So you want to start a business, but you’re not even sure which business you should start – or even where to begin.
You’re googling ‘good business ideas’ or ‘best small business ideas’.
Or maybe you try to narrow it down and try searching for futuristic business ideas or unique business ideas.
I get it.
You want to start your own business.
So you’re looking for solid small business ideas.
You are not alone.
We’ve all done it.
Heck, I have countless articles on this site with money-making ideas.
Heck, one of my calling cards is getting people to sign up for my email list by giving them 100 money-making ideas! (you can sign up also if you’d like).
I’ve started many businesses, and it’s going to shape how I talk about this topic with you.
Let’s get to it.
Most Businesses Fail
Probably not what you wanted to hear when looking for a profitable business idea.
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
Here’s the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics telling you themselves.
1 in 5 businesses is going to fail in the first two years.
It gets a bit worse before leveling out.
I used to be scared of this.
And then I finally realized how much of a learning process failing in a business is.
You learn about the industry.
Learn what not to do.
And discover if a specific business is right for you.
I’m in the online space.
I love a business that can operate remotely.
It’s a part of my life adventure.
To be able to operate my business from anywhere I choose.
I have lots of friends in the space.
And I start to see patterns.
Most of my friends failed at multiple business ideas before finding something that stuck.
I’ve watched them fail to drop ship or create a course — and later win on a platform like YouTube.
Or I’ve seen them try a YouTube channel, a podcast, write a book — and then win at blogging.
So I no longer fear failing, and you shouldn’t either.
You’re probably just mostly afraid of starting something new.
I get it.
Don’t be afraid.
Here’s what I’ve come to find with this pattern of launching and choosing a business idea.
Ok, The ‘Start a Business’ Checklist
Yes, you’re going to need a business plan.
Tons of free resources on this. Heck, even the government has one for you.
You’re going to need a business idea that’s a good fit for you.
Want to start a woodworking business?
Heck, a hotdog stand?
Be sure to choose a business that works around your lifestyle goals.
These are all the obvious things when figuring out business ideas to start.
I want to discuss the bigger picture in business.
In Business, Everything Builds Upon Itself
I gave a talk to a group of entrepreneurs recently.
As I was planning for the conference, I had a light bulb moment.
Every business skill I’ve acquired has come from a previous project or idea.
Let me give you some examples.
This very online site is a good one.
I ‘started’ back in 2010, as I wanted to create an online blog about real estate and flipping houses.
Wrote a dozen articles and then quit.
I later launched a site using my name.
Wrote a few articles, but it basically sat as an online business card.
I built a few other sites over the years and acquired more skills.
The skills were building upon each other without me even realizing it.
Then, in 2020, I revamped my site and got serious about creating content for it.
Everything that used to be difficult came more easily to me.
Because my skills had stacked.
Less than 15 months later, I crossed 100,000 monthly website visitors and had my first month with more than $5,000 in revenue.
I’ll share one of my income report videos with you here if you’d like to get a better understanding of this business idea.
It’s now given me content for YouTube, as I get to create content around the journey and share it with others.
I created a project called ‘The Road to 1 Million’ where my goal is to cross 1 million monthly page views within a 2-year window.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The experience keeps stacking upon itself.
Things that I attempt fail, but I just keep stacking.
I’ve been able to get good at the skill of SEO.
I’ve started other site projects to grow (and maybe eventually sell).
It’s led to affiliate partnerships and consulting opportunities.
There’s no way I could have started this in 2010.
But because I started and sort of failed in 2010, I was able to learn and grow.
This is business.
Why Is This Important?
Because knowing that failure is a part helps ease the pain of failing.
Once you understand that, you can start to decide how to choose a business idea.
And this is where the fun begins.
Choose Based on Money or Enjoyment?
Ultimately, you’re going to have to decide this for yourself.
It’s not an easy decision, and I’ve seen plenty of examples on both sides.
“Do what you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
It’s a great saying.
But what if you aren’t meeting all of your financial obligations?
That doesn’t sound fun.
You might not be able to continue this activity that you enjoy so much.
“If you live like no one else now, then later you can live like no one else.”
It’s a good one.
Reminding you to work hard now to enjoy it all later.
But what if you die early?
What if something doesn’t go as planned?
I’ve concluded that there’s no perfect solution for the above.
I have taken the path that tries to carve out for adventure, family, and enjoyment.
I genuinely like to work.
There’s a euphoric feeling I get when waking up on a relaxing vacation and getting a bit of work done over a cup of coffee.
Weird to some, I know.
But my fellow hustlers get me.
I’m not addicted or obsessed.
But there’s something I enjoy about being in a location that’s new to me and having a laptop on.
It’s just — well — cool to me.
I think I value enjoyment above money.
At the same time, I have financial goals.
I want my Conkle Inc. family to be cash flow positive but with no required effort on our part.
If assets that we own can sustain us without having to work, then this is winning at my financial game of life.
The Conkle family is not there yet.
And when we are, I don’t think my interest in working or starting something new will lessen.
Just the endeavors may shift a bit.
But dang, I just love to start stuff (my wife is wonderful to support this).
What Are Your Skills?
Notice that this is the first time I’m getting to the idea of talking about anything that can translate into money.
Yes, this is on purpose.
There’s just so much that comes before the practicality of choosing.
It’s all the woo-woo stuff — your dreams, life goals, and more.
Hard to pin these down, but they’re just so important.
But you’ve done that.
What are your skills?
What would people pay you for?
You probably don’t already know this. Otherwise, you’d be doing it already.
Well, I’ll argue that you do know. You just need to be enlightened about it.
I’ll ask a few simple questions – if you answer these, you might have your answer – at least you’ll be on the right track.
- What do you enjoy talking about in your friend circles?
- What do people ask your advice about?
- What do you do at work that people rely on you for?
- What do you have formal training in?
Be objective and answer these.
They’ll provide you with insight.
This video discussing some of the personality traits you need to be a business owner might also be helpful.
You Can Make Money With Any Skill
I mean it, any skill.
My brain explodes at the knowledge folks will pay for.
The first thing that just came to my mind was baking bread.
So I googled for courses.
Have a look. Dig in.
That should be enough to prove to you.
But if not, there are always laundry courses (I hear my dryer in the background).
There’s an industry for everything.
You just have to be curious.
But are you willing to put in the work?
The Reality Is That It Takes Hard Work
The real question is: are you willing to work at something for years with no reward?
This is a tough one, but it’s one you need to answer.
What if it took you ten years?
Would you wait that long for success?
If you do, you’ll be like a bamboo tree.
It takes bamboo trees years to establish their root systems underground.
But once they do, they shoot out of the ground like a rocket (certain species are the fastest-growing plants on the planet).
I also see a recurring theme from business friends and business folks that I follow.
It appears like they’ve had overnight successes.
But, as you guessed, they haven’t.
Success happens slowly, and then all at once.
They’ve been stacking up their skills.
Everything in business builds upon itself, remember?
They’ve taken the things they’ve learned from their losses and rolled them into their next idea, whether in the same business or a different one.
And the next thing you know, boom!
Someone’s reaching out to them to write an article about their story and how they knocked it out of the park with idea X.
You’ll see what I’m talking about.
Before we wrap up, I want to share some incredible business advice I once received.
(They were initially written about the real estate business and shared online. I don’t have the original source. They are great and transfer to all companies.)
I’d like to share them with you.
A Positive Attitude is a MUST.
I could dwell on all the deals that didn’t work out and all the challenges of being self-employed.
But instead, I focus on opportunity and possibility.
There has been a lot of doom and gloom.
But this is still the land of opportunity.
Do you know who realizes that more than anyone?
I spend many days at the park, cafes, and movies.
But I have put systems into place to generate potential deals regularly.
And when there is a deal, I’m like a shark, like a bulldog.
I bite, and I don’t let go without a fight.
If there is a way to make it work, I make it work!
Don’t deal with flakes.
Only associate (in business) with people who are successful or have the right attitudes to become successful.
Also, be aware of those who overpromise but under-deliver.
Talk is cheap.
But that’s a form of flakiness too.
Use multiple strategies for getting deals.
This is talking about the real estate business, but it carries over.
Don’t just rely on one form of marketing to attract your leads or customers.
Use massive and consistent effort.
Don’t expect weak efforts, or occasional efforts, to yield any impressive results regularly.
Become an expert in your market.
Learn to adapt to changing markets and different market and property types.
Is Greed Good? Depends.
Be SMART GREEDY, not dumb greedy.
Smart greedy = trying to maximize your profit on each deal through negotiation (the most profitable activity known to mankind), deal structuring, and cost controls.
Stupid greedy = taking foolish risks.
Cutting corners that shouldn’t be cut.
Destroying relationships for short-term gain.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
If any ONE deal, agent, client, or investor can make you or break you, you’ve put yourself in a vulnerable position.
Business, like life, is filled with ups and downs.
(Trust me, I know. If you haven’t already, read my story).
Try not to let either affect you too much.
That said, re-evaluate and readjust as needed.
Review 1 through 8, and ask which of these you could do better.
Always aim higher!
Demand and expect more from yourself than anyone else would.
I was thinking about what makes a business successful, and when I saw these ten business success rules, I knew I had to share.
I printed it out, and it’s been on my office wall ever since.
If you’re the original author, please let me know so that I can credit you 😉
Yes, I can give you ideas on what businesses to start.
But that’s the easy part.
Sticking at something long enough to see some success is the hard part.
Just don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis.
It makes me sad when I see the same people talking about the same ideas a few years later.
They tell me, yet again, how they plan to start X.
Don’t be this person!
Do your analysis.
And then Take Action.
Continue moving forward with action over time.
That’s how you win.