How do I take my business idea seriously

If you have to wonder and think this it means two things:How do I take my business idea seriously

  1. That you’ve either settled on a business idea but don’t know the next step you should take – may be the hesitation on your part is due to you having doubts about whether to proceed with the idea or not, or,
  2. You just know deep inside you that you have this great idea you want to turn into a business but don’t know what it is yet. It seems to you that you are just hovering at one point, and like an eagle surveying the ground below for that one thing that will mean something – an idea that can make you lots of profits (while at the same time providing the much needed transformation the customers who purchase from you seek)

So, how do you deal with these issues? How do you go from paralysis to action? How do you step away from your busy mind to look at things with a more calmer and analytical mind?

How do you take your business idea seriously?

#1 Don’t chase after perfection at this point

Most of the companies you admire now didn’t start with the products or services they offer now. Or at least the versions of the products they brought to the market back then may not have been of superior quality compared to what they sell now.

Their founders picked an idea and ran with it.

Of course they did a bit of analysis and market research. But eventually they ran with the idea, tested it in the market – and got the much needed feedback in the form of people willing to exchange their money for what their business put out there in the market.

That is the validation you need for your business idea at the moment.

Put something out there and see if people are willing to, in different ways, tell you to ‘shut up and take my money’.

You can reiterate down the road.

You can create a better version of your product or service later on.

You can improve on your service delivery as you handle more clients – and more feedback gets back to you.

You can create a line of cheaper or more expensive items inspired by what your current idea is nudging you to do – but later on.

You can branch into another area and create a business, product or service that compliments whatever you plan on selling.

For now, matters perfection, leave them be.

See, if you can profit from your business idea. Strive to be profitable as soon as you can

Take your idea and validate it. See if people are willing to pay you money. See if people are content with what you are offering that the idea of giving you their money in return for what you are selling is an idea they embrace and don’t regret.

Your current idea (and the small business or company that becomes its foundation), think long-term of it. And keep improving, and branching to different sectors of the economy if you so wish, as more sales come in, profits increase and your business grows.

Getting more customers, running a serious business

You will actually start taking your idea more seriously once customers start rolling in.

They will demand the best – and often such demands will hold you accountable, keeping your nose to the grindstone. Sooner you’ll realize you are passionate about helping your clients and even relish the thought of improving their life or business through the products and services you put out there.

Remember that most business ideas are profitable right out of the box. The evidence? You will find that there are many people already doing what you want to do (despite taking different approaches). And you will find that some are running profitable ventures. They are serving their customers well and making good money.

What does this mean? You shouldn’t look down on your idea. Even if it is not in a hot niche.

Don’t discount your idea. Don’t look at it as one that will not lead to a profitable business.

Instead do your market research well. Then chart a way forward on how to reach and serve customers who are likely to find your product or service to be a good fit – depending on challenges or problems they are currently experiencing.

Focus on offering a quality product. Then push full-throttle on sales and marketing.

Do content marketing. Use inbound marketing strategies to get people through the door.

Start a blog for your business. Reach out to other bloggers and peers out there to see how they can help spread the word about the work you do – and how it can benefit the people to whom you are targeting with your message.

Sign up as a vendor on different e-commerce platforms to tap on their already existing audience of online shoppers. Target users who buy and sell on various marketplaces including Facebook groups and classified ads websites.

Just get busy doing things that converts prospects into customers.

And then you will realize this…

As you get busy doing all this work, you’ll quickly see a habit form.

The old you who wasn’t taking their business idea seriously will be replaced with someone hopeful and determined.

An action-taker, who goes out there, takes risks and does their best to convert the people they reach into paying customers – and then doing their best to help these people as best as they can.

You will, in essence, have found a way to take your idea seriously, doing what ‘s in your ability to turn it into a successful and profitable operation.

Instead of focusing on whether yours is or isn’t a booming business while taking no action that leads to growth, let your little action steps become like the snowball that rolls down the mountain.

Like the snowball, start small and gather steam. And then roll with the momentum – doing more of the things that are already working for you (depending on the feedback you get and what your analytics tools tell you).

Then take advantage of your growth to further turn your idea into a serious venture, that remains fun working at while putting measures in places to help you outgrow the hobby-business label.

So, instead of focusing on perfection, the ruin of most people who attempt to start a small business, work a day at a time. To grow at a pace you are comfortable with – while taking advantage of most of the business opportunities that land on your lap…so long as they are the kind of opportunities that mesh well with your short-term and long-term goals.

Working on your new idea, one day at a time

Do meaningful things that grow your revenue and profits for the day. Then wake up early the next day and do more of the right things.

This approach by the way does in no way mean that you close your eyes to the long-term.

Focus on the here and now, but plan things you do today with a long-term view.

Think about how the puzzle pieces fit to form the bigger picture that dances in your brain once in awhile – especially in the moments when you are excited about the prospects of owning a successful business (that takes care of the customers, you, your family and team of employees or freelance contractors).

#2 Give yourself a window where you vow to work hard on making a profitable business out of your idea

It could be a month, 3 months, 7 months, 1 year, 18 months or more. It is up to you how long you want to be down the trenches doing the hard work and making things happen.

It is easy to think of new ideas. Implementing them, that is the hard part for most people.

So, before your excitement levels dwindle, make a vow to seriously put in the work for a period of time (you choose how much) before you finally give up on your idea.

Bootstrap things – and focus on converting leads into satisfied paying customers.

Seriously stick to your vow. Don’t break it. If you decide to work real hard on your idea for 2 months before considering whether you should take it less seriously, do just that: Commit.

Commit to making 50 sales calls every day for 52 days.

Commit to sending outreach emails, say 100 emails a day, five days a week.

Go door-to-door.

Do joint ventures.

Recruit affiliates to help you reach more customers in exchange for a percentage of the sale as commission payment.

Write guest posts on other blogs – even if you have to hire freelance writers to help you write some of the content you intend on publishing on your website.

See if you can start by selling to friends, family and even mutual friends.

Do outreach link building to push your website’s rankings up in the search engines.

Just commit for the duration you choose – and work hard on things that make sense.

Now, as I leave you, I’d like you to take notes on what resonated with you while reading this post.

Then pick up my free ebook 10 Things to Look At If You Are Thinking Of Starting a Business

Download a PDF copy here.

Go through it and take more notes.

Then decide.

Decide to take your idea seriously (or find a new one you can take seriously – and work on for say longer than two months) and see how things go.

If you want some posts that can help you come up with ideas of your own, check this post on food business ideas, or this one on online business ideas. Also read related posts you find on Niabusiness.com. Whatever you learn and find useful, note down.

Do what I have outlined above and see if you will or will not take your idea seriously from this point forward.

And remember no amount of motivational or inspirational content pieces can easily take the place of consistent action. So, go take action.

Best of luck.

Want to do freelance work to get capital to start a business? Ask yourself these questions

Capital, capital, capital, it is one of those things that can keep you wondering how to actually start a business in Kenya in the shape and form similar to the picture you’ve been playing and replaying in your mind lately.

If only you had a certain amount of money you could pick and use to start, life would be really great. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes the money you think you need is ten to twenty times what you make on a monthly basis.

Does that mean you only have to see your business inside your head and not in front of your eyes? It depends…on what you really want and what you do thereafter – which hopefully should be in alignment with what you really want – which is to start a business.

In this article, we are going to look at how you can make more money with your skills. This money of course is going to be part of your capital. You have a business to start, so that’s where I want your focus to be.

1. How much do I need to make as a freelancer?

This is the first question you have to give serious thought. It isn’t the only question you should focus on at this point.

There are many more related to it. For this article, we are only going to focus on this question – and this one: How much would it cost to start a business (like the one) I want?

The second question encourages you to do research, to learn a little bit about the industry you want to be a part of, to listen to the stories of people who have been where you want to be.

In other words, it doesn’t allow you to rely only on your judgment to determine how much money you are going to need to start.

When you do your research, brace yourself for surprises because sometimes you might realize that your estimates were either too high or too low.

2. How do I know my skills, before I get started as a freelancer online?

Different people may have different definitions to the word skill. In this article, we’ll simply define skill as something you do very well.

Take a pen and paper and list down your skills.

See the ones you really do very well and the ones that you need more time to master and then settle on the ones you want to do for pay.

For example, someone who loves reading business books, writing, spotting factual and grammatical errors and correcting them can decide to become an editor and proofreader for the numerous small business websites, whitepapers, tutorials, ebooks and the millions of sales pages getting uploaded / published on the internet everyday.

This is work they can do both online and offline unlike some type of freelance work.

3. Can people pay for my skills?

The quick and short answer is yes.

If you do your best, then worry not about people thinking that the value of your skills is worth nothing.

Know your skill – and start reaching out to the people, organizations and companies you know / think are a good fit for what you want to do as a freelancer.

4. How much am I going to charge for my freelance services?

That depends on your skill, how well you do your work, the type of clients you meet, how much you get done and what you think your skills are worth.

Study your industry to learn more about the rates other freelancers with similar skills accept, and then come up with your own rates.

Your rates will help you determine how long it will take you before you reach your golden figure and start that new business.

5. How do I get freelance work that pay well?

There are tons of websites that connect freelancers with the people who need their services.

Clients come to the sites to choose who they want to work on their project.

Of course several freelancers with similar or better skills than you will always be bidding for the same work as you (not always the case) and it is the client’s discretion to choose whoever he or she wants to work with.

Then there are many agencies who recruit freelancers and give them a cut of what they get for the work that comes their way.

When they receive work, they send it to you, you work on it and they give you a fraction of the money they are paid.

A lot of these agencies have their ads on popular classified ad websites  and job boards as well.

These are all great ways to get work.

You can join and get work from Upwork.com, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Freelancer.com or even place ads under the services category of many classified ad sites like OLX Kenya, CraigsList or Gumtree.com.

Then there is my favourite: starting your own WordPress website to tell the world (the people who can benefit from what you have to offer) about your skills (what you can do for them).

In our example of the editor and proofreader above, you can create a site and write pages about what you do, answer questions your clients may have in in-depth blog posts, include your rates, a contact page, a hire me page and more.

Don’t be afraid to use a combination of all or any of these to get well paying gigs.

You can also introduce prospective clients to your services by writing them short emails about what you can do for them, and linking back to pages on your site (from inside the emails you send) where they can find additional information.

It’s called cold emailing.

6. What if the money I earn as a freelancer isn’t enough?

Use what you have saved to start. If it is not really really enough then borrow some money to make it enough.

Borrowing only takes two things: asking and a solemn promise to return the money on the agreed date.

Do everything you can to avoid any drama that may ruin the relationship between you and whoever loans you money.

Best business to start: Is there anything like that really or is it just an idea people have?

The quick answer to this question would be yes and no.

But there is more.

Interesting bits that will take a few more words and make everything way clearer.

Want more than the yes and no answer? Good.

First, I’d like to tell you what inspired this post.

There have been many searchers to this site looking for the answer to this question. It is a topic I have avoided writing about for various reasons.

You know, for example, there are people who want what they think works best and attracts massive profits. They want to be pointed to a list of best businesses whose practices and success they can replicate in the shortest time possible.

Then there’s the question of, ‘What if I don’t address this issue and a reader of this site continues with their search, only to realize later that years have passed, they don’t have the well-doing business and the answer they were looking for all along was inside them?’

And so, here we are, me and you, to share our thoughts on this. Ready?

Let’s start with…

What makes people look at some businesses / ideas as the best?

1. The businesses are successful

One of the reasons is that the kind of businesses they are focused on may be the best at what they do. With several customers and profits that keep increasing every year.

Businesses like these have a way of making heads turn. They have a way of attracting cameras and taking a big chunk of TV time.

They are studied and profiles written on them. They make headlines. They become news that seem to never go stale. And most of the things people hear about them are positive.

See all that? Everything that can make someone abandon their idea and simply settle for what they are told is the best, hoping for similar or better results.

The image we have of other businesses is enough to, at times, keep us searching for other best businesses in niches we want to be a part of, believing that if the search yields whatever it is we are looking for, then things will be more exciting, easier, faster – leading to quick profits and rapid expansion.

2. They are drawn by the assumptions they have about certain kind of businesses

Online businesses for example.

We hear stories of people who set up some kind of website and made thousands or millions of dollars from their little corner of the web.

When we look at how much they spent to start the whole thing – pennies!

When we turn the page and look at how long it took them to reach the heights of success – the kind the media likes to cover – mere months!

And right there, a lot of people are sold on the dream – of passive income or net riches.

It is game on. Time to reverse engineer everything and then start the process of replication – to build the perfect business.

There are also other assumptions that attract people to online businesses.

They are easy to start, take little work, and as John Chow puts it, gives you time and location freedom. And all this is true – for people who put in the hard work.

Some, however, hear, ‘Earn while you sleep…’ from some experts but don’t give much thought to the amount of work it takes to reach the point where they can literally make profits in their sleep – an example where a person wants to own a business but isn’t ready to put in the work and use what they already have to build something others can look at and think of as best.

3. Trends

What happens when a certain kind of business suddenly strikes a chord with so many people?

What happens when everyone seems to want to get in and have a piece of the market?

It will be labeled the opportunity of a lifetime.

One you can’t afford to miss.

It will be described in glossy details.

Then there will be spokesmen and spokeswomen reeling you in, almost forcing in your hands your little piece of the delicious cake.

The barrier of entry will be low (for awhile) and the businesses raking it turned into case studies.

All this is good.

But the herd mentality that is common in times like that, it is the spoiler.

It ruins everything for many people. Some even end up letting their dream of business ownership remain just that – a dream.

Why this idea of the best business ideas doesn’t cut it – deep

1. I can tell you about the best business to start. But say, you are not interested in the industry, don’t have expertise in the area or time to take the business to the next level (if you start it), what happens?

The majority will be stressed and even think of quitting. A few people will look for talent, contract to freelancers or get a few employees to help.

There are people who will hold on, persevere and keep things going.

Some will come to the realization that, even though, that’s what (the best) they initially set out looking for, it isn’t what they want to be dealing with anymore.

They quickly realize that, at the end of the day, who and what defines best comes down to the customers and the numbers – profits, losses etc.

2. The idea alone can make you comfortable and so sure of success – to the point where it prevents you from working hard and exploring more.

That is not a position you want to be in, unless you are comfortable with competitors shrinking the market share that currently inspires your comfort and confidence.

3. Soon everyone seems to copy you. If you can’t differentiate yourself (have a unique selling proposition that wins you new business and earns you customer loyalty) you are walking land filled with mines.

If you fail to differentiate yourself and more people join, competition will increase. Prices are likely to drop to the bottom and your margins wiped out – a big portion of your profits.

And that leads to this: best business that barely makes enough to pay for its expenses and growth.

4. We tend to want to do something we think is best (as per our interpretation of other people’s success stories) and fear creating our version of the best from the ground up.

Where does all this leave you?

It is still fine to search for the best business ideas. However, the successes, stories, business models and failures of the kind of businesses we admire should be used as lessons.

Lessons to inspire us to create the best business according to our own standards – a big part of which is to solve problems the best way we can, for the people who gladly pay when their needs and wants are met.

Download this PDF: 10 Things to Look at If You Are Thinking of Starting a Business. Click here to get it.

To start a business when you can’t find a job – Are you thinking this?

What would you do if you spent so long looking for a job and everywhere you went you got that look that screams, ‘Sorry, we’d love to have you on our team, but right now all the positions in the company are filled!’

Of course, you’d try a number of things.

You’d, for example, try to get the other person to open their eyes, to understand, to see reason…telling or hinting at what they’d miss if they don’t give you the job.

Then there will be the worries, springing up and attacking your brain from every corner. Worries about the bills, the direction your life is taking, your goals and the many deadlines you have, what others think of you …but…

Why look for a job – instead of starting a business?

1. It’s the default way to make a living for many people

You want a decent income? The first suggestion you are likely to hear from someone is for you to get a job.

It is like the best way to make money for many people. In fact some look at school as one big key to the lock that leads to financial abundance – translation: a well paying job that comes with numerous perks.

If you meet with people out there, one of the questions they are likely to ask you, is, ‘What do you do for a living?’ Translation: Tell me what you do for your employer, before I tell you what mine pays me for.

Tell them about your job and you’ll see that smile. Talk about something else and you’ll see the stare that forces people to become even more conscious about how they behave around others – doing their best not to offend those they meet.

2. The benefits

Who doesn’t love them? You get the salary and then there are these extras. To some, this is a big reason to go job hunting.

3. Experience

When you finally land a job and start working, your experience starts accumulating – trickle by trickle until a point reaches where you can use it for something bigger.

With no experience, the likelihood of getting a promotion (better things) will almost be nil.

And with no job, it is hard to prove to any employer how deep your experience goes, which means, a more difficult time climbing the ladder to the top where most people want to be.

Experience can also come handy when you want to start something on the side. Or when you want to quit and go out on your own – private practice, business… Or when you want to move to another company – work in an environment a scale above the one you had at your previous job.

What options do you have when you can’t seem to find a job?

Giving up on the search is probably not an option for many people. Meaning there have to be other ways.

Some would settle for a small position (or odd jobs here and there) if they can’t find what they are looking for (a position that demands more of them and comes with a salary that matches the level of their skills and experience).

To the ones who don’t want to go this route, there are other options.

1. To look harder

Doing this requires more from a person. It requires them, for example, to package their skills (themselves) in a better way to every employer whose door they knock.

If they get turned down a lot, widening their search becomes a good idea. They have to do more research and look in more places. A big net always can catch more fish than the rod.

2. To start a business

Business, that’s uncharted territory to many. But it’s an option altogether.

One that might be scary but is still worth looking into.

You can use your skills, come up with a list of needs you can fill – using what you already have. With your list of needs, you can then come up with a solution.

One that you package into a product or service and take to the market.

The sooner you take it to the market the quicker you’ll know if your idea has any future. If it does, there’ll be a whole new set of risks waiting and you have to decide if you want to take them or not.

Why you have to be a little more aggressive if you choose the business route

Suppose you start your own business, what would you do next? There will be a lot of learning, marketing and testing.

The key here is to be a little more aggressive, in a good way. Not rushing, but aggressive, in a good way.

That means doing things faster, more efficiently, exploring more of what works, getting and acting on feedback quickly, being flexible enough to switch directions – exploring different areas that can lead to more growth.

Why? That may bring in more revenue…more profits, allowing you to focus on serving your customers well, improving your product and adding new ones to the market.

To be more aggressive, you will consider what the average person, with a similar business, is doing then do more.

Some things won’t work as planned but as we’ve already seen in 5 lessons for founders of the millions of businesses who watched Shark Tank you have to find your own way over these obstacles.

You have to make a promise to yourself, to not allow rejections and disappointments stop you.

As you struggle on, your muscles will get tougher. There’ll be fear and many mistakes. There’ll be doubts, losses and a lot of pressure. But the resolve to keep going will keep you on the path, serving your customers the best way you can and watching your business grow.

Can you do this?

It depends on how far you are willing to go. It also depends on how much discomfort you are willing to allow into your life to make this work.

Saying it is not enough. You have to say it and back your words with action. For when you do, your chance at success will increase. There are still no guarantees things will work out as you planned though.

It might also take a little more time than you planned before you see anything substantial in terms of profits.

Is it easy?

If it was, everybody who got turned down in a few job interviews would jump in. Not that there is a special breed of people cut out for this.

Like everything good worth having, there is a lot of hard work involved.

What if you have no prior business experience?

Experience sure helps but still it doesn’t guarantee much.

If you have no experience, you simply go out and get it: by learning from other people’s mistakes, learning more about your market, customers, business model etc.

You can learn by doing – starting the business and running it. Learning on the job – accumulating knowledge every single day.

What if you fail?

Then you can look for a job or keep going. You can revive the failed business or start a new one.

You decide which direction you want to take, come up with short and long term goals then give it all your best.

Also don’t forget to set deadlines for each one of your goals.

What if things work out?

You refine what you do and keep scaling.

The good results you get should motivate you to do even better.

This can also be a good time to explore what’s working for your business some more.

That’s where the bulk of your focus should be but you should also be open to trying new things.

If you are thinking of doing this, share your thoughts and questions in the comments. If you have done this – gone the business route after rejections from companies you thought would hire you – I’d like to hear you story.

The comments section is all yours.

PS: Download the free PDF guide: 10 Things to Look At if You Are Thinking of Starting a Business.