Today, I want to talk to you about how to decide on the right online business for you to start, so that you can increase your chances of success and start living a truly abundant and amazing life.
Are you struggling to come up with an idea for what type of online business to start?
Maybe you have a million ideas in your head and you’re not sure just what idea to go with.
One of the biggest struggles that I hear from my students when they are just getting started with online business is, “Jim, I just don’t know what business to start. I don’t know what idea to pick.”
They’re worried that they’re going to pick the wrong idea, or that they’re going to spend months or even years working on a business just to find out that it was the wrong business idea.
And one of the problems that’s going on here, is that they have so many ideas going through their head of what they want to do, of what they want to start with their online business, that they’re just having such a hard time narrowing it down and picking one idea, and focusing on that one idea to move forward with their online business.
I’m going to be honest with you, I totally get this, because I have been through this process more times than you can possibly imagine.
First, I started an online business that was geared towards helping other lawyers, market and grow a successful law practice. I was a young lawyer and I thought, “I’ve done this well. I was successful and I can teach other lawyers how to do it.”
And I quit that business prematurely probably.
Then, I got it. I started an e-commerce business, selling physical products on Amazon. You know anyone that did that? Well, after six months, I realized that I hated e-commerce, so that one failed.
And then, after my mother passed away, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do estate planning for my law firm.” And so, I spent a good year or two building up an estate planning practice with my law firm. You know where this is going, don’t you? I was bored to tears of drafting estate plans. I resented, I hated it. It was not something I enjoyed doing.
So yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve done this. I’ve failed multiple times. And so, I totally can understand the fear that you have right now, trying to come up with the right business. Because like I said, I’ve been there. I failed multiple businesses.
And there’s a lot at stake here when you go into business for yourself. And I’m not trying to scare you off from starting a business. But if you pick the wrong idea from the beginning, you stand to lose a lot of money, you stand to lose a lot of time, you stand to lose a lot of energy that you’re going to invest in building up that business, and probably more importantly than anything, you stand to lose the support of your family and loved ones who are supporting you through building one business.
Because I can tell you, this is something I went through. My family, my wife and I, we struggled because she was like, “What’s this next business idea you’re doing Jim?” I mean, legitimately, I should record her for this video and ask her to explain how frustrated she was in all my business ideas.
Let’s be honest. It’s hard to say that you are wrong when you’re starting a business, it’s really hard. You don’t want to admit that you might have made a mistake. So what do you do? How do you pick the right business idea?
Well, first of all, if you do fail, you need to look back and look at what happened, and figure out, “Why did this not work out the way I wanted it to?”
That’s what I did with each business that I started and failed. For example, for the legal marketing business, when I look back and see what I did there, I actually accomplished quite a bit. And I actually influenced a lot of lawyers that I’ve met over the years, who said, “You know, I listen to your podcast. I listen to every single episode and I learned so much. And now, because of what you taught, my law firm is flourishing.”
So that was a successful business. I could have done well with that, but I quit too soon. I quit prematurely and I didn’t think I was succeeding, and so I gave up.
With the e-commerce business, I’ll be honest, my heart wasn’t in it. With that business, I was chasing the dollars and I wasn’t actually working towards making a difference in the lives of my customers. It was just about selling products, and that wasn’t good. That wasn’t good for me, that wasn’t good for people that purchased the products that I put out. It wasn’t good. I didn’t enjoy that business.
And then when I tried to add estate planning to my law practice, honestly, I mean, I enjoyed the people I worked with. I enjoyed meeting with the clients and working with them to help develop an estate plan for them. But what I didn’t like, was actually drafting the estate plans. Like sitting down and drafting a will, or sitting down and drafting a trust. I hated that. I wanted to gouge my eyes out every time I had to do that. And so, that was not something I was passionate about, that wasn’t going to work.
When I look back, I realized, and you should learn from this, that it took me 10 years to finally land on a business model that I enjoy, that I’m passionate about, that I feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of my customers with.
You shouldn’t take that long to come up with that idea. That’s big picture, that’s something I really messed up at.
A lot of people, a lot of the online business gurus that are out there, a lot of business coaches that are out there, they’ll teach people to just pick something and go with it and just start. I think, yeah, there is some truth to that, but at the same time, there’s also a lot of danger in following that path. And that’s because every idea has legs when you’re just getting started.
I mean, you can write down on a sheet of paper and say, “Oh, I’m going to and do this, this, this, and this.” And it sounds great, and you might, a week or two, or three or a month from now, you might look back and say, “Yeah, that was a great idea. Let’s move forward with that.”
But if you don’t really sit down and evaluate the idea and research, whether it is a valid business, then you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
So, you could be wasting a lot of time, and effort, and yeah, probably a lot of money too, businesses aren’t free. And it’s not only the money that you lose on the business that’s failed, it’s also the opportunity cost and the potential earnings that you lose from the business that could have been successful if you’d chosen something else.
I’ve come up with the framework that you can use to try and pick a business idea that’s not going to fail, and I want to share that with you here today. And because two out of the three businesses that I just explained to you, I failed because I did not have passion for the business, I think it’s really important that that’s where you start with.
Find a subject that you are passionate about
I think it’s important that you start with saying, “Do I love this business? Do I love the idea of what I’m about to do? Do I have passion for this idea?” Is this a topic that you’ve already spent a ton of time researching, learning about, reading about, talking to other people about? Is this something that you just find amazing that you could literally do without getting paid to do? I think that’s the first thing, and that has to be there.
Because if that’s not there, if you don’t love, absolutely love what you’re doing in terms of getting into business for yourself, you’ve already failed. I hate to say that, but that’s the truth. And I should have recognized that with that Amazon business that I tried to start, and with adding estate planning to my law firm. But sometimes, it takes getting involved and starting a business to realize you’re not passionate about it.
The surefire way to avoid that, is to do something that you already love. So, that’s number one, do you absolutely, 100% love the topic?
Is it something that you’re already passionate about? And if it is, then you have a much greater chance of success with the business. So, that’s number one.
Make sure you see yourself devoting to that subject
Number or two goes hand in hand with that. Is this something that you could see yourself devoting the next two to three years of your life? Teaching about, learning about, writing about, doing videos about, doing podcasts about, all those type of things. Because all those are necessary to build an amazing online business as an expert in whatever field it is that you choose.
And so, if you don’t love it and you don’t see yourself being able to talk about that subject for the next two to three years, chances are, it’s not the right subject.
So, that’s the first thing I would say is, is this a topic that you love? That you’re passionate about? That you already are invested in learning more about? And is it something that you could envision spending a lot of time talking about, and learning about, and reading, and writing, and videoing, and all sorts of things for the next two to three years? If that’s the case, let’s move on to the next step of the analysis.
Make sure you have competitors out there
So, the next thing I want you to look at is whether or not there are other people out in the marketplace that are selling products and services in the potential market that you’re choosing.
For example, I keep using this example, but if you love camping, and you go camping every weekend, you buy all the equipment, you know all the best tents, you know the best places to go camping in your area, or you like to travel to go to other places to go camping, I mean, camping is a huge market, are there other people that are selling products and services related to camping? Yeah, there are. So, that might be a good topic.
If you’re passionate about that, you might be able to build a business around the camping subject. I don’t like to say niche, but around the camping, the subject matter of camping, you could probably build a business around that, because there are people that are selling products, they’re selling maps, they’re selling experiences, they’re selling all sorts of things related to camping. Chances are, that’s some something that you could get into and you could start a business around.
Make sure there are people who are interested
So then you’ve got a topic you’re passionate about that you could spend the next two to three years focusing on, you’ve got a topic where other people are already selling products and services in that niche, so there is competition for what it is that you want to do. So, the next thing you need to look at is, are there people out there who are also interested in learning about camping, who might be willing to pay you for what it is that you are going to share on the subject?
And the way you find this out is you go to Facebook, you go see if there’s groups on camping. Look for Instagram profiles to see if there’s camping profiles that talk about camping. Look to see if there’s online forums that are out there where people are posting questions and answers about camping. If you can start to find that there’s a lot of forums, and groups, and different profiles related to this niche
Are there other YouTube channels that talk about camping? If you can find that, then chances are, again, you are onto something and you’ve got a pretty good idea that might have legs.
Have a problem you can help solve
So, the fifth thing that you want to look at, is the last part of the equation here, and that’s, is there a problem that you can solve in that marketplace? So, if you have people that are selling other products, if you have people that are interested in this subject, is there a problem that you can help solve? And so, this is where you need to figure this out. And chances are, going with our example of camping, there are people that have problems in that niche that maybe you can solve.
I don’t know what those problems will be because I like camping, but that’s not my niche, but I’m sure there are problems that you could solve, that you could answer questions about with videos, and blog posts, and different things like that, that’s where the sweet spot’s going to be.
So, you’ve got competition. You’ve got people that are interested in what you have to sell, and you’ve got people that have problems that they’re willing to pay to have you help them with. Those are where you’re at with this.
Let’s just recap real quick. So, you want to have a subject that you’re passionate about, you want to make sure that you could spend the next two to three years talking about that subject, you want to make sure that there’s competitors out there that are already selling products and services in that field, you want to make sure that there’s people out there who are interested, who are talking about this subject, who are passionate about this subject also who might be willing to purchase whatever it is that you’re going to be selling them, and then finally, they have a problem that you can help solve in that subject matter.
Those are the things that I would look at, those are the criteria I’d be looking at if I were starting over from scratch with a brand new business. And that’s what I did when I ultimately settled on building my business, which was originally Hawthorn Law, where I basically started it as answering questions for people online through my YouTube videos.
That was it, that was the whole business. And now it’s turned into a business with multiple products and service offerings and things of that sort.
So, if you go back and look at the businesses that I originally started and failed at, you’ll notice that two out of three did not have that passion. And so, I would again reiterate that it’s really important that you have passion for what it is that you’re doing. If you don’t have passion for what it is that you’re doing, chances are you’re not going to be successful. And if you contrast that with my current business and the OB Foundations membership that I’ve grown and built, I get to teach people now something that I absolutely love, and that’s how to start, build, and grow an amazing online business.
I mean, honestly, and ask my wife about this, she’ll confirm, I could talk about this subject all day, every day, easily I could do that. Not to mention there’s a huge market of people who want to learn how to start, build, and grow an online business. So, the market is there. And honestly, I’m happier now than I ever have been in building and morphing this business into what it is today.
If you would like to learn more about starting, and building, and growing and online business, here’s another video I’ve done right here that’s going to teach you more about building and growing an online business.