Just Decide Already: Choosing Which Business to Start

Starting your own business means giving yourself the chance to shape your future in a way the corporate world never can. But that doesn’t mean the process will be simple or easy. You figure out pretty quickly that launching a service-based business is loaded with complicated questions you have to answer. And the first one is sometimes the toughest. 

Picking the right business—and business model—is the first step.

Let’s walk through the parts of this decision that matter most: why you want to do this, how much money you want to make, what kind of business model suits you, and how to tell people about it.

What motivates you?

Before you dive into any business, think about why you want to do it. Sure, making money is great, but think deeper. 

Do you want to make the world a better place? Spread your wings creatively? Be your own boss? Achieve time freedom? 

Knowing your “why” will help you keep going, even when things get tough. (And, sooner or later, they will get tough.) 

There are no wrong answers, and your “why” doesn’t need to put you among the ranks of Mother Theresa. As long as you’re doing work you enjoy and have a clear grasp on what success in this business will allow you to do, you’re golden.

selective focus photography of woman using white and black slr camera
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

How much money do you want to make?

Lest you forget I used to be a business banker, let me tell you: the math better be math-ing. 

How much money do you want to make with this business? It’s cool to dream big, but it’s also important to be realistic about how much you can earn in the amount of time you have to run your business each week. 

Especially if it’s a done-for-you service like graphic design or blog writing, you’ll probably be trading hours for money. That’s not a bad thing, especially at the beginning. But if you expect to make $100K per year, working 5 hours each week and charging $75 per hour, that business model is not going to work out for you.

Remember, too, that what you charge won’t go directly into your pocket. You’ll need to account for taxes, expenses, and profit in that figure as well. (I follow the Profit First method, which means I pay myself around 50% of what my business earns. I reserve the remaining 15% for taxes, 30% for expenses, and 5% for retained profit.)

Side note: Having less-than-lofty financial goals is not a sin. Don’t let the influencer-entrepreneur girlies on TikTok convince you that a business generating less than six figures, multiple six figures, or seven figures isn’t worth doing. Your business is real, valid, and legitimate at any income level. Whether you have G-wagon dreams or you just want to afford to take your kids to Disney once a year, your business matters.

How will you deliver this service? 

Think about how you want to do business. 

There are three main ways to provide services:

  • Hands-On Way: If you’re a go-getter who likes doing things, consider offering ready-made stuff. Maybe you’re great at making websites or creating content. You do the work, and your customers get what they need. It’s simple and straightforward: a win/win.
  • Team Player Way: Do you like working closely with others? You can offer things like coaching or personalized help. You and your customers will work together to reach their goals.
  • Advice Giver Way: Got lots of knowledge? You can be a guide to others. Think about being a course creator or influencer. You help people figure stuff out.

With each option, pay attention to how much of your time it will take and whether you’ll be able to work on your own or have to meet clients at scheduled times.

(As a business coach, I set my own office hours, but I still have to meet clients at their session time. This works for me because my kids are school-aged, but if I were a new mom with no childcare, I’d be in a pickle!) 

ethnic female psychotherapist listening to black clients explanation
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

How will people find you?

People won’t hire you if they
a) can’t find you,
b) don’t know what you do, or
c) don’t need the services you offer.

This is why having a business that serves people you already know is key. (I don’t mean selling to family and friends like it’s Amway in the 90s, I just mean it’s not a good idea to become a snowboarding instructor if you live in Miami.)

Tell people what you do, and tell them often. Figure out where your customers hang out and go there (if you’re not already there). If you’re helping out locally, check out events nearby. If you’re more online, use social media or start a blog.

The key is to understand your customers. What do they need? What problems do they have? Tailor your message to fit what they’re looking for. If your business solves their problems, they’ll want to work with you.

Make sure, too, that the price point you picked makes sense for this group of people. 

Getting started

Above all else, remember that you—and you alone—get to define success for your business. The only reason your business will exist is because YOU created it. 

When you were in school, your teachers made the rules. When you had a corporate job, your boss made the rules. Now, you get to make the rules. Trust your instincts, get support if you can, and take action.

What do you think? Comment here (yes, we actually read these)!

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