How to nail down your online business idea in 3 hours
Do you know how you grow a successful online business? You start one first!
And before starting you must get clear on the best business idea for you. This means an idea that:
- You are passionate about (because there’s nothing more soul-sucking than having a job or a business that you don’t like);
- You are knowledgeable about (this doesn’t mean that you need to have years of experience in the field, you just have to know more about it than your audience);
- Has financial potential (it solves a specific problem, challenge of a specific market). In this case, competition is a great thing, as it shows you that there are lots of people out there who are already spending money on similar products or services).
I am part of several Facebook groups for established, new and wannabe online entrepreneurs and, to my surprise, I see a lot of people who are stuck at choosing their business idea. Now, I am sure those people have lots of great business ideas inside of them, I am convinced that anyone is good at something or has a deep passion for something. What’s the problem then?
The problem seems to be that they think this idea must be THE ONE. It’s like they need to commit to this business idea 100%, so it should be the perfect one, right?
This is a big, fat illusion. There is no such a thing as the perfect business idea. I don’t believe in perfectionism, in any field. Perfection is just a state of things we should aim for, not a reality.
But you are here, so you know better than this. What you should do instead is:
- Have a list of potential business ideas you can start
- Choose one of them
- Dedicate yourself to starting and growing this business
- Evaluate the situation from time to time and not being afraid of changing direction after a while, if this is what feels right for
And today I will give you a system for nailing down your business idea.
First step: schedule it!
Open your Google calendar, iCal, paper calendar and look for the next day that is not already crowded with toddler parties to go to, piano recitals to attend and school events to organize.
Circle that date and write below: “Time for mom – nailing down my business idea.”
Depending on your specific situation, you might consider having some support in place, like asking the grandparents to look after the kids for a few hours or asking your husband to help you with the chores. Pick up any needed groceries in advance and prep the family meals in advance. The idea is to make sure you have three hours all for yourself.
And if having three whole hours seems like an impossible thing (I know what you mean), think about this: by the end of this weekend, you will have a list of at least three business ideas that make you feel motivated and excited to start! And as early as the next Monday you can start building them.
Let’s get real: WHY you want to start an online business? (estimated time -15 minutes)
If “having more money” is one of the first things to pop up in your head (which is normal), don’t stop here. Go deeper by asking extra questions like: “What would the extra money mean to me?”
Why is this step necessary? Finding your motivation is key. Because, at some point, things might get difficult.
In my first year of business, I wanted to quit at least three times. In those difficult moments, I remembered my WHY – building my career around my life, and not the only way around. This immediately gave me strength and motivated me to continue.
So don’t skip this step.
What ideas can your brain generate right now? (estimated time – 30 minutes)
Grab a pen and a sheet of paper. Divide the paper into four areas and make it look like the below image.
Now fill it in with:
- all the topics you love (hobbies, things you could read about for hours etc),
- all the things you are good at (cooking, writing effective emails, marketing etc),
- all the subjects you studied (like for example any course you signed up for in the last five years) and
- all the challenges you have overcome (like getting back into shape, saving your marriage, negotiating a big raise, paying off debt etc).
As you do this exercise and ideas come to your mind, don’t censure them. You might think some of the ideas have zero value as a business and this might be true, but the purpose here is just to get on paper as many different things we can.
Try to come up with at least 20 ideas.
Which business is the right one for you? – estimated time15 minutes
This will be your business and your needs and desires are different. If all you can dream about is working in your home clothes, when the kids are napping, then there is no point in even considering business ideas that require office space and managing employees.
A few things to consider here:
- Do you love working by yourself or you want a team?
- Do you want to run an online business or a brick and mortar one?
- Do you want to sell a service (like consulting, coaching, sewing etc) or a product (one that you can manufacture or want that other people produce)?
Refining your ideas – estimated time 30 minutes
Now let’s do some spring cleaning on your list of potential business ideas. Go through all the ideas, one by one, and cross off those which:
- Are not in line with your ideal business model.
- You don’t see yourself doing again and again, over the next five
- Involve taking steps you are not prepared for, like investing a big amount of money upfront or getting a certification you can’t obtain in the next three
You should have a list of up to 5 business ideas left. Rearrange them, from 1 to 5, based on your pure preferences. If you can’t choose between some of the ideas, ask yourself this: if tomorrow you can start only one of them, which one would you choose?
Test your top 3 business ideas – estimated time 1,5 hours
Next, you will do some basic validation, to see how much of potential your business ideas have. You wouldn’t want to start a business, dedicate a few weeks to designing your website and writing many posts on this topic, only to find out that people are not interested, right?
Question to answer here: Are people paying for similar products/services?
Ways to find out:
- For products – go to Amazon and perform a basic search on your topic – see what kind of products come up.
- For online courses and services – go to Amazon/books or online courses platforms like Udemy and see how many books/courses there are on your topic and how many sales they have.
- Old fashioned Google research.
Finally, one business idea will stand out from the others. This one is the winner. Congratulations! You’ve made a huge step. You took action and completed a phase that most people who want to start a business never do.
The hardest (and best) part is yet to come but remember — you got this. You’ll either succeed or you’ll fail and start all over again.
In the end, you will have SHOWN to your kids that they can achieve anything they put their minds and heart into. And this will be priceless.
Are you an action taker? Will you give this system a try? When? Commit to it by posting your answer in the comments below.
Olivia Angelescu is an online launch strategist for time-starved women who want to launch their first online program like a pro. Download her free Online Launch Checklist here: http://oliviaangelescu.com/free-resources/