There are two rules for success. 1) Never tell everything you know.
That’s a quote by Roger H. Lincoln, but it isn’t necessarily one that I live by. I find success in helping other people find success.
However, I can’t help you unless you follow the two most important steps in entrepreneurship.
Step 1: Find out What People Need
Figure out what people really, really need. Not what-would-be-nice-to-have.
Let’s pick apart this step.
“Find out” means that you need to actively seek out a business idea. Sometimes they’ll fall into your lap. But more often than not, you’ll have to constantly look for opportunities.
“What people” implies that you’ll be selling something to a person. Too many young entrepreneurs come to me with their 3.2 million person target markets. And they say, “if only I can get 1% of that.”
When you’re starting out, your target market should be no more than 100 people. That makes it less daunting when you actually start advertising. Also, you’re not selling to another business or organization. You’re selling to one person in that business or organization.
“Need” means need. Sell pain killers, not vitamins. People don’t need a new social media network. People don’t need another way to waste their time on a humor-based site. People don’t need another book to read.
I know, I’m guilty too. But this is what I love.
People do need food, clothing, shelter, time, health, relationships, and money. If your business sells one of those things, move on to step two. If not, find a way to twist your business until it does.
For example, a lawn mowing service sells a cleanly-cut lawn. But more importantly, it sells more time with the family.
Step 2: Sell it to Them
Once you have something that people can’t live without, sell it to them. The better job you do on step one, the easier this will be.
You’ll notice that I used the word, “sell.” Most young people forget this part. We think our ticket to success is making a cool website, getting traffic, and “selling” advertising.
In actuality, you need to have 100K monthly visitors to make even a couple hundred dollars per month with advertising. There are only about 50K websites in the world that get that much traffic. If you think you have a top 50K idea, then you might be able to pay rent with it.
There are other ways to make money with a website, but you need to sell something if you want to make money.
Find out what people need and sell it to them. That’s as simple as it gets.
If you want a more detailed roadmap for entrepreneurship, check out 61 Steps to Becoming a Successful Young Entrepreneur.