You may well be convinced of the benefits of a side hustle and that now is the time, and you may even have carved out the time in your calendar to work on it… but what if you have no idea what business to start?!
While you may dream of coming up with “the next Uber” or “the next Airbnb”, you don’t actually have to have a revolutionary idea in order to start your own business. There are many successful businesses between the extremes of complete failures on the one hand and the Elon Musks and Richard Bransons on the other!
But what if you really have no idea what business to start?
1. Define success
I’m sorry to be a broken record here, but this one’s important! You really need to understand your reasons for wanting to start a business in order to, first of all, be truly committed to working on it and, secondly, choose a business idea that will give you what you’re after.
What are the criteria, the parameters, that a business needs to fulfil for it to work for you?
- Do you want to be location independent, so that you can work from home (or wherever you want)?
- Do you want flexible hours, a more ‘passive’ income stream rather than trading your time directly for money?
- Do you want to be working with big corporations, small businesses, or individuals?
- Do you want to be working on your computer by yourself or out and about, interacting with people?
- Do you want to work in an intimate one-on-one or small group setting, or do you see yourself working ‘one to many’?
…and so on. Try to get super clear on all the ‘non-negotiables’ and other important criteria that would bring you meaningful success with this business, and to make it work for your personal situation and priorities.
2. Consider your experience, your skills and your passions
To really open your mind to all the possibilities that are out there as to what side hustle to start, a good first step is to map out everything that you love doing, that you’re good at, and that you’ve ever considered doing for work.
Grab a piece of paper, write down “ME” in the centre and draw a circle around it, and then draw lines coming out of that bubble, jotting down anything that comes to mind. As you do this…
- Look beyond your job title: It’s easy to feel that your expertise is limited to what it says on your CV or your business card, but your current job title is just one part of your experience. Consider the softer skills that you’ve had a chance to develop, such as pitching to the board, negotiating with suppliers, managing agency relationships, leading project teams and overseeing budgets. Review your previous roles and organisations as well.
- Consider also your hobbies: If you’re going to be spending a lot of your ‘spare’ time outside of work on this new business idea, then you’d better make sure you enjoy it, so why not do something with one of your hobbies? Whether it’s baking, gardening, jewellery making, photography, watercolour painting (often it’s something quite creative), if you enjoy doing it anyway, it’ll be a bonus to make money from it!
- Don’t filter at this stage: The point of this is to raise your awareness of the range of skills and experience that you have, to uncover things you haven’t thought of, and build your confidence in your ability to find something to build a business out of. You can assess your ideas for feasibility later (and we’ll be doing this in coming weeks!). Right now, you just want to get your creative juices flowing and throw all your ideas onto this sheet of paper.
At this stage, you’re simply mapping out all those things that you love doing and that you’re good at. You may already see patterns, in which case you can start to consider how to package these things together into a coherent idea of what business to start. Don’t worry if you’re not getting a massive ‘aha’ yet, though, as this is just the start of the journey and there’s plenty more you can do to evolve these ideas.
Stay tuned, as we’ll be looking at how you can choose, and monetise, an idea in the coming weeks and months.
If you want to join the Facebook group in the meantime, we’ll be running free training sessions and other good stuff in there as well!