How to Come Up With a Business Idea

Love the idea of working for yourself or running your own business but lacking that, well, idea of what to do?

Coming up with a business idea is often one of the hardest hurdles when it comes to starting a business. After all, the path you decide to follow plays a large part in determining whether you’ll be a success or not.

It’s not always necessary to come up with a brand new idea for your business. Plenty of successful businesses have been based on existing ideas – improving them in some way, or servicing a different niche. Here are just a few ways to latch onto that elusive idea for your own business.

Come Up With Business Idea

Get Real About What You’re Passionate About

Plenty of people would argue that just because you have a passion for something doesn’t mean it’s going to work as a business. And I tend to agree with that. Running a business is hard work, and it takes more than passion to make it work.

But at the same time, if you don’t have a passion for what you do, then you are more likely to give up at the first sign of difficulty.

So start keeping a list of what you really love doing and then brainstorm ways you could turn that into a business. Your passion doesn’t have to be for an activity either. It could be that you get a big kick out of helping people. Or you love bringing people together.

Get The Idea Muscle Working

Ideas are like taxis, you’ll go ages without seeing one, then five will turn around the corner at once.

You’ve got to open yourself up to finding new ideas – no matter where you are or what you may be doing. Again, keep a list and then write down whatever ideas comes into your head. Don’t worry now about whether you think it’s “good” or not. The idea(!) is to get your brain used to coming up with new ideas.

Eventually an idea will come along that you will latch onto and want to run with.

Having that list of ideas can also be valuable down the track. One day you might glance at it again and see a great new business to start.

Get People to Tell You What They Want

Businesses are basically all about either solving people’s problems or meeting their desires. So to come up with a business idea, sometimes it’s as easy as getting people to tell you what they want.

Talk to people everywhere you go. Randoms at parties. Strangers on the street. Your friends. Ask them questions, then delve deeper. What are they struggling with? What would make their life easier?

Be on the lookout for someone saying, I wish there was a business that…

That ‘someone’ might as well be you.

I started my first business – selling Latin dance shoes – after my friends and I struggled to find dance shoes that we liked in Australia. Initially we were just going to order a bunch of shoes for ourselves. But I saw a need, and plenty of people were saying they wished these shoes were sold in Australia. As a bonus, the business related to my passion for dancing, so I went for it.

If you have a business, how did you come up with the idea to start it? And if you’re thinking of starting a business, just what are your passions? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing about people’s business passions.

Image source: Flickr/ace’s photos

Why Working While Traveling is Crap

Working while travelingSo I just spent three weeks traveling around the US. I only launched my business two weeks before I left and I totally had all these plans about how I’d do a couple of hours work each day blogging or writing for my clients while sipping white wine on a balcony in LA. Or holing up in Starbucks (just like the movies, y’all) with all the other Mac-addicts.

See back when I was a cubicle monkey (so, not that long ago) I followed a bunch of bloggers who seemed to be living the dream of working-while-traveling and, I admit, I drank the Cool-Aid.

Yeah, well in news that will surprise no one that has tried it, working while on holiday is totally crap.

Now that’s not to say that it’s impossible to travel and keep your business going. I don’t doubt for a second that there are people out there sipping cocktails in South East Asia while pumping out blog posts in between massages, and managing to keep the money flowing in.

But few people are really talking about the reality of making this work. (Shout out to Halley who beat me to this post).

Part of the problem for me was that I was traveling with my boyfriend. As supportive as he is about my building my business (and he is), I felt super-guilty about sitting down to work when we could (should?) be out exploring the city. With only three weeks away, we wanted to experience as much as possible each day.

Getting into the right headspace was also really hard. I find it quite easy to sit down and crank out the work at my desk at home.

But in a strange apartment, perched on a bed or the kitchen table? So much harder to get focused.

Finally, I probably also shouldn’t have taken on a new client right before leaving. While I was okay when working on my own business stuff, the stress of delivering top-quality work for my client wasn’t something I should have brought on holidays with me (however in my defence the project is really fun and one I really wanted to take on).

Yep, it sucks.

I can see that it would be possible to combine long-term travel with a business. Setting up for a month or more in the same place would make it easier to get into a routine of sightseeing, working + enjoying the journey. But short term travel? No friggen’ way.

Next time I announce I’m heading off for a few weeks with the intention of working while I’m away, can someone please hit me over the head with this post.

Side note: This week is all about traveling and money. Despite my failure to combine work + travel, I did come up with a bunch of other money ideas that I want to share with you guys.

P.S. If you feel like gawking at all my dorky tourist shots, follow me on Instagram.