Honestly, those first few years were the toughest. I spent A LOT of nights and weekends on my business, with little to no financial return. I almost quit 5-6 times. I would have made more money getting a minimum wage job at Taco Bell. But I knew my idea had potential, so I kept going. Failing. Pivoting. Learning.
I learned a lot from those early years.
- You’re thinking of starting a side hustle to make some extra money.
- You lost your job due to COVID-19 and want to start a business of your own.
- You want to go big and eventually replace your full-time job.
...then I want to help you!
In this blog post, I share two fundamental ideas of entrepreneurship.
These principles might seem obvious, but they’re easy to overlook.
Principle #1: A business provides a product or service that people want or need.
All businesses either provide a product or service. The product could be a physical or digital (ex: an online course, curriculum, etc.).
The service can also be in physical form (lawn maintenance, house cleaning, etc.) or digital form (business coaching, seeing a mental professional on Zoom, etc.).
In some cases, the product is free and delivered in the form of online content, and the revenue stream is sponsorships or endorsements. An example of this would be an influencer on YouTube or Instagram.
People either NEED or WANT what you have to offer. If you own a grocery store, much of what you sell is a NEED. If you sell a high-end car worth $200K, that is a WANT.
Principle #2: When filling a NEED or providing a WANT, you solve a problem of some kind. Focus first on the problem, not the solution.
Many entrepreneurs first focus on the solution. They come up with a great idea, take action right away, but at some point hit a wall. They didn't spend the time and energy needed to understand the potential problem customers were experiencing.
The solution is your product or service. It's the answer to the need or want that the customer is experiencing.
The more you understand the problem, the better solution you will create.
Let's take a look at Uber as an example.
People wanted a better way of transportation other than taking a taxi.
What specifically did they want? An easier way to pay and a better overall experience.
Let's take a look at a deeper level.
Want #1 - Easier way to pay.
Carrying cash is inconvenient. Paying with a credit or debit card is also inconvenient because it adds a few minutes to the trip at the end. Plus, many taxis charge an extra 2-3% for a credit/debit card fees.
Solution #1 - Automatic payments.
Every ride is automatically paid within the app. All those wants are met.
Want #2 - A better overall experience.
To order a taxi, you have to make a phone call (maybe now you can go online). It takes 10-15 minutes to arrive, sometimes longer. You have no idea how far or close the driver is at any given time. In my experience, taxis are typically unclean and often smell like smoke.
Solution #2 - The app.
With Uber, you open up the app and put in your destination. You know precisely where the driver is at all times. The automobile is, most of the time, neat and clean. And if you did not have a good experience, you have the power to give a bad review.
The only way Uber came up with the many solutions to people's wants was by taking their time to do the research.
In your small way, you must do the same for your business.
Now it's your turn.
It's essential to research your potential customers. What are their problems, needs, wants, and sources of frustration?
And what product or service will you create to help them?
Every entrepreneur needs to do the hard work of answering those tough questions.
- Nick Diliberto, Pure Canvas Art