I am new to startup nation after downloading the podcasts from Itunes. I have heard so much about the forums and have been busy reading, but think it`s time to post some ideas and get some feedback.
I currently have a full-time job that I need to keep, but want to start exploring my entrepreneurial interests. The impetus for this is largely a result of my life plan: 1) I want to run a business that allows greater flexibility for me and my family; 2) I want my earning potential to be dictated by me, not the corporate world; 3) I want my husband and I to eventually be able to support ourselves entirely off of our business; and 4) I want to feel like I`m contributing to something that I feel matters/is important and I can see direct results.
Some current ideas that I have been toying with:
1) Facilitation / project management / strategic planning. I have been trained (although not certified) in facilitating groups including executive level management. Over a two year period, I have worked in my job to launch strategic planning efforts with our executive leadership regional level and was tapped for my analytical skills to participate and make recommendations towards organizational restructuring at a national level. Given the current economy (and even in a healthier economy), I believe that there is a need for this kind of work to improve efficiences, clarify vision and mission work, and in some instances guide teams to work together by helping them to understand "group think" as opposed to individual roles. I also think that there is a huge lack of understanding of meeting management, particularly in defining the scope, purpose and implementation of a meeting. To start, I think I would want to work individually as a consultant and then parlay that into managing a group of consultants who accomplish the work. I am wondering though if there is already too much competition in the field? Do I need to narrow my scope and perhaps define a smaller niche of individuals / companies to work with? Also, in terms of competition, although there is a lot out there...a lot of them stink at their jobs. I have seen millions of dollars in my organization poured down black holes that produce few results. It really is astonishing.
2) Sustainable tourism. Here is where I am a little more fuzzy. I have worked on multiple ends of this spectrum - but mostly as a non-profit practitioner. I have done academic research in this industry, I have trained and guided communities in Latin America and Asia-Pacific to establish ecotourism opportunities to diversify their incomes, and I have helped to market those opportunities (http://www.ecomaya.com
). I am also an avid traveler and, if anything, I would say that this
is my passion. It`s funny because I have been working so long in the environmental arena and waiting for the flurry and wave of "green" to sweep the US. The time seems ripe for helping people to connect to more mainstream ways of accessing these opportunities. But, I have thought about it for so long from the non-profit vantage point that I`m not sure how to shift my mindset to for-profit, for-me. I also see potential issues in doing this part-time as travel may be necessary... I don`t want to be a travel agent, per se. And I definitely don`t want to be a tour guide. What do you think the for-profit opportunities are in providing people access to this kind of information? Could I develop an informational website? Could I target luxury brands and help them green their industries? Do you think there is an opportunity for a membership-based service that...? This is where I start to fall apart.
3) I have seen several other people with this idea on the forum, but I`ll throw it out there anyway: coaching. Again, no certification. But my ideas are targeted at a few potential markets: 1) college-aged or post-college students wanting to improve their academic opportunities or potential for professional endevours. Although I have no coaching certification, I was fortunate enough as an undergrad and Masters student to receive multiple national awards and grants (to the point where I made more money as an undergrad than I did in my first two years out of school). Also, in my early professional career I felt severely underprepared for entering a job market where all of my "peers" or "colleagues" were my parents` age. There was, and continues to be, a huge age gap that I have had to work significantly to overcome and prove myself. It would have been very helpful to have someone coaching me throughout that time - someone to act as a mentor who was not inside my organization but could help me to redefine my position and goals in the professional world. Could I market this to companies as essential to their benefits package? 2) financial coaching of newlyweds. (are you noticing what stage of life I`m in?) In my current position i am financial and management analyst...and that has greatly influenced how i have approached personal finances with my new husband. In talking with others in similar situations, I have realized how poorly prepared many people are for jointly managing finances and goal-setting. This is sort of taking my experience in strategic planning and joining it with my experience in managing financial systems (both corporate and personal) and offering a service. Again, I feel like there is a market but maybe too much competition?
I guess I`ll leave it at that. I am quick to talk myself out of things because I feel like it`s already being done. I also just don`t have a clue how to start marketing myself because I don`t have the "credentials" behind my name. But I feel like I do have the experience and the skills...primarily I am strongest at teaching, relationship development, analysis, and strategic problem solving.
What do you think?
lauraliz5/1/2008 11:32 AM