1. Are you really into it? Identify your passions and skills
Before deciding how you want to earn your living as a Lifestyle Entrepreneur, be sure it’s what really pushes your buttons. Finding the energy to do the things required is so much easier when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, so make sure you write down a bunch of areas that really interest you before looking into whether they can be converted into income streams. Ask yourself if you want to earn ‘passive’ income (creating something then earning from it ‘passively’ – I earn from album sales for example), ‘active’ income (the traditional ‘freelance’ approach where you are commissioned to complete a project) or a mixture of both from these interests.
2. Evaluate the landscape
So, you’ve identified your passions and interests. Now is the time to look at whether anyone else is making a go of it and, importantly, are they successful? This is important for two reasons. The first is that it gives you a good indication of whether your interests are actually profitable and the second is whether the market is flooded with competition. Jumping into a difficult and crowded market from the outset can be dispiriting, so you might want to consider your more ‘niche’ ideas before deciding you want to set up the next Amazon. By looking at others in the industry, you’ll also get a good idea of whether funding is needed to get going, how long it might take to build up that revenue stream and other things you might not have thought about like tax issues if you’re selling internationally.
A good business plan can work wonders for keeping you on track and staying focused. Create one. Seriously, just do it even if it’s as simple as a MindMap with a bunch of steps and ideas that you want to try out along with how you’re going to achieve them (see mindmapping.com for what a MindMap is and http://www.gov.uk/write-business-plan if you want a more ‘traditional’ approach). Make sure you cover things like how you’re going to create the service / product you’re going to sell, where will you get funding, how will you deal with tax, if you will focus on a particular holiday season that is relevant to what you’re offering etc. The more detail you go into about how you’re going to enter and survive in a market, the more likely you’ll succeed and have all your bases covered.
4. Release and test, test, test
Crunch time. This is also the most fun part where you release your product / service to the world and can start experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. Keep track of whether your ideas are actually working or not: are people interested? Is the quality of what you’re offering is good enough? Or are you even advertising in the right place? Sometimes, the devil is in the detail, so don’t discard your ideas too quickly if they don’t work in the beginning, sometimes it’s about persevering and identifying the problem rather than throwing the towel in early on.
5. Reflect, review and plan for the future
Only through testing things and identifying what worked and didn’t work will you have a good idea of how to proceed. Even if it’s just for an hour a month, reflect on how things are going, how you might improve your product / service, if you need to reach out further through things like social media or paid advertising and whether you’re targeting the right demographic. If things don’t take off, there’s usually a reason for it and you should try to identify why so you can act on it. Just as important, look at what worked and see if you can build on that as that will help keep your business healthy and prosperous.
To purchase a copy of The Lifestyle Entrepreneur – How to Turn Your Interests into Money (Gibson Square Books Ltd) By Cato Hoeben and Angela Neustatter click here