Online Business Basics 1: Taking The First Steps
A GUIDE TO STARTING WITH PASSION, FINDING A COMPELLING MOTIVATOR AND FINDING YOUR EPIC BUSINESS IDEA.
Starting your online business is one thing that will take you through a giant rollercoaster of emotions, even ones you probably never knew you had. It is also the time of your life that will be characterized by the most growth, mistakes and challenges you’ve ever faced. That isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact, growing in all parts of your life, learning from others’ and your mistakes as well as being able to use what you’ve learnt to navigate through challenges will unlock a lot of potential in your online business, set you apart and save you time.
With how fast the world is changing and with the fact that life is short, one thing is for sure; you need to be ahead of time if not right on it. If you’re waiting to make all the mistakes by yourself and refusing to grow, you’re too slow to be successful. Painful, yes, but true. Another truth is, sometimes the easy way is not always the bad way and sometimes you get help, it’s up to you to accept it.
This is all I never had, and all I wished for when I was starting out, and it’s here for you. A road map to help in the process of starting and growing your online business.
Start with Passion
Remember the last time you woke up excited and all pumped to get out of bed because you had to do something you were looking forward to later that day? Perhaps it was a trip or a surprise party you were planning that probably even kept you up at night because you were so anxious about it – in a good way of course. What about that person or pet that fills you up with so much love and pride when you think about them? What if your online business made you feel the same way every day? That would be nice right? Well it’s not so far-fetched -the idea of a business that fulfils you and gives you the freedom to live life on your own terms- but that only happens when you choose a business you’re passionate and not one that is merely lucrative.
Making passion your main thing will
· Make you more likely and more motivated to create valuable and quality content.
· Attract quality clients who will adore you and recommend you for your quality, and
· Make it easier for you to pull through challenging times when money is not really forthcoming.
So, let’s talk about your business idea; the thing that has you fired up to start your business and read this post.
Your Business Idea
As an online-business-owner-to-be or should I say, #bombbusinessowner (because I’m guessing you're not following through on this series to be an ordinary business owner) it's important for you to have clarity about what your business is going to be about. Your business idea should be so clear to you that you can communicate it effectively enough for people to understand and even buy into it.
Below a simple formula for communicating your idea clearly. Before we get into it, there are five things you need clarity about.
1. Who you are (the name of your brand/ businesses)
2. What solution /convenience you're going to provide
3. Who you are trying to reach
4. What problem you're solving
5. And what makes your solution different aka your secret sauce.
Also, it's worth mentioning that this formula could be used when you need a two-minute pitch (in simple terms a pitch is an entrepreneur presenting his/her business idea to a prospective investor. You usually have a few minutes to catch their attention so your pitch better be brief and containing all the information needed to know.) and will definitely come handy when you need to write a mission statement for your brand.
So back to the formula...
Fill in this statement by filling the blanks with the corresponding number above.
I/We ...............(1).................. are developing/creating/providing......................(2)...................to help.................(3).................. with ...................(4)........................ with/by .....................(5)........................
You want your statement to look like;
I, Elyeeka (at Elyeeka LLC) am developing an online business training series to help ambitious millennials start and grow their online business by providing them with a clear road map, action steps with easy wins, tips and resources as well as a community so they can build profitable creative online businesses in the smallest possible time.
It's easy to tell from this statement that whoever is making it knows what they want to accomplish, in terms of the solution they want to provide (since business is about providing a solution), who needs that solution and how to best serve and interest the people they're trying to reach.
Having a clarity around your business idea and making it solution based
· helps you stay focused, and even though your business might change directions in a couple of months or years, it'll save you a lot of confusion.
· helps you stay on track with what to create and how to create it.
· Helps you communicate what you do in an easy to understand way, makes people see you as valuable and they'll eventually take you seriously.
Pro Tip: The next time you feel clueless or insecure about what you do when you're networking because your online business / creative business job description isn't too familiar or it's too common, focus on the solution you provide. It makes you memorable. For example instead of saying I'm a blanket knitter, you could say I knit/craft (insert really cool, catchy description to help you (feel/do a particular thing). Descriptions and solutions evoke feelings, spark connections and are harder to let go of than mindlessly handing someone a card for job they're not sure they'll ever need. Granted. It requires a little brainstorming and a few more words but it definitely works!
Okay so enough about knowing your business idea well and being clear about your ideas. What if you don't have a business idea?
If you don't have a business idea for your online business. Relax. It's not impossible to still build a business you love. There's just one thing you need to know before you start brainstorming your business idea.
What is your biggest “why” beyond passion? Passion and zeal are the best things to get you started but having a compelling “why” will pull you through and restore your passion and zeal in the most trying of times. I know this first-hand. I cannot tell you how much looking up the wall in front my desk on days where giving up seems like the shiny idea on a bad day, and being reminded of all the reasons I can’t stop after how far I’ve come has helped restore my excitement and compelled me to keep going. You’ll need a big “why” too. You actually already do have one, you just need to think and search deeper for it.
(Download The Free Business Pre-planning Worksheets and let’s get started!)
With your thinking caps on, your planner in hand and no distractions whatsoever, I want you to think back to when you saw a need to start your online business. What exactly was that need (whether in your life or not) Think carefully about the business you want to start. Why do you really want to start it?
(Hint: Some of the flashy factors that will get you super frustrated faster an involuntary blink of an eye are money and recognition/fame.
You've mostly likely heard me say before that money is "a trust." People will not put money they earned with their blood and sweat into your hands until they are totally convinced that you will give them equal or exceeding value in exchange for it. Plus, I honestly cannot guarantee you that you will make really huge amounts of money within the first 3-6 months of your biz. It could happen, but not without you putting in some work. You feel me?
Back to your ‘why’...
Does your business have the potential to fulfill you? What keeps you up at night? What fulfills you? What results or solution do you plan on bringing people? How do you want your audience/customer to feel? How will your business affect you and the ones you will serve? Why do you NEED to start that business and be successful in it no matter what happens? What level of success do you envision for your business? (Be as specific as possible) How will you feel when you accomplish it all? (In full detail) How will those who love you feel? Who and what is counting on you to make your dream work?
Set time for this activity and make sure you don’t mark is as finished until you’re sure that each answer is solid enough. And yes, I totally recommend you print off the planner and write your answers and thoughts down. There is something powerful about seeing your plans and goals written down in your own words with your own handwriting. Next put all your answers together by setting an intention with the simple declaration below:
I will start my ………………….. business because…………………………….. and I will not stop at it no matter what. I will create/ accomplish ……………………… consistently, serve ................................ and accomplish……………………………………. within ...................................... .
Now that we know why we’re here in the first place, let's get back to brainstorming/ finding your #bomb business idea. Are you ready? Amazing! Get your planner and let's get writing! It's going to be fun.
Mmmm! Let's talk about all the things you love. We'll start with that. In the space for that in your planner.
1. Write down all the things you love doing, watching, reading about, asking questions about.
2. If you could do business doing one thing in a world where there's no money, what would it be?
3. What content (blogs, websites, podcasts, videos) do you find yourself consuming and enjoying most of the time?
Now let's talk about all the things you know and the skills you have.
Don't underestimate yourself here or try to be modest. What you know could be the solution to someone’s problems no matter how small you may think it is. So yeah, go ahead, write down allllllllllll the things you know about and the things you can do that can actually help make a difference or could've made a difference in your life a couple of years back.
1. Which of them can you turn into services?
2. Which of them do you get regular questions or get asked for frequent help on?
3. Do you know how to use any “in-demand” application really well?
4. What can you go days on end talking about because you have so much knowledge about?
Now we're getting somewhere with this. You've probably realized how there's a lot of overlooked genius inside of you by now. That's what we're talking about! Let's generate #bomb business ideas from your skills and the things you love/ passion.
So look carefully, with the equation passion + knowledge = business idea in mind, combine some passions with some skills and let's find some epic business ideas.
Here's an example in case you needed extra help:) Let's just say wrote that you love food, you're always trying new recipes and that you're really into healthy eating. Let's also assume you have amazing kitchen experience. You can also combine that passion and that experience to start a vegan food delivery service, or a vegan cooking masterclass and sell recipes and teach vegan alternatives to different types of food. (That wasn't the best of examples but hopefully, you get the point:) )
How do you know your business idea is going to be as epic as you think it is? How do you know you've come up with the best business idea? Simple! We vet each idea.
Look out for all those ideas ;
1. You don't see yourself doing long-term or aren't that passionate/ excited about.
2. You don't really want to pursue as a career, probably just a hobby for now.
3. You don't really have full expertise about and still, need a lot of topping up with your skills to be able to pursue.
For any idea that fell under one or more of these categories, put a large X in the indicator next to it.
What about those ideas that;
1. Are low hanging fruit (aka those ideas that will be easier to execute now because you have enough resources, knowledge, advantages to be able to do)
2. You're passionate and excited about enough to get to work researching, testing out and learning about what you actually see yourself doing.
3. Have been already tested out (have a high potential to become a profitable online business because there is a market for it)
Any idea that made it through to the last three categories must be terribly epic and are definitely worth trying out! Congratulations! You've found your epic business idea.
Wait! What if you have too many ideas?
Being multipassionate is one of the problems creatives all over the world face. Best believe, there's nothing wrong with you, you just have your creative juices always flowing and it's a good thing. In fact, when tackled properly, being multipassionate has the ability to make you stand out in your chosen field. So what do you when you have to many ideas which you want to pursue at the same time?
It's not that hard actually, with a little brainstorming, you'll be good to go!
So, what do you have to do?
· Find a connecting thread.
The truth remains, for you to succeed at doing business your audience must not have confusion surrounding what you can do for them. Attention span nowadays is short, within seconds you have to be able to tell us how you can help us and why we should choose you. If you start going the "I do a bit of design, a bit of writing and I'm also a business blogger" route, no one will understand what real value to provide, let alone be interested in what you have to provide.
What do you do?
String the ideas together with a connecting thread. How? Find a similarity or an idea that runs through all your ideas and dwell on that. For example, a better way of putting the ridiculous business idea above would be I'm a Squarespace Website Design and Entrepreneurs and I teach ambitious millennials how to start and grow profitable online businesses as well project their awesomeness through their online presence in 10 business/work days.
In two minutes, we should be able to tell how to can help us and whether or not we're a good fit for what you do. It'll also be easier for you to spark your audience's interest in what you do? Instead of the regular "oh that's nice", you'll be getting more "Oh that's really cool, tell me more about how you do that?", "oh that's wonderful I have a niece who needs wants to start and online business?" "How do you project awesomeness their online presence in 10 business/work days? " Being multipassonate is not license to be scatter-brained! Clutter repels. You feel me? Extra convincing? I'm here for you, bestie.
Here a few reasons why it'll be best if you center all your numerous ideas on a single solution-based thread.
· It's easier to grow a loyal audience/ tribe/ community/ following of raving fans when they understand what you can do for them.
· It's easier to create share-worthy content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, courses) because you know what your fans want, they tell you their problems and everything you need you need to create products and content for their every need.
· That also means every you launch a product or service, you're launching for existing markets that see you as an expert and would gladly give you their dolla dolla billzz ;) Next time you hears someone calculating loss percentage, you won't be able to relate!
Stay tuned for next post where we get deeper into starting and scaling your online business. We'll be talking about validating your business ideas, preparing your mind for entrepreneurship and also how to write your business plan!
Your Turn! What is your biggest takeaway from this episode? Is there anything you need help with or do have questions about? Lemme know in the comment section below, and I'll be thrilled to help! Besties remember?