Dear Careers Clique
I have been mulling this over for the last couple of months and I am not really not sure what to do. I am a married mother of 2 and I have worked in marketing for the last 15 years. I have enjoyed my job for the most part although there have been many periods of discontent as I’m sure many people will recognise. I have been able to work from home throughout the lockdown and have not been furloughed. I am not in any danger of being made redundant. So from that perspective I have been very lucky.
However, the lockdown has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life a little and it’s left me feeling that I need more. I enjoy spending more time with the children and my husband. I don’t miss the 1 hour commute. We are enjoying more family time and I actually get to spend time with the kids. I no longer have to snatch moments with them before and after work. I know it sounds quite selfish given how many people are suffering right now but I’ve found the lockdown has shown me what a slower pace of life could look like.
That has got me thinking about changing careers or possibly starting my own business and one day working for myself. When I think about starting a business, I don’t even think about business plans or business skills. My main question is “what do I do?”. How do I come up with a business idea?
I would appreciate any advice.
Firstly , well done on recognising that you are fourtunate to be in the position you are in. As you say, many people have been furloughed during the lockdown. To date over 600,000 people have lost their jobs during the lockdown. So you really are in a fourtunate position. However, that does not negate your feelings about your current position and the acknowledgement that you are enjoying the lockdown. Indeed , people are slowly starting to admit enjoying the lockdown and appreciating that slower pace of life. You are not alone. Many people are planning on changing careers or starting/building on their side hustles.
Your question about starting a business is intriguing. The lockdown has given you impetus but I wonder whether this is something you have thought about before,especially during those periods of discontent you refer to.
Coming up with a business idea may seem daunting at first. Especially when you have not previously had any burning desires in that area. However, you should not let that deter you. Let’s take a look at how you can come up with that business idea.
Explore Your Skillset
Look at your skillset and look at ways you could use them in your new sideline. You could look at the skills you have acquired during your marketing career. Think about any IT or social media skills you may have. You are more likely to make a success of a business that utilises your current skillset. It also means you won’t have to spend time and money acquiring a whole new set of skills before starting your business alongside your 9-5 job.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Competition
Many people believe that you can not start a business in an already crowded area. Competition should not be a barrier to entering a particular sector. If you enter a space where there is competition, you should be thinking about how you can be better than your competitors. Google was not the first search engine and Just Eat is just one of many on the food delivery space.
Think about the companies or industries that interest you and think about how you could make the service/product better. Ultimately, if your idea is a good one, there will already be competition or there will be when your idea becomes a success. Competition in business is to be expected.
Have you ever had any burning issues in your everyday life where you thought ‘I wish there was a service/product that could help me here’. That is your starter for 10. Think about what you as an individual would want to help fix that issue and start from there. Perhaps it’s something in your normal day to day life at home. Perhaps you have noticed an issue during lockdown that you hadn’t noticed before. Solving a problem you have will give you an insight into what your potential customers want and ideas on how to achieve that.
Hopefully these tips should help get your juices flowing and help identify some business ideas to explore. Just starting is the key here. You will likely come up and dismiss many ideas. So the sooner you start work on identifying them,the better. The best time to start is now.
We will be exploring this in more detail in an upcoming podcast episode, so be sure to subscribe for updates.
We would love to hear from anyone trying to start a business or change a career during the pandemic. Drop a comment below and be sure to sign up to the newsletter.