When I decided to quit my corporate job to become my own boss, I thought I was clear on my business idea.
I had been a certified coach for many years, had been mentoring people in my spare time ever since, and my friends and family were always coming to me for advice. It was a no-brainer: I should just become a full-time professional life coach!
So for my first year in business, I advised people from all walks of life on all sorts of matters -- finances, dating, marital issues, time management, the challenges of returning to work after maternity leave, and even on how to reconnect with our femininity as women.
While it was fun and rewarding to work with such a wide variety of people and help them improve so many different areas of their lives, I must confess that I was struggling to replace my corporate salary as a life coach.
You see, when you try to please everyone, your focus and energy are scattered, and you end-up confusing your audience.
We all like to put labels on things. It's just a human thing. It helps us make sense of the complexity of life.
As a general life coach -- although a very good one -- I was failing to get known as a credible expert on one specific topic. And so my marketing wasn't working.
I learned my lesson the hard way, and I want to help you avoid making the same mistake.
So if you dream of leaping from the ladder and starting your own venture, make sure you're super clear on your business idea first -- and make it a profitable one!
Here are 3 questions to get you brainstorming viable business ideas that can bring you the fulfilment and financial prosperity you desire.
1. What are your passions?
Starting and growing your own business can be extremely gratifying, but it's no walk in the park.
So when embarking on such an adventure, make sure you choose a niche that really speaks to your heart.
After all, this is your business -- your playing field! It's within your power to create a classy career for yourself that you truly adore.
The first step is to take inventory of all your fields of knowledge and experience. Think back at all the jobs you've done in your life, all the hobbies you've had, all the things that you just love doing -- and wouldn't mind doing all day long.
Take at least 5 minutes to note down everything you can think of. Then review your list and pick your top 3 favorite topics that you already know a lot about.
Important: These must be things you really enjoy doing. For instance, as a former financial analyst, I know a ton about investing and accounting. But I would be bored to tears to do that all day long.
2. Who do you love working with?
You can tackle this question in several ways.
For example, think about your current tribe. How would you define yourself and the people you hang-out with the most? Are you all moms? Are you smart and ambitious corporate women? Are you entrepreneurs?
Who do you just love being around? Think about 5 people you really enjoy interacting with. What are their common traits and demographics?
Finally, who have you worked with in the past that really triggered you and upset you? What was it specifically that you disliked about them and their behavior? Now turn those insights around, and you've just pinpointed some of the characteristics your ideal customer should have.
Summarise all these clues into 1-3 groups of people that you would love to serve and help through your business.
3. What's the sweet spot?
Now that you have identified at least 3 topics that you're passionate about and 1-3 types of target audience, it's time to find the sweet spot between the two.
For each topic, ask yourself how you could add value to each of your preferred target audiences.
I'll explain further...
Imagine your top 3 topics of interest were yoga, business and travel, and your preferred target audiences were working moms, teenage girls and fashion models.
You could ask yourself: "How can I add value to working moms through yoga?" In this case, positioning yourself as a yoga teacher for busy working moms who have little time to exercise might be a good niche for you.
Then you could move on to the next target audience on your list and ask yourself: "How can I add value to teenage girls through yoga?" Now, you could position yourself as a yoga teacher for teenage girls who feel insecure about their body image and want to get fit while building self-confidence.
And so forth for all the topics and target audiences you listed.
Once you're done cross-checking all your business ideas and target markets, choose a combination that truly inspires you and that you believe already has a hungry audience looking for the solution you want to provide and who can afford it.
Voila! Here's a chic way to come-up with inspiring and viable business ideas to kick-start your entrepreneurial journey.
Now I want to hear from you. What business idea did you come-up with by doing this exercise?
Post a comment below if you'd like my feedback on it. I read every response.