You don’t need a business plan, or twelve social media platforms, or a loan. Not really. All you really need to remember are two things:
I. Meet a need or solve a problem (for people who can pay you).
That’s why customers are willing to part with their hard-earned money—you’re solving a problem for them, or meeting a need. Notice that I didn’t say do what you love to do and people will, of course, pay you. Your customers don’t care about what you love. They care about themselves. We’re all like that.
You’ve all seen the exercises where you list your skills, experiences, dreams, messages channeled from your spirit guides, etc. and then massage all that into a business Idea. That’s great, but I think a better way is to look at those lists and ask yourself how you can help others. Asking yourself how and where you can serve may smack of joining a religious order, but that mindset will take you a long way when we get around to talking about customer service.
Problems are self-explanatory, but needs seem a little harder to define. Some people need a Ferrari. That’s because needs go beyond food, shelter and clothing. We have needs for belonging, status, love, enjoyment, entertainment. Meeting any one of these needs can be a business.
Also notice I said, “customers.” These have to be people who can pay you. A food bank solves a problem, but the people going there aren’t customers. Your customers don’t have to be billionaires, but they do need to have some money to spend, and there have to be enough of them. Define your customer.
And while you’re looking, look for your niche—something you can specialize in. Don’t think that just because something is easy for you, it’s easy for everyone. So easy that no one would pay you for it—those are probably your most valuable skills.
II. Spend less than you make.
You can be profitable and still go broke—by running out of cash. Watch your equipment purchases, deposits–anything that requires a cash outlay.
Yeah, yeah, there’s marketing and operations and the rest. But if you ignore these two rules, all that other stuff won’t matter.