A little over a week ago, I posted to talk about my plan to come up with 100 business ideas over the next twenty days.
My goal was to brainstorm 5 business ideas a day, then pick my top 5 ideas and write up a business plan, do market research, and try to find one that I want to start.
I’ve tried to start a few businesses in the past, and I haven’t had one that’s been successful. I have, however, learned several valuable lessons, including why you should plan before you start a business instead of jumping in right away. The 100 business idea challenge is a way for me to do that.
Since I’m now 11 days into my 20 days, I figured it was a good time to give you an update and share my thoughts on how things are going.
11 Days, 54 Business Ideas
Right now, I’m a little over half way through my 20 days, and I’m pretty much right on track. But in the interest of full disclosure, I need to admit that I haven’t come up with 5 business ideas a day. Instead, some days I’ve come up with 2 or 3, and other days I’ve come up with 7 or 8.
Also, I’ve started breaking out my business ideas into what I call firm ideas, and what I call profession ideas.
Firm ideas are businesses that I could start on my own, but would be more suited to supporting several employees and using economies of scale to truly get off the ground.
In contrast, profession ideas are ones that I could do by myself and potentially earn a substantial income without having to hire anyone else.
In my mind, firm businesses are generally superior to profession businesses because they allow me to be replaced.
Once I’ve put in enough time and work so that the business hits critical mass, I could hire someone to do my job and step aside without negatively impacting my revenue streams. Profession businesses, on the other hand, require me to keep working to continue to produce a revenue stream.
So what have I learned so far?
For one, I’ve learned that coming up with 100 business ideas isn’t about checking in a box. Writing down a list of 100 business ideas so that I can feel accomplished about my list is pointless.
Instead, it’s about having my mind open to problems I’m passionate about solving or that I think are interesting and engaging. Several of the ideas I’ve come up with are problems that I keep coming back to, wondering how I would solve them.
I think that passion is important, because there are going to be times that starting a business is lonely, frustrating, and stressful. I know that from experience. During those times, it’s important to really care about the product or service you’re offering so that you can use that passion to dig deep and push through.
Something else that I’ve learned is that there are a lot of ways you can make money, if you’re willing to look for them and to try. Seeing all of the business ideas I’ve come up with has increased my optimism that I can succeed.
Instead of feeling trapped by the idea that it will be too hard to get my business off the ground, I realize that there are plenty of other options available for me.
If I find one that makes me feel hopeless I don’t have to commit to it. I can choose something different very easily. Also, I don’t have to be overwhelmed just because I don’t have all the knowledge or skills that I think I need. I can learn, and I can improve.
Another benefit I’ve started to see is that I am more about positive about the idea of starting a business today instead of waiting for a few years. The fear of doing so has, in large part, disappeared.
That doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily going to start a business right away, but when I do I’ll be confident. I think a contributor to my confidence has been how many other entrepreneurs I’ve read about on r/entrepreneur and other websites.
I know that I’m not the only person who has decided this is the life they want for themselves, and I’m not going to be the first person to succeed.
That’s a very comforting thought.
From here, I’m going to finish my list. Not because I think the list is, by itself, very important, but because I’m excited about the chance to find other problems I can solve with by starting a business.
I have a better chance of finding those problems if I keep looking for them, so I’m not going to stop now just because I’ve already found several ideas that I like.
After that, I’m going to do exactly what I said I would. I’m going to take my list of 100 business ideas, and I’m going to pick the top 5, do the work, and find the one that I think is best for me.
If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve had to say, or you’ve decided to try a similar exercise, let me know in the comments!