I joined the family company, Northern Industrial, in 2007. The company had been trading for almost 30 years and had been successful at providing an industrial electronic repair service to local textile manufacturers. The extent of our trade across borders was a weaving company in Dundee. At first it was difficult to see the way forward with many textile manufacturers moving production abroad. It wasn't realistic to expect people to send faulty circuit boards halfway around the world for repair.
Then I worked my way through the Defining Audience and Differentiation courses in Fizzle and finally buckled down, stopped being lazy, and did the work. And it *was* work — I spent a good 2-3 months getting uber-clear on my points of differentiation/USP/positioning and creating a clear plan for how I could best articulate that in my biz. Afterwards, everything got easier: what to write about, what services to offer, who I (very happily) serve, and the whole 9.
In my experience, one of the greatest challenges people face is deciding why they are starting a business, what they hope to accomplish and what they really want to do. Starting a business, particularly from home, sounds glamorous and free but, in reality, it can put a strain on home life if not done right. People I talk to often need help decision-making which is an essential quality in running a business.
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
A big one — and forgive me if it’s been mentioned — is not building your tribe before launching a product. I hear from people a LOT that they’ve created this AMAZING course that NO ONE wants to buy. It does’t mean your list, or your FB group, or whatever, has to be massive. It just means they have to be loyal and know/like/trust you, want more of what you do or who you are, and excited to take the next step with you. I launch what I consider to be crazy-successful programs that started with 10 people in a basement (whatever the online equivalent to that is). It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to build relationships. Your course isn’t going to sell itself.
With the rise of online craft marketplaces like Etsy, people with decent artisanal skills like sewing and woodworking have an always-open market to sell their products as a side business idea. If you’ve always wanted to design and make clothes by hand, then you can start turning those fashion ideas into real, hand-sewn garments and earn a little bit with this side business idea while you sleep and customers from around the world browse your Etsy & Amazon stores.
What a timely post, Corbett, especially since I’m on day 3 of the creation process of my 30 Day Online Business Success training. I remember talking to you last year, in a desperate email, asking you HOW I could possibly hit the next level of success online. I just couldn’t see it. You, of course, probably thought I was crazy for NOT noticing the millions of opportunities out there to teach, to offer needed services, products, and more.
#5 resonated the most for me. A few months ago, after being discharged from ICU, I decided that I really wanted to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur, and decided to follow Pat Flynn’s advice (well most of it) and start my own niche site, choosing to creat a niche site for Pharmacy Technician training information for Canadians since I was a Pharmacy Technician for 5 years prior…Until I realized I hated the idea of writing to convince others to be Pharmacy Techs when I personally hated being a pharmacy tech! I found myself hating writing for the site, and drudged in doing the painstaking research to at least create a great information website. At least it was just $70 I spent on hosting from Bluehost, because I don’t think it will even generate any money (even with AdSense implemented)