capital (money) to start,” or “I don’t even know where to begin,” or “I don’t know who my audience is,” or “What if I spend money starting up and then it fails and I lose all of my money?” or "I'm not a business person."
These are some legitimate concerns, of course. But they’re also excuses. We make excuses for why we don’t do things when we don’t feel adequately prepared for them. We want the outcome, but fear what may be exposed about us if we take a chance and end up failing.
“What will people say?” “I’ll never hear the end of it.” “It would be so humiliating,” we think.
But there’s a solution for this.
It’s called “a roadmap.” Or, “a mentor.”
You aren’t the first (and won’t be the last) person to have an idea and want to start your own business around it.
Below is a roadmap of the simple process every successful entrepreneur goes through. Your journey will be no different. Welcome to the club. Let’s get started!
This is pretty cut and dry. Once you have an idea for your venture, you need to learn some things about it’s marketability. You need to know if people want it enough to pay money for it. You need to learn things like:
- What specific problem does my product or service solve? (because people buy solutions to problems)
- Who specifically has this problem as a ‘thorn in their side’ right now?
- How can you get in front of your ideal customer and mingle with them? Where do they hang out?
- What specific outcome does your customer want that your product or service can get them?
- How can you clearly explain how what you offer will get them the outcome they want?
Knowing WHO you are for (and are NOT for) and WHY they would want what you have is vital to your success.
This means TAKE ACTION! That’s it.
Get in front of your ideal customer and start talking to them. Get to know them a bit. Talk to them and find out their problems and frustrations. Take note on the specific words and phrases they use to describe their problems and what they want. This will help you confirm that you are on point with your business idea (sometimes customers can surprise us by telling us what they REALLY want when we think we already know, but don’t!).
After talking to them, you can even ask them a question like:
“Tell me, if I had a solution that could fix that for you, would that possibly be something of interest to you?”
Their response is likely going be a “YES.” Now, they are inviting you to share your business, product or service with them.
With #3, there are two possible outcomes: FAILURE (3A) or SUCCESS (3B). Each takes a different path, so follow each according to the picture in this post.
If your ideal customer isn’t interested in your offer, you’ll want to know why. This means you need to go back to Step #1 and refine. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it. This is a constant part of the entrepreneurial process. You'll be doing it forever, whether you're succeeding or failing. Plus, conditions change for customers based on variables outside of our control over time. Sometimes we have to adjust and refine by going back to Step #1: LEARN. If your product or service isn’t on target for your customer, return to #1 and then follow each step again.
If after talking to your ideal customer they buy from you, CONGRATS! Nothing is more reassuring than watching someone pull out their wallets and hand us some of their hard-earned money for something we created. This is a HUGE confirmation (and confidence boost) that we have something of value.
If it worked, keep doing what you did to make it work. Keep selling it to more and more people who are in your “specific target market” (more on this in another post). This is a no-brainer. Meet more people like them, ask for referrals to their friends and family who might also benefit from what you offer, then talk to those people and repeat the process. Just keep going!
Seek to make what you have (and your offer) better. After selling to your new customers, start taking notes on small details about them. Details such as:
- How they heard of you (one source could be bringing you a few customers, another could be like a fire hose! You'll want to know which is which so you can best concentrate your efforts for growth)
- The specific words they use to describe what they want
- The specific words they use to describe their problems (and how those problems make them feel)
- Ask them what they like about your product or service (in their own words)
- Ask them what could be done to make your product or service even better for them than it currently is
- Gather satisfied customer’s testimonials to use in future marketing
Use this information to better promote and sell your product or service moving forward so you can reach the most customers in the easiest way possible and speak their language effectively when you do.
*BONUS TIP: Always be learning about your customers and how you can better serve them. They’ll usually like you for it and possibly buy more from you because of it.