Some of us go through life constantly seeing opportunities for new businesses and potential side hustles. I actually keep not one but TWO running lists of new ideas in a notebook and on my phone. But, most of those ideas never actually turn into anything, and that’s not a bad thing. It just means either I’m not ready to launch that hustle or the idea just doesn’t work. Maybe it wouldn’t work with my current lifestyle and time constraints, or maybe it’s just not a good idea or needs to be fleshed out more.
There are three things I ask myself before moving forward with any business idea:
Can it make money?
It is a business after all, if it doesn’t make money then it’s be a hobby (but many hobbies can be turned into hustles!)
Is it right for me?
Do I have enough time to dedicate to effectively run and grow this hustle? Will it require more of a time or financial investment than I’m willing to dedicate to it?
Do I want to do this?
Will I enjoy spending my free time working on building, launching, and growing this business? Even if the answer to number one and number two are yes, if I’m not going to enjoy this thing I’m going to dedicate a ton of time and energy to then what’s the point?
Here are five ways I decide if I should actually launch a business idea:
What is the idea?
A lot of the time the hustle ideas I get come to me fast and half baked. So, it’s important to take a look at the mental or physical list you’ve been keeping of all your ideas so that you can think through a few of them. A light bulb that you got while at the gym may turn out to be a great potential business but the wine-soaked get rich quick scheme that comes from a night spent with friends may not be viable.
Can this idea be combined with any of my other ideas to make it a more successful business?
If you’re like me then you have a million business ideas running around in your mind, what could be better than being able to combine a few of them, letting me launch hustles that I’ll enjoy even more and that will hopefully be even more better than if I started each separately.
What would scaling this business look like?
If you just want to have a side hustle that supplements your full-time income, then you should look at your potential new business from that perspective. But if you hope to make this new venture into a full-time multi-national conglomerate that you run from your yacht while you hang out with Oprah and Mark Cuban, then you better be thinking about how it can scale and grow. Services are much more difficult to scale than products but you can charge a premium for some services. When would you need to bring on extra help? How much of a financial investment will launching and growing this business require? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you put in a considerable amount of time.
Do people actually want this product or service and who are those people?
You could have an idea that you think is the most brilliant thing since Slack but if you can’t answer these two questions, then your idea is worthless. Businesses sell to their customers. If you don’t have customers then you don’t have a business.
What is the business plan and logistics for launching and running this hustle?
Before quitting any full-time job or investing a significant amount of time or money in a business idea you should take the time to write out a business plan. What is your plan of action for launching and running your business? How would you market it? What will your day to day need to look like to make this idea a success? All of the more nitty gritty logistics for how it will work.