How To Pick Something

There are a few things to consider when it comes down to picking something to start.

What am I going to love doing?

What am I going to be able to do consistently for a long time?

What am I naturally or already good at?

What am I likely to be able to make a liveable amount of money from?

What are the things that must happen before I make a liveable amount of money from this?

How long will that take?

Do I have savings to get me through? Or, can I make this work alongside my current job?

Is there a market for my offering? and if yes, how tough is the competition?

The priority in which you place the weight of these answers will dictate what direction you can and can't go.

If you've got savings, you're all good. You can try something until you either run out of money and go back to work or succeed as an entrepreneur.

If you don't have savings, and you cannot make your idea work alongside your existing job, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

If you love doing it and you're naturally good at it, you might be onto something! But will you be able to do it consistently for a long time? For example, I love making YouTube videos, and I've seen growth for my business when I've produced them. However, I've also been notoriously inconsistent. If my business relied on me doing that regularly, I would not be in a good position.

Being brutally honest, determining whether or not you can make a liveable wage from it is crucial! That's probably the factor we want to prioritise. If we can't earn a liveable wage from it, then it's not really a business, is it? It's more of a hobby, which would require a business or job to fund. Considering the potential for a liveable income can really help narrow things down.

Closely related is the question: What are the things that must happen before I make a liveable amount of money from this? In other words, what inputs are needed to generate the desired output? What is every single step needed to earn a liveable wage? "Getting a customer" isn't a comprehensive answer. What comes before that? You might need a website with a contact form, or an e-commerce store. Make a list of every step required to be:

  1. Officially in business, and
  2. Officially earning enough to live on.

Be realistic about the steps. (Also, see The Math module).

To find out if there is a market for the service or product you want to offer, it's as simple as seeing if anyone else offers it. To gauge how tough the competition is, you could see how many people offer it; the more there are, the harder it is to stand out. But this is where the newcomer's advantage kicks in. If you're starting from zero, you're hungrier than all of them. You'll pick up the phone quicker, reply to messages faster, and you'll be ecstatic to take the work. When absolutely necessary, you can charge less too! No big business with overheads and protocols in place can compete with the underdog on a mission to feed his family.

Estimating how long it will take (before you can live off it) is challenging before starting. That's why starting is essential; you can at least measure your input vs. output.

After making a sale or booking a client, you have a framework for assessing the required input for the desired output. From there, identify the specific path the customer took to your product and concentrate on the things that generate revenue.

For instance, if you're advertising on Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, TikTok, and Instagram Reels, but realise 9 out of 10 customers come from Gumtree, then perhaps don't spend too much time on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook Marketplace. But I digress...

Copy and paste these questions into a word document and write out as many possible answers as you can. Consider all options, combinations, and variations for all your business ideas to narrow it down to something you feel confident in.


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