Ah, the fabled easy way.
I’ve been there, looked for it, determined it does not exist and then went back to look for it just to make sure.
Google great small business ideas (I know we’ve all done it) and all you see is the same old crap rinsed and repeated with no tangible steps on how to be successful. Then we start a t-shirt company and wonder why we fail.
Here’s the secret, there is NO EASY WAY. Period.
I have recently been studying entrepreneurs and businesses who started from scratch (no investors in the bag, no free publicity, no real safety net etc.) and are now doing well to try and identify common themes. I looked across sectors, from apps to food to imports to subscription boxes to niche products to service so that any similarities would not be industry specific and thus would (hopefully) be universal.
Want to guess what I found?
The single, most-repeated, trait was working like a maniac on their business.
Not a couple of hours here and there or finding time on the weekend. We are talking 8-12 hours daily, usually in addition to a separate full-time job.
For those bad at math, that’s 40-60+ hours weekly on their business for at least 3 months from anywhere to a year or two and then they turn into an overnight success and people looking from the outside make excuses like “I thought of that idea first” or “they just got lucky” or, one of my favorites “they already had money.”
Here is a summary of how some of those entrepreneurs spent their time:
1. They looked around and see where people were making money and came up with a way to do it slightly better
2. They developed their thing and made it look awesome, professional, and trustworthy
3. They proceeded to market like a madman/woman. Like the kind of marketing where you tell everyone you know and ask them for referrals and then tell all of those people and ask them for referrals. The kind where you reach out to every influencer within your niche. Where you go around and cold-pitch businesses, or sell door-to-door. They told people about their thing and why they should use/buy it.
4. They reiterated steps 2 and 3 based on customer feedback and identifying what was working.
The truth is that success in the world of entrepreneurship isn’t about luck, circumstance or privilege (although those can help). It’s about putting the nose to the grinder and making something that people are willing to pay for (either with time or money).
I think Rohan Gilkes, the founder of WetShaveClub.com said it best:
“There are only really three things we look for when deciding
1. Are people making money doing xyz?
2. With our available skill set can we be better than at least on of those people?
3. Are the monetary requirements relatively small?
If the answer is yes to all three, we go for it, otherwise we pass.
Success, my friends, is both achievable and repeatable, but it doesn’t come without busting your tail to get there.