Monday, May 27, 2024

I Want to Start a Business But Have No Ideas

At one point or another, I’m sure most of you have thought, “I want to start a business but have no ideas.” Entrepreneurship can be scary and overwhelming, especially at first because it’s so open-ended. There is no job description or boss telling you what to do or when to work. 

Coming up with the right idea can be hard enough, but once you finally have one, what should you do next? 

While it can be scary at first, let’s break it down and go through it step by step. Before long you’ll have an idea, be doing market research, and be on your way to getting your first client or customer. 

Overhead view of a woman sitting at a home office desk, using a laptop, and writing in a notebook.

Be Open to New Business Ideas

If you’re starting from scratch, stay open-minded and don’t judge your new business ideas. Later, you can eliminate ideas, but for now, you’re just brainstorming and giving yourself options. 

At this point, let yourself have fun and keep your eyes open for opportunities around you. You never know where inspiration might come from. 

While you scroll on social media, see what businesses other people are running, pay attention to ads, and see what catches your attention. 

Do you see anything that makes you think, “That might be fun?”

Get Clear on Your Current Skills and Interests

We tend to enjoy our work more when it’s something we’re good at. Also, since starting a business can have challenges, you’ll give yourself a leg up if you can find something that aligns with your skills or interests. 

For example, my first job as a freelance writer was writing entrepreneurship articles for small businesses. Even though it was my first paid writing job, I had an MS in Entrepreneurship, had been blogging for years, and had been working for myself for four years. 

Think about your previous work experience, volunteer jobs, and hobbies. What skills have you gained, what courses or subjects have you studied, and what are you naturally interested in? 

Do as Many Informational Interviews as You Can

An informational interview is when you ask someone for around 10-15 minutes to ask questions about their work experience, business, industry, etc. 

As you collect ideas, contact people in industries or businesses that interest you. This could be as simple as sending them a direct message or an email. 

Doing this will hopefully increase your passion for what you’re interested in or save you lots of time by realizing that you might want to try something else. 

By talking to a range of people, you also increase your network of business owners and receive guidance about your next steps. 

Keep an Ongoing List of Business Ideas That Sound Interesting

In your daily life, you probably see dozens of businesses on social media, online, in your email inbox, while you’re grabbing dinner, etc. When you see something that interests you, write it down. 

As you do this, you might start to notice some common themes of business ideas that you like or don’t like. 

Maybe you like working with your hands and want to start an Etsy shop and carry inventory. Or, perhaps, you’re leaning towards a service-based business, like consulting or social media management.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it; it’s about finding something that is the best fit for you.

Know How Soon You Need to Start Making Money

Knowing when you need to start making money will influence what kind of business you start. For instance, if you need to make at least $500 by the end of the month, you might want to try freelance writing, selling on Poshmark or eBay, consulting, or coaching.

On the other hand, if you already have a day job or can put in a few months or more until you need to make money, you could start a blog or podcast, try affiliate marketing, begin dropshipping, etc.

Do Some Market Research

As you start generating ideas, talk to people and gather feedback. See what resonates and notice areas for improvement. 

In business, you often hear the term ‘minimum viable product’ or MVP, which is a simple prototype of your product or service. Creating one can help you ensure your business idea will generate interest and be profitable.

You can also try searching on social media platforms to see what problems people are struggling with and how you might be able to help them. 

You should also study your potential competitors and see what they do, how they sell, and how they launch their products or services. 

Once you’ve done some market research, try creating your own MVP to start getting feedback.

Read and Learn From Successful Entrepreneurs

If you want to find good business ideas, learn from the best and start by reading some of the best entrepreneurship books for new business owners. 

Today, you can learn almost anything with free or affordable resources like blog posts, podcasts, books, and YouTube. 

You can also start following the most influential women tweeting about entrepreneurship. 

Try to set aside at least 10 minutes daily for reading and learning. How much you can learn within just a few months will shock you. 

Start Thinking About Your Business Model

The difference between a hobby and a business is that a business makes money. So, think about how your business will make money. 

  • Are you selling products or services? 
  • How much will you charge? 
  • What do similar businesses charge?
  • How much do you need to earn weekly/monthly to make it worth doing? 
A woman sitting cross-legged on her living room floor, working from home on a laptop.

Consider How You Will Get Customers or Clients

Start with your social media accounts and find out where your ideal customers hang out online. Are you more likely to find them on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook? Social media marketing can be an affordable way to reach your potential customers. 

Aside from social media, are there other ways to reach your ideal customer or client? If you’re not sure, start by sharing your business with friends, family, and anyone you meet. Even if they’re not your ideal client, they might know someone who is. 

Treat Your Business Like a Business

Even if you’re not making money yet, it’s wise to plan. Here are a few things to consider.

  • What is your business name
  • Do you need any business licenses or permits?
  • What type of legal structure will you have? A sole proprietorship or LLC?
  • Will you write up a business plan?
  • Will you open a business bank account? 

While this might sound intimidating at first, remember that anything you need to know can easily be found online or in books. 

Also, when you treat your business like a business from the start, you are starting with the mindset that you’re operating a business, not a hobby. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot as Needed

Very few successful businesses end up in the same place where they started. 

So many people are afraid to start their own businesses because they feel they don’t have all the answers and are scared to fail. 

But you might be surprised that almost every business pivots and iterates to some degree.

Experience is the best teacher so even if you do lots of research and informational interviews, you might start something and realize a few months in that you don’t think it’s a good fit. That’s okay; take the lessons you learned and move on to something else. 

I Want to Start a Business Wrapup

Starting a business from scratch can be intimidating – especially if you’re thinking, I want to start a business but have no ideas. But that’s not true! I’m sure you have more ideas than you realize. 

Remember that starting a business venture is not about perfection. You might try out several small business ideas before you find something that clicks, and that’s completely normal.

What you need more than anything is persistence, a willingness to fail fast, and the drive to keep iterating. Every mistake is just more experience. 

Do you need some more inspiration to spark your imagination? Here are 40 small business ideas that you can do from home!

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