By: Lahle Wolfe
Even the most motivated women entrepreneurs can struggle with deciding on the right business idea. For some budding entrepreneurs, ideas flow freely but never get off the ground. For others, ideas are vague and sketchy so are discarded and never fully explored. Deciding on the right business idea has as much to do with creating a business plan and feasibility study as it does doing some soul searching.
If you want to become self-employed but are not sure what type of business you want to start it helps to consider the following:
What do you want or need to get out of the business?
What do you like to do?
What are you good at doing?
What would you like to learn to do?
What Do You Want or Need to Get Out of the Business?
Are you looking for a second income? Consider representing another company to sell their cosmetics, gifts, insurance, time-shares, etc. You will not have to write a business plan, invest a lot to get started, and can work your own hours.
Are you quitting a job to stay at home with your children? If your main motivation is to have more time with your children choose a business that will allow you to work around their schedules. It is almost impossible to work a 9-5 job from home while raising children.
Do you want to change the world? Start a co-op or nonprofit. Both can be labour intensive but rewarding.
Do you want to contribute something to society? If personal satisfaction is your main motivation and money is not a concern try volunteering with different organizations to see what you like to do most. Volunteering is a great way to learn how nonprofits work, and the contacts and skills you gain will help if you decide to establish your own business later on.
Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Whether you just want to be your own boss or become financially independent the road to success starts with a sound idea.
You need to honest about your strengths and weaknesses to become an entrepreneur and no matter what business you start it also helps to be resourceful and have strong networking skills. But before you decide you do not have enough business smarts or skills to become an entrepreneur, please read, “Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Successful Woman Entrepreneur?” This 3-part article will encourage you and help you believe in yourself.
Business Ideas – What Do You Like to Do?
Choose something you are passionate about – starting your own business will require time, energy, and sacrifice. If you choose something that does not interest you, or worse, something you hate to do, you will find it harder to succeed. Ask yourself:
How do you spend your free time?
Do you have a hobby that could be turned into a business?
Do you like to do volunteer work?
If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?
What Are You Good at Doing?
Your talents might be obvious to you if you are a musician, artist, or photographer. If you already have a profession, you might want to start your own private practice in law, medicine, or an accounting firm. And maybe you have a hobby, like quilting or candle making, that you know you could market. But what if your talents are less obvious?
Sometimes it is hard to know our own strengths. If you are uncertain what your hidden skills and talents are, ask family and friends who know you. Even if you do not have a particular skill like sewing or bookkeeping, you still have skills that may be marketable if you can identify them.
Lillian Vernon is a real woman, not a fictitious business name. She was pregnant and needed extra income when she started her gift catalogue, working from her kitchen. The main business skill she used to become a millionaire was networking her idea to sell other manufacturer’s products.
If you have a skill or hobby you are good at doing start working on your market and feasibility study now!
What Would You Like to Learn to Do?
Sometimes things that interest us most are things we have yet to learn how to do. If you love math, take an accounting course and turn your new skill into income by helping others with their taxes.
There are many new careers you can enter into with a certificate instead of a degree. Certificates often take less than a year to earn, and, in some cases, only a few semesters. Check with your local community college to see what certificate programs are offered in your area.
If you have always wanted to learn another language start now — when you become fluent you could become self-employed providing freelance translating services. Translators are used in legal proceedings, schools, and seminars. Sign language translators can earn as much as spoken-language translators.
There are many two-year programs to become a registered nurse (RN). RNs often freelance and provide in-home care to housebound patients.
It is never too late to learn a new skill or polish an old one and it is never too late to start a business if you have the ambition and a marketable skill and know what you want to do.