When you look at successful CEOs and entrepreneurs in your community, what do you see that they have in common? Many people point to drive, creativity, an ability to work hard over the long term to get a project done, something they’re passionate about, or something they’re excited to share with other people. You’re going to enjoy running your own business much more if your company is focused on something you are passionate about. Here is how to start a business you love.
How to Start a Business You Love(iStock/alexeikadirov)
Start With Your Passion
Many entrepreneurs try to go where the money is. They have an idea for a new game or an app that will solve all the problems of the world, and they know there’s big money in venture capital for tech. While this is undoubtedly true, if all you’re doing is following the money, the odds are that many people are already there looking to carve themselves a slice of the same pie.
If apps and games are your passion, by all means, work to find something new to create in that arena. However, if you’d rather talk about fishing, or knitting, or carpentry, or parenting, look within your passions to find a problem that needs solving. The benefit is when you start your work, you’ll already have a community of people who can beta test and review your product ready made.
Draw on Your Community
Sometimes, you get caught up with a new community and think, “if they just did things this way, everything would be easier.” Sometimes you’re right, but more often there are reasons why things are done in a particular way. Until you’ve been part of a community for a while, you don’t always see the why of things that seem out of place or strange. Now, sometimes those ideas still need updating and changing, but until you understand why something happens in a particular way, your chances of being able to change the culture to reflect your new idea are essentially zero.
When you see something you think could be done differently, start talking about it, but talk about it with respect; and when people tell you that it can’t possibly be changed, listen to their reasons and be respectful. You’ll learn something that will help with your eventual creation. This is especially true in small, niche markets. Many products are brought to market by young mothers who are solving the problems they’re facing, whether that is how to carry their baby or a better kind of Halloween costumes.
The biggest reason you’re more likely to find success when you’re following your passion and drawing on your community is you’re more likely to create something that offers value to your users. Let’s take the earlier example of a young mother who is bringing to market a different type of baby wrap. Boutique baby carriers have become a highly in-demand item in certain parenting circles with people, paying hundreds of dollars for a wrap woven by this or that company.
It is quite possible to carry a baby on your back with an old sheet, and thousands, if not millions of people do this every day. However, with boutique wraps, the value offered isn’t just the ability to carry a child. It’s also the story of supporting a young mother who is selling these wraps, or the bright colors that make another parent recognize the brand of the wrap, or simply the story a person can tell themselves about how much a child is valued when they’re being wrapped in that much love.
When you understand what value you need to offer with your product or service, you know the story you need to tell your customers. You know how to start with marketing, and how to move forward to find success within the community in question.