I had a "moment of clarity" about the business I am going to pursue. This is not my first such moment about many business ideas that I have since ditched, so yes, you must be wary of my advice. However, rather than saying yes! this is an awesome idea and leaping into and idea like I have in the past, I did a little informal analysis of the past and present and let the results simmer into the idea. So, the wants and needs led to my idea, whereas past ideas were divine inspiration chased down until I realized they didn`t fit my wants and needs.
What did I do?
First, I got clear. I tabled all my ideas. I put away my idea notebook. I quit surfing the web. I stayed off SUN and my other favorite entrepreneurship websites and blogs. I didn`t read any business-related books, or even industry magazines for my current career. I did nothing for a couple months.
Then, I just thought. Plain old thinking.
- Common threads: I thought about both entrepreneurship ideas and corporate career ideas that I`ve had in the past and tried to find a common thread among anything I`ve ever been excited about.
- Why No-Gos: What was the thing about each idea that kept me from moving forward (not wanting employees, too simple to hold my interest, hiring out too much of the key work, etc.)?
- What is Missing Now: What is it that I really don`t like about my current career? (Had to be real and get beyond the annoying cube neighbor)
- What am I Currently Qualified to Do: Are there things I want to do worth getting more qualifications? Does my business idea center around my competencies?
Some of my past biz ideas were manufacturing children`s gloves, independent management consultant, indep engineering consultant, website for engineering consultants. Some other past career options were getting a PhD in bioengineering or business and pursuing an academic career, working as a management consultant, becoming an orthotist/prosthotist, getting a law degree, being a project manager, being a subject-matter expert in engineering (that`s my current track, actually).
I eventually realized that the ideas that had teeth were in some way engineering-related. I saw another common thread was that I wanted to have a niche specialty and be considered an expert in that field. I also wanted autonomy and a six-figure salary. I preferred something I can start solo with minimal cash. And I wanted to do some writing and researching.
In the last step, I bounced the thoughts off my husband. This is so important to do with someone who knows you well. I get so wrapped up in my head that I can`t think straight. We were originally focused on me pursuing the subject-matter expert independent consultant idea, until he said you could train people to do it. That idea really resonated with me, and I am going to take the idea beyond training people to do what I do (although that`s where I`ll start) to a more general training of engineers. This idea meets a few more of my wants and needs than just being a consulting engineer, so that`s great.
I came up with a mission for my work, although the word "mission" bothers me.
Do work that helps makes the practice of engineering more tolerable for the rest of the world’s engineers.
I have a vision for the final form of the business. Twists and turns may lead to a different incarnation, but I feel that as long as I meet the mission above, I am doing the right thing.
My next step is to actually get started and prove that this is more than my typical harebrained idea.