“Do the work you love.” This message- once reserved for graduation speeches and fortune cookies- is now a common theme in today’s professional landscape. So what do you do when you “love” multiple things?
In all my years as a professional career coach, I have noticed the ‘follow your passion and the money will come’ perspective is met with feast or famine. Either a person has no clue what their passion is or their cup (and notepad of business ideas) runneth over. If you are in the latter camp, the abundance of possibilities can be just as overwhelming and debilitating as feeling like you have no place to go. Below are key questions to ask yourself to help you select the best of your business ideas:
Did anybody ask for this? The quickest way to make your new business venture profitable is to give people what they want- not what you think they want, but what they are asking for. A common mistake entrepreneurs make is we lock ourselves away creating the “perfect” product or service to bring to the market. We then re-emerge and hold our business up to the crowd like a scene out of The Lion King and instead of the roar of applause we hear crickets. Nobody wants it because nobody asked for it. The sooner you can determine who your ideal client is and what their exact need is- a need they are aware of- the sooner you can create the solution to their specific problem.
Can I commit to this? Starting a business is like beginning a romance. It’s all starry-eyed and butterflies in the beginning. But when the euphoria wears off, what you are left with is the commitment- and commitment takes work. Depending on the industry, it can take years before a business is profitable. It’s important to ask yourself if you are committed to investing your time, energy, and resources to see this work through for at least the next five years. Especially in the early days, your business can be like a newborn child- constant demands at the most inconvenient times with no reward or appreciation.
Are these my people? In the new work dynamic, there is no longer a separation of ‘us’ and ‘them’. We are now operating within tribes- groups of people gathered together around a similar cause and vision. As you consider your multiple business ideas, think about the clients and colleagues attached to this venture. Do you want to be spending time- a lot of time– with these people? One of the major advantages of establishing your own business is that you get to decide who your people are- who you will serve and be in constant dialogue with. Business is ultimately one person interacting with another. Your ability to determine who you want sitting across the table from you is a good guiding post when making your selection.
Whether it’s one or one hundred ventures in front of you, mastering the ability to run your own business affords you true financial security. Choose the path that fits into you rather than squeezing yourself into another job role and you’ll set yourself up for success every time.