If you do a Google search for “business ideas”, you will quickly be overwhelmed and confused by articles with lots of random suggestions. And while some ideas may be inspiring, they also miss the most obvious – and easiest – way to generate income as an entrepreneur.
Become a professional service provider by building on the skills you already have.
Think you can’t do it? Think again. Because if you have ever excelled and enjoyed any task related to your work, you can sell this service to organizations and individuals.
Following this process helps you avoid many of the risks associated with entrepreneurship. It helps you avoid impostor syndrome by doing something you know you’re good at, and since you’ve been paid for it in the past, you know there’s a market for your services.
So stop looking for business ideas outside. Everything you need to start a business is already within you. Here’s a three-step process to get you started.
Determine your genius zone
It’s time to get paid, and the first step is to determine your zone of genius, that is, the tasks for which you feel particularly qualified and that you enjoy. This term comes from the book The big jump by Gay Hendricks and I’ll walk you through the process of finding yours now.
We will start by gaining a basic understanding of the different skill areas.
Incompetence: You’re not good at these things and you don’t wanna be
Skill: You can do these tasks, but others can do them just as well
Excellency: You can do these activities very well, but it may not be as rewarding as you would like sometimes.
Genius: These are the activities that you love and want to continue to develop. You could talk about it for hours without ever getting bored. This is the service you will provide to customers.
Then open this spreadsheet. In column E, write down all the organizations in which you have worked. Once you’re done, write down all the major tasks and activities you performed in each organization in column F. This also includes the tools and processes involved in each role, and you can probably extract most of this information from your CV or your LinkedIn profile. .
Now is the time to assign all these tasks and activities to different skill areas. You will want to be extremely honest with yourself here. In most cases, you should have a handful of activities in your genius zone, a few more in your excellence zone, and even more in the remaining zones.
You can see the example of your worksheet below.
Based on the example above, this person could become a consultant who helps organizations plan their Facebook ad campaigns. Next, we’ll dive deeper into potential service offerings.
Related: 5 Steps to Get (Almost) Anyone to Connect with You on LinkedIn
Determine the specific services you will sell
Now that you’ve identified the skills you want to monetize, it’s time to create services based on those skills. I created the ACTION business ideation template to help you quickly determine the services you want to offer.
These can be scary if we are talking about your taxes, but they are extremely beneficial if you provide them as a service to organizations or individuals. Depending on your area of engineering, this is the step-by-step approach you will use to analyze a business or process. Your main objective here is to identify areas of improvement or opportunity.
Need help creating your audit? Watch this step by step video I created.
This involves providing your opinions, analysis and recommendations to organizations or individuals based on your own expertise. Fortunately, you can use the same process you already created for your audit.
You will help individuals or organizations develop the specific skills needed to do their jobs. It’s different from consultation, but it’s somewhat related. During your audit or consultation, you may have discovered that they need to start leveraging a new process, but they don’t know how to do it right now. This is where you come in to provide training.
This is where you help your clients put in place the tools or teams needed to achieve their goals. It could be integrating a new tool or even selecting the right vendor to partner with.
It’s one of my favorite ways to make money. With mandates, you continue to provide advice and services based on your area of expertise. But you may not have a specific project you are working on. You are just there to answer questions whenever they arise. I highly recommend offering installments at the end of any project so that you can continue to generate revenue from your clients.
By design, this is the most flexible part of the model. What ideas can you come up with based on the organization, its goals, and creative ways to help it achieve the desired outcome?
I’ll give you an example here. I’m making instructional videos focused on entrepreneurship for one of my business partners. But I recently presented them with a new opportunity, which is to implement an accountability program for all of their program participants. This matches my previous work and their mission so that they are receptive to the idea.
So that’s ACTION’s business ideation model. You can choose one or all of them, but I highly recommend offering audits, as this sets the baseline for all of your other service offerings.
Next, we’ll discuss promoting your business.
Realized : How Networking is Necessary for Effective Entrepreneurship
Ask your network to promote your business
I interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and 90% of their first customers come from their network. So before you start posting on social media begging strangers to work with you, start with the people who already know, like and trust you.
Think of 10-20 people you know who can market your new business. This includes former colleagues, friends and relatives. Ideally, these people would have access to a relevant network. This means that they may know people or organizations that could use your services.
Then you will contact them and ask for their help. Here is a template to start with.
Hope all is well on your end.
I am contacting you to let you know that I have started a new business and wondering if you could help me spread the word.
In short, I help (target audience), (do this action) so that they can (achieve a specific result)
Do you know individuals or companies that would be interested in this service? If so, I would appreciate it if you could introduce us or just forward this email.
Thanks for your help!
You can send this message via email or messenger, whichever works best for you based on your relationship.
Entrepreneurship is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. By following this process, you will be able to save money, save time and avoid burnout.
If you’re not getting leads in the first seven days, I suggest reaching out to more people in your network using the same message. This is probably how you will get your first client, so stick to it.
And I know you will still have questions.
- How much should I charge?
- How do I get more people to request my services?
- How do I keep my customers happy?
If you’d like some help, consider joining my video course, The Solopreneur’s Shortcut. You’ll get answers to all of these questions and more through a combination of videos, worksheets, and templates.
In any case, I wish you good luck!
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