I get asked a lot by wannabe entrepreneurs: what business should I start? Often people really want to go into business, but they don’t know which direction to go. Some people want an instant formula for small business success, but the answer is:
It depends. Entrepreneurship is as different as the people who run businesses. No two situations are alike, and the path you take will depend on your interests, goals, energy, and finances. Explore the following broad categories to begin the process.
Ask you a few questions? What sort of business are you looking for? Are you hoping to make enough money to buy your own island? Or do you need to make enough money to live a great life, go on a few nice vacations a year and send the kids to private school? Do you want to run an e-commerce business out of your home office? Do you want to be involved in the day-to-day operations of your own manufacturing firm, or be an absentee owner of the franchise and hire someone else to manage your business?
These are all things you need to consider before you can decide on the ideal business for you.
Start a Side Hustle
Don’t give up your job security too soon. Launch a side hustle first, in other words, start a business while continuing to work your 9-to-5, It’s one way to dip your toes into the business world. As you grow the business, you can consider quitting your job…or not. Here are some ideas that fit this type of situation:
- Selling handmade crafts on Etsy
- Freelance writing
- Make-up artist
Essentially, you need a business idea that won’t take too much time, and that you can do after work hours and on your weekends.
If you’re ready to go all in and aren’t afraid of hard work, consider full-time business opportunities like these:
- Public relations consulting
- Running a retail store or restaurant
- Technology service provider
Be ready to commit potentially more than 40-60 hours a week to your efforts, especially when you first two years. And for those of you who are considering becoming retailers, remember it’s 7-day a week operation.
If you’d rather start with a business solution you can essentially unpack and start generating revenue, consider buying a franchise. You can decide whether you’ll run the daily operations or hire a manager to do so on your behalf. Franchises are available in many industries, including:
- Food and beverage
- Personal services, like house cleaning, tutoring services
- Business services, such as printing services, graphic design
The benefit of franchises is that they have an established brand, proven business systems, and the marketing power, making it easier for you to attract customers.
If you want to start a business that provides you with flexibility in your schedule, and you’re not overly concerned about becoming a millionaire, consider something you’re passionate about. Here are some examples:
- Dog groomer
- House sitter
- Online bookseller
A leisure business may only require a few hours of work a week, and you can adapt when you work to your personal schedule.
If you like the idea of a short commute (walking from the bedroom to your home office), a home-based business might be the best fit. You’ll turn a profit faster, given your low overhead (no office rental expenses!). Some ideas to consider:
- Customer service agent
- Jewelry Designer
- Social media consultant
Be open to the idea that even if you first start your business out of your home, you might one day decide you need to move into office space elsewhere.
As you see, there are so many possibilities for the business you start. It’s up to you which direction you take. Just remember: it’s essential that you love what you do since you’ll be doing it for the foreseeable future.