As you know I’m all about making sure that you design a business that works around your lifestyle and not the other way around. It’s so important to make sure that your business works for you instead of having to adapt your life to your business.
I don’t believe that you can thrive long term if you adapt your life to your business.
Sometimes, to build a business that works with your lifestyle, you need to put the breaks on. It’s about understanding that now might just not be the right time.
Maybe you want to spend more time right now with your kids and be there for your family. Perhaps your priority is to finish your studies and get that certification before you launch your business. Or, like a lot of my clients, you could also be in transition from a corporate job. You know you need to stay a little bit longer to support your family, because you want to be in a really solid position before you leave.
If you’re in one of these situations, you might be feeling very frustrated that you can’t start your business yet, but here is some really good news.
I believe that there are small things you can do as a side hustle to your job and all the other things in your life, to get you ready to launch your business. When you do eventually leave that corporate job or decide that it’s your time to focus on your career, you can hit the ground running. You will have already built some solid foundations to boost your chances for a successful start in your business. You will also have maximised your sustainability and growth.
Are you already feeling less frustrated and a little more excited? Good!
This blog is a summary of a related podcast episode.
Today I am focusing on those of you who have a really clear idea about what you want to launch.
If you’re not so sure about your business idea, I have a few resources for you here:
- Free online course to brainstorm ideas and find your zone of genius: Click here to download it.
- Join the Business Idea Accelerator™ program to find the right business idea and test it before you launch it: Click here for more info.
I really believe that we shouldn’t put our dream in a box waiting for the right time and then let it sit until we forget all about it. Think about all those things you can still do to keep your dream alive.
I want to help you make sure that whilst you’re focusing on other things in your life, that you never forget your dreams.
So let’s get started!
#Tip 1 – Define who is your ideal client and what is the problem you solve
This first step is really important, but it’s also the step where a lot of people get stuck!
A common mistake at this stage is that people want to sell their business idea to whomever is ready to buy it. However, to be really effective very quickly, you need to define a very specific niche in your business. Make it as small and as specific as possible.
This makes it very easy for you to penetrate that market. If you try to reach out to everybody you will reach nobody.
As a first step, define your ideal client. What is your niche and what problem are you solving for that ideal client?
The great thing here is that if you can’t focus on your business right now, you can use the time until you launch to reflect on this. This is the time to do your research and think about what you want to do. Ask questions to the people who might eventually become your target audience and start to test your ideas. It’s a really good time to figure these things out so that when you do launch your business, you’re really clear.
Don’t put pressure on yourself either. Find your answers in your own time and rhythm so that it keeps you in alignment with what else is happening in your life.
#Tip 2 – Start building your network now
Networking is a great thing you can do at your own pace. Start talking to people in your industry and to people who could be your ideal client. Learn about their needs, ask about their challenges and learn about their experiences with people who are in a similar business to you.
Start by connecting with the people you already know in the industry. If you don’t know anybody, ask the people you do know if they can introduce you to people in that situation.
Another great way to network is through conferences. Look for online and in person conferences that you can attend to start learning about your potential clients and industry. This way when you’re ready to launch you will be armed with all the information you need.
Building your network takes a lot of time. Start building it now. You will be grateful that you started early and took the time to build a network that can support your business as early as possible.
#Tip 3 – Test your business idea
I really recommend that you test your business idea, because it helps you to future-proof your product or service. Create a prototype, a minimum viable product or presentation of the product or service you want to offer. If it’s a product, know that you don’t have to have created a fully fledged product. Think about how to create a simple version of that product that you can test with potential audiences.
For example, I know a talented designer whose passion is designing jewellery and dreams of creating her own gold jewellery brand. However, at the moment, she has a day job and family commitments and needs to accumulate the capital to invest in her business idea. – In the meantime, she’s building her network and creating representations of the designs she’s imagining in materials that are cheaper than gold. By testing the design and offering them to friends, she’s able to start talking about the jewellery and get valuable feedback. It’s also much cheaper and takes less time to produce with only a few samples. She also wears them herself and shows them to people at the events she attends. Even if the jewellery is not in gold, she has started to test out her ideas and designs so that she will be ready when the right time comes to launch her brand.
Another inspiring example is Miche Scott, she makes beautiful soaps that are so much like pieces of art that she sells them in museums.
Miche was part of my online course, the Business Idea Accelerator (BIA) course which is all about finding the right business idea for you. I designed this course in partnership with my great friend Sundae Bean, a transition strategist and solution-oriented coach.
During the course Miche tested her soaps extensively, the different materials and moulds, creating her own recipes and most importantly, messing up a lot! She took the time she needed to experiment and from the get-go, learn without the pressure of it working properly. When she did finally launch, she was fully ready and is now continuously growing the business. It’s an amazing story! Check it out here.
Similarly, another client of mine offered companies free or very cheap workshops of her training programs before she launched. This is a great way to test your services, methods and processes so that when you’re ready to launch, you not only have confidence in your service or product, but you also have a bunch of testimonials and reviews to use when you approach your first official clients.
Even if it’s for free or a minimal price, I highly encourage you to get your product or service out there whenever you have the chance.
Don’t forget to have fun too! Enjoy the freedom of not being accountable to your product or service. This is a time where you can really enjoy the process of experimenting.
#Tip 4 Share content to build your audience
I highly recommend that you start to build your audience before you launch. By sharing content, people will start to see your skills, your special zone of genius and get to know you.
And it doesn’t have to be time consuming. You can choose to do as much as little as you can.
Here are a few tips:
A good way to start, even if you don’t have your business yet, is to write a blog, create videos, or even a podcast. Start talking about the problem you want to solve by identifying the pain points that clients might have. Share tips about how they can solve these challenges.
Even if you haven’t got your own website or have the time to develop one, just use a social media platform. Choose one that’s right for your ideal audience. Start sharing regularly (once a month or bi monthly) the things that you think should be fixed within your industry, offer tips to address them, and become known as someone who can help solve people’s problems.
Like my friend Lindy Chapman, you might also have seen a problem in your industry which you think needs to change. Lindy launched a great platform on social media, “ReloTalk”, that has led to an amazing career and to being offered a CEO position at another company. However, before even launching her business officially she started her journey by simply sharing videos on LinkedIn to talk about what is broken in the industry she works in. Listen to Lindy’s story here.
Think about how you might be able to get yourself out there and in front of people. By building your audience when you are ready to launch, the launch will be so much easier for you.
And if you have the capacity for the ideal approach to building your audience, by developing your own content on your website too, I highly recommend that you also start building your email list. You can do this by creating a lead magnet or a freebie which people get by signing up to your newsletter. Even if you don’t send a newsletter, I really recommend that you start collecting email addresses of people who are interested. That way, when you do launch you have a list of emails to let people know about your launch.
If you only have minimal capacity, then make sure that as regularly as possible, you share some articles or simple short insights on the social media platform that is most relevant for your audience.
Also, use social media to grow your network and relationships. Comment on other people’s profiles and connect with them. Offer them your support when you can.
So as a wrap up, here are the 4 small things you can do before you launch:
#1 Get clear on your ideal client and the problem you want to solve for them
#2 Start building your network now
#3 Test your product or service with a minimum viable version of it
#4 Start sharing content to build your audience
No matter what you do, don’t let your dreams gather dust. Don’t put them away out of sight. The more you do this the higher the chances are that you will forget about them.
Take action. You don’t even have to do all 4 tips described here straight away. Start with just one thing. It will help you to feel like you are moving closer to your dream.
For those of you who are closer to taking action and are really ready to create a business and a work/life balance that you want to have, it’s a good time to start building the foundations of your business more seriously!
Some of my clients take a sabbatical to test their idea and launch the business whilst still being employed. You don’t have to wait until you are 100% free from all obligations to build solid foundations for your business. If you are ready to make things happen for you now, schedule a 90-minute strategy session with me to figure out what you need to do to develop a plan to exit your job and start your business.
I can’t wait to hear about your ideas and what you will do off listening to this episode!