I encounter a lot of solopreneurs, individuals who are building a business doing what they love.
Consistently I find that there's a lack of understanding about how to grow a viable business, one that can financially support the business owner.
One common idea:
"If I have a passion for something, there are enough people with the same passion such that I can build a business on this."
This is true... but it takes longer than you might have been told. Usually it will take consistent effort for 3-10 years before you can live on an income based on a passion-led business.
(There's nothing wrong with this, as long as you don't need the money soon.)
On the other hand, if you want to build a business that can begin to financially support you sooner, such as within 3 years, or even within 3 months, then you need to build a compassion-led business.
Here's what I mean:
There are 2 sources of energy when we are building a business.
Internal Energy -- your own philosophies, ideas, hobbies, your own background, knowledge, your message, peak experiences you've had, things you love doing, topics you enjoy talking about. In short, your passions and interests.
External Energy -- actual other people's problems, challenges, issues, frustrations, needs, desires, dreams, other people's behavior. In short, a business based on what other people want.
To clarify, when I say actual other people's problems, I mean not just what you believe philosophically, that "the world" needs, or what "people" need. That's still your own ideas and internal energy.
External energy is real individuals that you have talked with. You know their names, you know enough about their actual life, you really know the exact problems they are facing, that you could design (or re-design) your service to help them better.
Think of a time when you saw someone suffering, and you felt motivated to help them ease their pain.
Or think of a time when you got really excited about someone else's dream, and you felt energized to do what you could to help them reach their goals.
That's drawing from an external source of energy. You were motivated by what other, actual, real world people are needing and wanting. This is a compassion-led business.
Always remember: Money comes from other people, not from your own passions.
So when you build a business drawing primarily from external energy, you are able to get clients sooner, your marketing is easier, and your business can support you financially in the short term.
How can you develop this external energy source?
Find individuals who seem like your ideal clients. Talk with them about the problem you want to solve. Get to know how that problem is really expressed in their life.
(Or maybe it's a different, but related, problem that they want to have solved.)
And very importantly:
Also find out how they would spend money (what they would buy) to solve problems like the ones you can solve.
After talking to at least 10 such people, develop a service/product that solves the problem of the actual people you've talked with.
If you need some more clarity whether the service is really helpful, do some Niche Interviews. Here's how:
Once you've gotten at least several people excited about your service, because you've designed it to solve their actual problems, and your service is delivered in such a way that they would buy, then go ahead and give them the service.
Ideally, you would give even these first people the service in exchange for their money, but in the beginning it is fine to get some clients purely to get their feedback and hopefully, some testimonials!
By taking these actions, you are sourcing your business from external energy. Continue doing this to bring yourself income sooner.
Again, remember that if you don't need the income soon, then you can source your business development mainly from internal energy -- your own passions, problems and ideas.
It's up to you.
Either way, make a conscious choice about it!
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