2020 brings not just the feeling of a fresh new year, but a fresh new decade, which is revving up many motivated individuals to start a side hustle. While I love the drive I’m seeing from others in the new year, I want these driven individuals to briefly consider the best way to execute on that drive and passion. Just like New Years Resolutions can and do easily fade quickly after January 1, the rush to want to start a business may also come and go.
If you’ve had a certain goal in mind for years, then absolutely pursue that goal. Thinking about something for years is a very strong sign that it’s something you’re meant to do or at least try. But if this is a fleeting feeling or you’re simply feeling jazzed by everyone’s motivation with the new decade and don’t know how to execute on that feeling, then don’t feel like you need to also rush into creating a new venture.
Several new ventures would be better off not started. What’s more, it is an intense commitment and risk. On the flip side, there is huge potential with any new venture and I’d never want to deter someone from starting their passion project. My point is to be just as thorough as you would be if it were mid-year or mid-decade in figuring out whether you should start a venture and which venture to start.
Review Your Interests
To do this, it is always a great investment to review your interests and to review the competition thoroughly so you understand whether your idea is a true gap in the market. Talk to 10, 20 or 30 potential customers (pursue “customer discovery”) and understand these people’s pain points. If you do your due diligence and still feel strongly that there is a need and you feel capable of solving that need, then absolutely go for it.
I don’t want you to set yourself up for failure. I don’t want your intense motivation to turn to dust when it doesn’t work out — and many new businesses don’t. An alternative is to simply explore your interests before starting anything. There are so many ways to pursue your interests other than starting a new business, that maybe even better suited for you. If you can explore your interests and then figure out the best way to pursue that interest, it may or may not be starting a business.
Here’s how you can explore your interests before you begin any new project:
- Explore what you love doing — What types of activities do you enjoy? As part of a project, what role do you like to play? What projects have you loved in the past? The physical actions that you enjoy doing at work will tell you a lot about the potential roles you’d be happy to pursue.
- Explore what content you love learning about — What topics do you enjoy reading about or discussing with friends? These areas relate to types of companies or industries that you have an interest in. Perhaps you can find others out there with similar passions and/or who may already be pursuing a certain problem that you’re also interested in solving.
- Explore what type of environment you thrive in — Just like a company has a working style and culture, entrepreneurship does as well. It may mean you work at home or in a coworking space, it will likely mean that you’ll have insecure/volatile income, and it definitely means a lot of ambiguity, learning, and perseverance daily. Think about the types of people you like to work with, the types of physical environments you thrive in, the pace and style of work you enjoy (structured or open-ended), whether you enjoy traveling for work, and any logistical aspects to a workplace. This will tell you a lot about the type of work experience you want to pursue next.
Once you spend time reflecting on these three main areas (and learning more about relevant career paths), you’ll have a much clearer picture of the next career move that you’ll be excited about — and one that will suit you. You’ll have a much better idea of which career move will last much longer than your New Year’s Resolution.