Everyone has something to sell.
It has been said that everyone lives by selling something. Teachers live by selling knowledge, philosophers by selling wisdom and priests by selling spiritual comfort. Heck, even beggars sell themselves to gain pity and earn the compassion of people they beg to. All my life I have dismissed the idea of being an entrepreneur because I fear that I am not risky enough to pour all my resources into something that I wasn’t sure of. For me, being an employee is still the safest and best choice.
All this changed when I started going freelance. Everyday I learn new things, and everyday I begin to realize how much I can offer to other people. And if you are in the similar industry as me, putting up your own business is so cheap that it can cost even less than a fancy meal. You don’t need a fortune nowadays to startup your own business, all you need is a great idea and proper research before you dive in.
And while I’m sure you all realize that there could be quite a distance between a great idea and a great startup, many people admittedly don’t have a clue on how to bridge this gap. Not all great ideas flourish into something amazing, and a lot of simple ideas turn out to be a wonderful innovation. So, if you are thinking of finally turning your great idea into a reality, I suggest you consider below reality checks before taking the startup route:
1. Can you dedicate ample time to make your idea a reality?
I had endless talks with my friends and colleagues about business ideas but nothing really flourished because all of us are full-time employees and wouldn’t have enough time for a business. Understand that starting a business, no matter how big or small, requires your utmost attention if you want it to succeed.
2. Is there a real demand and people who are willing to pay for it?
Because you are too excited about how great the idea is, you may quick to say yes on this. But do not trust just your gut feel. Do market research. And by research I don’t mean Google! Talk to experts in this area and identify potential challenges that you may need to address in the future.
3. Who are your competitors?
Is there anyone else who already offers the same solution as you do? If so, what would set you apart from them? Start thinking about your selling factor. If you are the customer, would you honestly buy your product/service?
4. Can you afford a team to build your business?
Take it from me, it is EXTREMELY hard to build a business as the Lone Ranger. So unless you are a jack of all trades, you would need people to do specialized areas in your development. Make sure you are able to manage these people too to keep them motivated and help you succeed.
5. Are there any hidden costs and can you afford them?
Even if you are offering a service that doesn’t require a huge capital, there will still be hidden costs and it is important to identify them as early as now to see if you have the money for it. Do you need a website? (quick answer: YES!) What about SEO and paid marketing? All these require money so make sure you acknowledge all these costs beforehand.
On a final note, understand that being an entrepreneur when you have been an employee all your life is a 180-degree turn. It is not just a career change, it is a lifestyle change. Most businesses fail not because their idea sucked, but because of an execution that is not well-though-out.