I Want To Start a Business, But Not Sure What?
So you’ve decided to start a business… but that’s about as far as you got. Working for yourself is not all rainbows and sunshine, but there are some definite benefits, so if you’ve already worked out that being your own boss is definitely the right move for you, but you don’t know what kind of business to start, then this post is for you!
Often businesses will start the other way around, someone will know what they want to do, and then have to decide if they want to do it for someone else or for themselves. But that’s for another post.
So if you’re struggling to work out what sort of business to start, or in fact, even what to do with your life in general, then the below process may be helpful for you. It’s all about brainstorming as many options as you can, and then we bring it all together in the end. So grab a piece of paper, or 10, and fill it up with as many things you can think of, getting as detailed and granular as possible. It may feel silly being THAT specific, and pointless writing down things you know for sure you don’t want to do, but getting it all down on paper can be very cathartic and clarifying.
1. Places & Industries
Put down on your piece of paper all the places and ways you’ve added value in the world.
Here’s some prompts to get you started:
List all the places you’ve worked, volunteered, studied, been a customer, been a member etc
List all the roles you’ve had in the above places
List all the activities you’ve performed in the above places
2. Roles & Activities
Add another section to your page and begin listing all the activities you’ve ever performed and roles you’ve ever had. Don’t just think work, but think all the roles you’ve had.
Example, as a mum you might write – mum, changing nappies, cooking dinners etc. Or if you’ve waitressed you might write – waitressing, remembering orders, serving customers with a smile.
You get the idea.
List all the people (types of people) you’ve come into contact with.
Example, a midwife might write – pregnant women, women in labour, brand new mums, nurses, doctors etc.
So now go back through all the lists you’ve just made and underline or highlight your strengths. So underline the places or industries you believe you were particularly good at working in, then underline the roles and activities you were particularly good at, and finally underline the people you were particularly good at working with.
It may feel like you’re doubling up a bit, but you might be surprised to find things on this list you didn’t think of when you listed your experience. At very least, this list is an opportunity to focus on your passions. So go ahead and list all the activities that you LOVE doing.
Here is where you can list any topics or issues that are close to your heart. That might be the foster care system, antenatal care, poverty, educations etc.
List the people you’re passionate about helping and/or working with. Some examples could be foster care kids, foster parents, foster care workers. Or pregnant women, dads-to-be, antenatal care providers.
1. Most Important Things
List here, in no particular order, the things that are most important in your life at the moment. Don’t go crazy with this list, keep it simple, and just really focus on the absolute bare minimum essential things in your life.
2. Things to change
We’ve all got things we want to be different in our lives. The very fact that you’re doing this exercise indicates there’s something that you want to be different. So here’s your chance to imagine things differently. List the thinks you’d change in your life.
3. Work non-negotiables
So if you’ve got a couple of babies at home, doing work that has you travelling half the year may not be a possibility for you. And if you’ve got a problem with horror movies, becoming a movie reviewer may not work. So just think about the things you will not move on, and jot them down.
Now it’s collation time. So go back through the Experience and Passions lists and circle just a couple of each category. So you should have 2-3 items circled from each experience category – places, activities and people, and 2-3 items circled from the passions categories – activities, topics and people. Just circle the things that stand out, excite you, feel ‘right’. Use your gut and don’t overthink it.
Now using those 12 – 18 circled items, combine them, swap them, and come up with a few possible work options, and cross check each option with your Values list. Think about the practicality of each option, how it could be monetised. If you come up with ideas that you’d already thought of, then great, it might help you feel more confidence in those ideas. If it helps you come up with new ideas, even better.
Either way I hope it helps provide you some clarity with your new direction (or nude erection, as my juvenile husband would say).
I’ve created a little worksheet that you can print off and use if you think that would work better for you. And when life changes, when you’ve got new experiences under your belt, or passions shift, you can come back and give it another go. People change, and often our direction with work, as in life, needs to change occasionally too.
I would love to hear if this exercise was helpful for you, and what ideas you were able to come up with using it.