First Steps to Launching Your Own Business
I was working on a dinosaur puzzle with my son earlier this week. He was so excited to start this puzzle that in true three-year-old fashion, he dumped all of the pieces out onto the floor in one giant heap. His face quickly went from super happy, to overwhelmed, to sad, when he saw all those little dino pieces laid out on the floor. He had no idea how all of those pieces would fit together. He looked up at me and said, “Mommy, how am I going to do this?” I told him there were a lot of pieces, but we would start with one piece and do it piece by piece until we had all of the dinosaurs put together. Starting a business can feel a lot like a puzzle. There’s so many pieces to figure out and it’s tough to determine what to do first. But, just like the dino puzzle, I want to help you put the pieces together. When I talk with other military spouses about their business ideas, the biggest question I get is, “where do I start?” I’d like to tackle this one today to help you find the right place to start.
Start with your Idea
Maybe you have A LOT of ideas, or maybe you can’t think of a single one that you believe would make any money. Having a lot of ideas isn’t a bad thing. It means your multi-passionate. You have to figure out who YOU ARE, what you STAND FOR, what LIGHTS YOU UP, and what would you rather be doing, if you weren’t reading this right now. You have to start somewhere, but the funny thing is, you probably already know what that is. Stop overthinking it. Stop trying to think of something that aligns with the latest trends, stop comparing yourself to what everyone else is doing, stop worrying about competition, and stop putting this off until a “better time.” You want to start a business, do it. Start with one idea that can later evolve into other products and a services. You have to start somewhere. The whole point of a “purpose-driven” business is that you have a business that aligns with who you are, your belief system, what you love to do and who you want to make an impact on. Life is too short to wait on the next great idea. Find YOURS and run with it.
Plan Out your Money Makers
Your money makers are your offerings, the products and/or services you’re going to sell people. Let’s say your idea is to teach people how to dance. Your offerings are going to be how you’re going to make money teaching people how to dance. You could make an instructional video and sell it, you could offer one on one dance classes, you could offer group dance classes, you could could offer date night classes, or you could start a blog about how to dance and sell other people’s dance videos on your site. You could create an online course on dancing, you could write an ebook on dancing, you could create a how-to-guide on the best dance moves for your wedding, you could open up a virtual dance studio where you host dance classes through webinars. There are so many options when it comes to offering your products or services. You just need to figure out what you would like best, and start with ONE product or service. Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the potential ways you could sell your idea. Just start with one and you can always add more products or services as your company grows. Much like photographers have 2-3 different packages, you can also create packages for your business idea. Start with an idea, plan out your money makers and then move on to the next step.
Define Your Ideal Customer
Now you’ve got your idea, you’ve figured out your money makers and now it’s time to figure out WHO you’re going to sell it to. You may be thinking, everybody will buy my stuff. That’s probably not true. Just like not everybody eats at McDonalds, not everbody is going to want what you have to offer. Or, you may be on the other end of that spectrum thinking, no one will buy this. That’s probably also not true. To find out, you need to define your ideal customer. You have to KNOW who you’re making your products and services for. Who’s problem are you solving? Who are you helping? You need to know your ideal customer inside and out. Are they moms? Are they young twenty-somethings? Are they into health and fitness? Do they work a 9-to-5 job? Are they stay-at-home moms of preschool children or high school children? Whatever your business idea is, make sure that you clearly define who you want to work with and who will most likely buy your products. Then, figure out where your ideal customers hang out. What blogs do they read? Are they on Facebook? If so, what groups are they in, what type of pages do they like? Are they on Instagram? What websites do they visit regularly? Are they your neighbors? Once you know who they are, and where they are, it’s time to go talk to them.
Market Research Like a Pro
Once you know what you want to sell and who you want to sell it to, you need to find out if your idea is a good one. This step is crucial. Once you determine who that ideal customer is, go out and talk to them about your idea. Make a free survey online using Survey Monkey, Typeform, or Google Forms. Ask questions in a group on Facebook where your ideal customers hang out. Email a friend who fits that description and ask for feedback. Ask them what they think about your idea and if they would be interested in something like this. Get as much feedback on your idea as possible to find out if this is something people would buy. This type of research will help you hone your idea, and give you the insight you need to develop your products and services even further.
The most important step of starting your business is to put one piece of the puzzle together, every-single-day. Once you have your idea, decide what you want to offer, define your ideal client and then market research like a pro-it’s like you’ve already put together all of the edges of your puzzle. There are still many pieces to figuring out your business but I’m here to help you each step of the way. If those feelings of overwhelm start to sink in, know that EVERYTHING is figureoutable. We will work step-by-step together to get your business up and going. Keep following these weekly posts and stay tuned for more information on my upcoming online academy. Take it ONE STEP at a time, put together ONE PIECE of the puzzle at a time. You will soon have a beautiful business, but it takes time and determination to get it launched. You CAN do it and you WILL.
Have a GREAT day,