For a long time, I thought my best ideas for a business would be something I come up with randomly. I would even do mental exercises each day to come up with ideas because I was that obsessed with starting my own business and becoming an entrepreneur. I was focus on the idea being somewhere out there in the abyss. All I needed to do was grab it while it floated by. Since then, after a lot of reflection and starting 2 side hustles that make money, I’m starting to doubt my former self. I’m losing faith in my million-dollar idea being somewhere out there. But, for a good reason.
As time goes on, we all figure out who we are and who we want to be. With every passing day, we learn more and more about ourselves. I used to think that my million-dollar business idea was out there waiting for me to think of it. Now, I’m starting to know better. In the past, my focus when it came to business ideas was always external. I’d ask myself, “What product or service does the world really need right now.” This is an external focus. And I’m not saying this is a bad thing to ask ourselves. There’s been plenty of successful people who have developed a company around what other people need. But there is a key piece of this missing. Recently, instead of looking at what I think other people would like, I’m more looking at what I already do, and how I can offer it up to people. This is a crucial difference. Instead of thinking outwardly, I’m looking inwardly at what I already do on a daily or even weekly basis. You will never be able to work on something each day if it is a burden to you. You’ll never be able to give it your all if it feels like meaningless work. That’s why we must look at what we already do. What do we currently do that we have a leg up on others with? Maybe it already makes you money, maybe it doesn’t? but the point right now should not be to make money. It should be to offer customers value from something that is already embedded into you.
Here is an exercise that’s been stuck in my mind lately. I took this from my favorite book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The exercise is to ask yourself if you were the last person on Earth, what would you still do? The point of this exercise is to look inwardly at what you do without the care of anyone else. Only this is something that you can truly be a master at because you don’t care about the outcome. You only care about doing the work day in and day out without worrying about what anyone else thinks. If your “purpose” is based off what other people want from you, then you will never be truly great at it or truly enjoy it. You are only doing that work because you think people want you to do it, not because you want to do it. If you were the only person on the planet, would you still do that work? Probably not because your decision to pursue that work came from pressure of other people. Instead, let’s start to look inwardly. Let’s look at what we already do in our daily and weekly routines and figure out a way to offer that to people. Don’t focus on making money right now. Only focus on getting customers and relationships. By doing this, the money will come.
I can say for me, the things I do on a daily and weekly basis that I do for no one else but myself are: exercise, write, read, cook, clean, play sports, watch sports, drink and sell tea, garden, watch movies, hike, go on walks, travel, meditate, take supplements, try new restaurants, make great cocktails, go on dates, and socialize with friends just to name a few. I could be the only person left on Earth and I would still do these things, except for the dates and friends part of course. But the point is to find stuff you already do, not for money, but because it’s part of your soul. It’s who you are. This is the only way you can master you craft because when things get tough, which they will, you will have an easier time doing something that’s a part of who you are than a meaningless task for someone else just because it makes you an extra buck. There will be a time where that extra buck won’t be worth it anymore and you’ll lose any motivation to continue. By looking inward at your currently habits, activities, and interests, you will never be focused on the money. Instead, you’ll only be focused on how you can make your craft better. That’s a key difference.
Find what you already do and do more of it. Look at ways to offer up that skill, service, or product to others. Don’t focus on the best idea that will make the most money. Unless it’s something that’s part of your soul, you won’t truly be passionate about it. Focus on building your craft and finding customers. Do the work for the sake of the work, not because you have to appease an audience. Do it because you already do it and clearly have a passion for it. This is the best reason there’ll ever be for starting a business. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you still do? Do that.