BUT HOW!?!?!? That is the question people ask me all the time. It`s one thing for Donny Deutsch to start a business doing something he loves because he has the resources. But what about the rest of us?
THE ANSWER: Start Small. Start your BIG IDEA Small.
I`ve been working with a friend of mine for over two years. She loves to bake. She loves to cook. She wants to make money doing something in the kitchen, but she`s also a stay-at-home mom to four boys. Every time we talk, all she can envision for herself is opening a bakery--something she realistically has no hope of doing financially or timewise.
I have talked to her about a variety of online businesses she could start, ways to take her expertise to the masses, ways to use the Internet and other forms of Open Innovation to make money--but she has a hard time getting out of her old, traditional mindset and doesn`t get excited about anything other than a typical storefront business.
This past week I came across a flier at a local business of a husband/wife team who started home cooking classes for adults. They have a beautiful kitchen (featured in the brochure) and an elaborate menu. For $65 participants get to learn how to make a meal and then eat it. A little pricey for one night and one meal, but in this area it works and it`s meant to be upscale. I took the brochure to my friend as an example of starting small doing something you love.
The lightbulb finally lit and SHE came up with the business model she wants to pursure. Cooking classes for kids. She can do it out of her home (to start with), find out if she likes it, find out what works and what doesn`t work, build a following of moms and kids who love to learn from her and then...then...then...when her kids are a little bit older, if she still loves doing it, and sees profit in the...she can open up a business that is much more suitable to her lifestyle. Or, she can stay small and make money on the side for as long as she wants.
- Sometimes the BIG IDEA simply has to start small because no matter how much you love it or can think of the perfect model, it takes time and money to implement. Rather than hold off on your dreams, however, find a way to make it work using only the resources you have. You`re guaranteed to learn in the process. And you`ll either discover it`s not a good business and you don`t like it anyway, or you`ll find out you love it more than you thought and since it`s making money on a small scale, the risk of going big is reduced.
- You have to be passionate about the business model, not just the business focus. I have thought of literally 5-10 different ways this woman could make money through her cooking expertise, all of which seemed like pretty darn good ideas to me. But SHE had to love the idea in order to get excited about it. And ironically I was only showing her the brochure as an example of starting small and doing something that fits her lifestyle--not as something she might consider. In the end, any business will require work, no matter how much you love it. But if you`re passionate and fired up about it...the work won`t seem quite like work. It has to come from within in order to really go for it.
We are lucky to live in a day when so many things are actually possible. Technology creates opportunities for people to connect with others on very niche businesses. You used to have to generalize in order to make money locally. Now specializing helps you define your niche, your brand, and connect with people globally who share your interests. A cooking school just for kids is a great niche that might have been too small before the internet came out. Now it can be the germ of a great business model that can either stay local or expand globally. And THAT is something I`m passionate about!