Starting a new business can be intimidating, especially if you have multiple ideas bouncing around in your head. Where do you even start? Ramit Sethi, a New York Times best-selling author and founder of GrowthLab, an online business website, has built multiple businesses and helps others figure out where to start.
“It takes being really honest with yourself,” Sethi said. “I think a lot of us have been sold this lie that we have to find this passion within us, and that’s going to turn into our business. I’m passionate about eating chips and salsa, and I’m passionate about ironing clothes; I’m not starting a business around that stuff.”
Focus on what you’re good at
What you’re good at might surprise you, Sethi said. Ask your friends, they might surprise you with their answers.
“They might tell me … ‘you’re really good at keeping your apartment organized; you know how to dress well,” said Sethi. “Those are ideas that can be turned into a business.”
If you get multiple answers, or if you have lots of ideas — don’t worry. That’s normal.
“Everyone has one of two problems: I don’t have an idea or I have too many ideas,” said Sethi. “That’s not an excuse to stay stuck. Try. And if it doesn’t work, you just go to the next one.”
Once you figure out what you’re good at and can build a business from, you’ve got to figure out how much to charge.
How to value your work
Look at what your competition charges for a similar product; there will likely be a range of prices. Sethi says the best way to determine your own price is to figure out what you need to offer in order to be in the top of that range.
“Your competition might charge between $79 to $99 for a certain type of product,” Sethi said. “Who do I need to serve to be at the top of that range?”
Sethi said you can always raise your prices as you get more experienced, so don’t worry about getting the exact right price when you’re first starting out. There are two questions you need to answer before launching a business: do your prospective clients have the ability to pay for your service or product? And do they have the willingness to pay?
“If they’re not willing to pay, you don’t have a business — you just have a hobby.”
Try it as a side hustle first
If you have a full-time job, consider starting your business as a side gig at night or on the weekend. It’s a good way to get your feet wet and figure out whether your it’s the right fit.
“It lets you test things out without going all in, and it lets you hedge some risk. You can try something, and if you fail it’s not that big a deal,” Sethi said.
Don’t let your new side gig interfere with your day job though. “You still want to be amazing at work,” Sethi said.