I’m guessing that if you asked pretty much anybody on the planet if they’d like to spend their days doing what they love, the answer would be a resounding “YES!” (Or perhaps more of a condescending “DUH!”) One of the biggest reasons that people want to start businesses of their own is for freedom, but another reason pretty high up there is to be able to do what they love….and make a living at it. But often, the trick seems to be finding that thing–the thing that you “love to do” that will translate into something ultimately profitable. The last couple of weeks we’ve gotten a more clear on what it means to really find your passion and how the reasons behind why you do what you do are ultimately going to get you up and running and off to where you want to be.
Now, getting a bit more specific, let’s say that you’re still struggling with what is probably the most important thing for the entrepreneur-to-be to consider. And that is…..what the hell do I want this business to be about, anyway?
I’ve been there. I get it. Nothing is worse than indecision. Nothing is worse because it keeps you spinning, jacks you up, and gets you absolutely nowhere. And fast. Leaves you tired, confused, and thinking….maybe the day job will get better and I should just forget all this. It’s too hard.
But you know full well that you don’t want to do THAT.
OK, fine, then. So what DO you want to do?
I used to hate it when I’d find myself tired, cranky, and uninspired when I considered doing the corporate job for the rest of my life. I’d hear my well-meaning friends say, “Well, what DO you want to do?” And inevitably I would find myself saying–silently and to myself every time–“Well if I knew THAT, I’d do it!”
Funny how sometimes it is so easy to get mad at the people who are really trying to help you. Sometimes it’s only because you’re so completely frustrated with the situation yourself. That’s when you know that this is something that requires your attention. That’s when you know, too, that it must be time to take a step back and look at it another way. (If for no other reason than to avoid biting the heads off of your friends and family who might actually want to make you feel better–not much good can come of that!)
You can figure this out. You really can. And it doesn’t have to be so painful, either!
When you’re putting together the idea….when you’re deciding what your first venture into the entrepreneurial world is going to be, the best place to start is with….(drumroll, please!)…and I think you know what I am going to say…
YOU. Start with what YOU love. And see where it goes. Seems simple, I know. And if you know me at all, you probably saw it coming. But you know what? It’s still true. Now, it’s also true that in order to make a business and not a hobby, there needs to be a market for what you do. Duh. BUT when you’re just getting going, when you’re trying out new things, when it is all a new game to you and you don’t know where to start (so you don’t even start at all), put that on the back burner for just a moment (we’ll come back to it, I promise). For now, start with you. With what you love. Start putting some positive focus and energy behind the discovery, too. Start looking for something that not only motivates and inspires you, but also something that you from dusk until dawn. Probably on weekends and holidays, too. (Something that you might even willingly take on vacation!)
Now, a quick point of order: when I say “what you love to do”, I want to be clear about what this means: this is something that not only makes you jump for joy but also can do the same for others. It is something that you can love and call your own but also will bring value to other people’s lives. I wish that this included watching Downton Abbey all day. But alas…(Seems like an obvious point, but I just thought I’d make it before we go on!)
But to get back to what I said before: if you don’t start with what you love to do, the business that you create might wind up turning into an uphill battle, a creation that might turn into a time and energy-sucking monster. Leaving you confused and tired and wondering what went wrong. Two things might result (among many other possibilities):
–You might have a harder time staying inspired and motivated to go on. It’s a tough gig, this business thing, and it requires a lot of love for what you do. If the feelings of love and excitement aren’t there to carry the weight of it all, you might quit. (Or worse, you might not even start.)
–If you do go on, it might be at a cost. You might find yourself resenting all of the commitment necessary to make it work, which might in turn make it not a labor of love but just a LABOR. In which case it might just be a lot less stressful to chuck it all and just go back to the relative ease of corporate life. And you might quit. (Or worse, you might not even start.)
We don’t want either of these things to happen to you. (They’ve BOTH happened to me. Not fun.)
So how do you figure it out? How do you even begin to come up with ideas that not only would be viable but also would be doable?
By starting with what you love the most, of course! Give this a go:
-List the things that you love to do, things that you can share with others. Big things, small things, anything that rings true to you. Your area of expertise, or something you’d be willing to become an expert in, if you’re not there yet. Yep, all of it! Write away, my friends!
-Which things stand out the most for you? Don’t think too much about it–you probably already know. Circle it. Put a star or a heart by it if you want to. Decorate the page with rainbows and unicorns if you want to. (Or anything else that jazzes you up, I don’t care!)
-Now–what is it that you love about these things? Do any of them fulfill a big need in the world? Right a wrong that you can see? Bring more fun and happiness into the world? Extinguish a burning problem with gusto and glee? Write it down.
-And finally…..how would it feel to being able to do this all the time? Energizing? Scary? Uplifting? Some other inspiring adjective that I’m not thinking of right now?
There you have it! Well, OK, maybe not the ultimate answer right this second, but be honest, wasn’t it fun to think about? To dream about things and begin to make them tangible by taking action and putting pen to paper?
If you don’t have a definitive answer yet, I bet you at least have a start! If it isn’t there yet, though, seriously, don’t worry. Don’t throw in the towel. It’s coming. Just the fact that you were able to start considering these things, that you took action and put forth some effort…that means that you’re getting ready. That means you’re making way for answers and miracles.
Now, the action just needs to keep coming on a regular basis. But for now, look at the ideas you’ve generated and consider your favorite one. When you’ve got it, let me know about it! Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite idea right now. And if you’re so inclined, let me know what is the one thing you could do this week to keep the idea going, growing, and becoming more “real” for you!
Can’t wait to hear about it!