As you know, one of my goals for 2017 is to reach the point where I’m earning $1,500 a month. if you’ve seen my latest income report, you’ll know that I’m nowhere near that figure yet. Haha!
This means that I’ll have to put my plan B into action.
My plan B is to start a new business in a different field – something unrelated to entrepreneurship or personal finance. I’m doing this for three reasons:
- It should help me reach my goal of earning $1,500 per month.
- It will prove – both to myself and to you, my readers – that I can build a successful business.
- It’s going to be fun! 😉
The Battle Plan
Even though this new business will be unrelated to entrepreneurship or personal finance, it’s actually going to be great for Escaping to Freedom because I’m going to show you the entire process. I’m going to be completely transparent about exactly what it takes to start a profitable online business from conception to profit.
After all, that’s what ETF is all about: showing you how to build an online business that allows you to quit your 9-5 job and live the life you want to live.
In this article, I want to start with the factors that determine whether a business will be successful or not.
The Pillars of Any Successful Business
The first hurdle that many wannabe entrepreneurs face is coming up with a business idea. Not just any idea, but one that satisfies the most basic of business requirements. These are:
- At its core, a business needs to solve a problem. A successful business should create a product or service that solves said problem.
- This problem must be big enough that people would be willing and able to pay for its solution.
- There must be enough customers for this business to be sufficiently profitable – there must be a market.
- The business must be financially viable – you can’t charge less for your product than what it costs you to make it!
If a business manages to meet all of these criteria, that’s a great start. Let’s bring in a couple of examples here.
Imagine you live in ancient Greece. You live right by the city market and, every morning you notice all the traders riding in on their horses, struggling to find suitable places to leave them while they carry out their trades. All of a sudden, you have a great idea!
What if you converted a room in your house to accommodate all these horses and provide them with food, water, and grooming?
The next day, you go out into the market and speak to a few traders. You ask them whether the horse situation is a real pain in their butts and what they think of your business idea. More importantly, you asked them whether they’d be willing to pay for this service.
After a few hours, you realize that you’ve just found the solution to these people’s problem. You’re curing one of their biggest headaches and they’ll be more than happy to pay you for it. Win!
Weeks later, you’ve set up your business and are making some significant profits. That shouldn’t be surprising, as you’re solving a big problem for people who are willing and able to pay for its solution.
Now let’s say that you want to start an app, which is definitely in fashion nowadays. One day, while having a shower, you think: “ Wouldn’t it be great if there is an app out there that could track people’s showers?”
After drying up, you start having a look online to see whether this app exists or not. After a few minutes of not finding anything, it’s pretty clear that you’ve had a new and valuable idea – right?
Since you don’t have much knowledge in app design, you go out there and you hire an app developer who can create the app of your dreams. Within a couple of weeks, your app is ready to be shared with the world and you upload it to the Apple App Store and the Play Store – it only costs $2.99! Surely everyone will buy it as such a cheap price!
You sit there for the next few hours, excited about the inevitable torrent of sales that you’re surely going to generate… But nothing happens. After a couple of weeks, you’ve only made a handful of sales.
What went wrong?
Well, you were solving a problem, but maybe not enough people had it. Maybe they were not willing to pay $2.99 for something they probably expected to be free.
Remember that post-shower research session when you couldn’t find anything similar? While you might have thought that you’d hit the jackpot with your idea, the most realistic case is that there was never a market for your app.
The fact that you paid a developer thousands of dollars to develop an app that was a flop just adds insult to injury.
So, what’s my new side hustle going to be about?
The idea is to set up a website about fitness that targets people with busy lives.
I feel very passionate about fitness and I know there’s a lot of contradictory information out there – Google “weight loss” and you’ll be shown a vast array of different diets, tips and tricks to lose weight. Some will work, some won’t, and all of them will add to yoour confusion.
It’s a difficult enough puzzle to figure out for someone with plenty of time, let alone someone who works long hours and has very little free time!
During my 10 years of training (on and off…), I’ve found that what truly gets results are a handful of very important factors. Most of the other tips and tricks don’t really have much of an effect at all and they do over-complicate things.
The biggest decision that I’ve made is that this new website will have a course for sale from day one.
That’s a concept that I really want to test because the usual blogger approach to starting a website is to keep creating great content, growing your audience, and only starting to sell things once you’ve got a large enough audience.
Will It Work?
I think that this business idea – which is really just a hypothesis – meets all the business requirements that I laid out before.
I’m solving a very clear and serious problem: to lose weight and get healthier, which pretty much everyone in the world faces. I’m also aiming this business and its products at people who have very busy lives because of their high-pressured jobs – this means they will likely be affluent people who will be able to pay for my products and services.
Lastly, the setup costs for this websites and course are effectively zero, since I will create everything myself! I guess you could count the number of hours I’ll be spending on it as a cost, but at least I won’t be paying anyone external for it. Financially, it should be viable.
So there you have it!
This is the direction I’ve decided to take from now on. I really think that it will allow me to talk about what I’ve learned here on ETF so that you can see what it takes to start a new business outside of the “making money by teaching people how to make money” field.