In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. A few years later, and through a very non-linear journey, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that little blog led to bestselling books and a publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women uncover what they're made to do and take steps to make it happen, too.
Okay, tell me if this sounds familiar. 🙋♀️ You know you wanna start a business or a side hustle so you can make some extra income and have the flexibility to set your own hours (and work in your slippers, of course).
So you write a list of all the things you’re passionate about and all the ideas you have. But when you look over your list, you think, “How am I ever going to choose? I just want to pursue ALL my passions!”
Well sister, you’re not alone.
I know so many multi-passionate women with big hearts and a million ideas, who just aren’t sure how to decide which idea to pursue, or where to start.
Well, if that’s you, then listen up because my girl Rachel Proctor came on The SHE Podcast to help you get some clarity and answer that big question rumbling around in your head: how do I find the right business idea?
Rachel is an online educator, business coach, author, and second-generation entrepreneur. Growing up and working in the family business as a small child is the flame that ignited her fire to help other aspiring entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership.
This girl’s genuinely passionate about helping people get into business and unpack their ideas to make things happen.
Let me just warn ya now, you’re gonna want some pen and paper for this one, because we’re coming at you with some really great knowledge and practical steps to get you going with your business. Ready? 💃
Listen, so many times (and, girl, I’ve experienced this too) we have a million different ideas running around in our brains. But how do you narrow it down and pinpoint what the right idea is for YOU to do?
It’s easy to look to the right and left and see what everyone else is doing. You think, “Wow, she’s doing something really cool. I should do that!”
But this leads you to start thinking about all the things you could or should do, but never really planting your foot and moving forward with one.
So I asked Rachel what her advice is for choosing which idea to run with, and here’s what she said. (You’re gonna want to listen to this because it’s 🔥.)
There are a lot of people who will say you should choose the thing you’re most passionate about – to choose the one you would do if you didn’t get paid for it.
But a lot of the things we’re passionate about won’t actually get us paid.
So when you wanna find your business idea and your niche, you need to really drill down into what specific result you can get for somebody.
Rewind, and read that again: Drill down into what specific result you can get for somebody.
Because that’s what you’re doing in business. You’re solving problems for people.
So the idea you should run with might not be something you’re super passionate about, although it can be.
Instead, as Rachel says, you have to do the thing that will help you FINANCE what you’re passionate about.
Girl is speaking my heart!
I work with a lot of big hearted women who want to change the world and step into what they’re passionate about, but they forget about their skillset and what will actually make money.
“Chase your passions” is feel-good advice. I think we need to pivot that messaging.
Half of your passions probably aren’t monetizable. So you need to think about what’s profitable and then you can weave your passions into that, or use it to fund your passions.
Some of the best brands out there do something very specific and profitable, and weave in what they’re passionate about into that, even though that passion piece might not be monetized.
This is the practical advice we aren’t hearing, but we need to hear.
Rachel framed it in a good way: Imagine that you have a job where you’re not going to get paid until you get your client a result. What is the thing, that if you were in that situation, you would have confidence in your ability to deliver so you could get paid? Figure that out and then build on that thing.
Sometimes you look around and you see someone who’s a thought leader – someone who’s inspiring people with their messages, maybe through social media, public speaking, or writing. You see the amazing impact they’re having and you wanna be like them.
You wanna jump right in and start inspiring.
But what you don’t see is that the person you’re looking at didn’t start with the inspiration. She started with a very specific idea or product that she sold or marketed, and as she grew her community and became more successful, she SLOWLY was able to expand and pivot and eventually get to that place of inspiring others.
What you’re seeing is her 10 or 15 years into her business.
So when you’re thinking about what you wanna do, you need to think about year 1, not year 10 or 15.
As Rachel said: “You’ve got to be okay with starting small. You’ve got to shift your mindset to not be afraid of being seen at the starting line. So many of us quit because we try to start at the place we’re designed to finish at.”
There are so many people who could contribute great things, who end up quitting before they’ve begun because they try to start at the wrong point.
Look, let’s be honest. The finish line looks sexy and glamourous, and that’s what you see on Instagram, but most of the women you’re looking at have been in the game for a long time.
I have a lot of people who come to me and say, “I want to do what you do, speak and write and inspire people.” But, guys, that’s not at all where I started.
I started with a product that was very specific and was for a very specific group of people. As time went on, I was able to expand my brand, add different marketing arms, and eventually do the books and speaking. But that all took time to build.
You wanna be where you wanna be, but you have to start at the right place and take the steps to get to the end game.
I also asked Rachel what advice she would give for choosing a business model. She pointed out a couple of examples of two very different business models:
Now, I also believe that there is a hybrid model, where you’re using your influence to share your words and you may do some affiliate things, but also have programs, teaching courses, or a product you’re selling.
But it’s important to not try and start with the hybrid model. Choose one model to start with and focus on first.
Rachel suggests you figure out what will work well with your personality and the space you feel most comfortable in. Think in terms of how you’ll deliver that ultimate result for your audience.
So, what are some steps you can take to get to your dream while also making money?
Ask yourself: What exactly do I have to leverage to turn into a business? What am I doing right now in my current job that I could use? What skill set do I have that could transfer into a business?
It’s not always going to be what you’re most passionate about or the feel-good things. Think about the tangible, hard things you can get someone visible results in.
Rachel even suggests having a “results vault” where you record all the things you could do and build a business on.
Then, before you do anything else with that, start building community around those things. Start creating conversations. That’s where you’re going to get feedback from and the people in that community are probably going to be your first customers.
So leverage that community to figure out what your most profitable idea is. What are your audience and community actively and urgently seeking solutions on? How can you take what you have in your “results vault” and intersect them with the things people need solutions for?
Alright, friend, seriously, stop right now and take notes on all that!
Get a handle on what your audience needs from you right now that you could deliver on? What is that most urgent need for them?
This is why I talk all the time about the importance of building an engaged community. Because they’re your sounding board.
Clarity on your best business idea doesn’t come from thinking about it a lot. It comes from asking your community questions and then taking action.
If you’re worried about staying true to your values while also making money, Rachel illustrates it like this:
As a business owner, there are two different types of people you can be: the travel agent or the tour guide.
Travel agents send their clients to places they’ve never seen themselves. And so their clients run into the risk of getting lost or missing out on things because the agent hasn’t actually been in that location.
Tour guides, however, are with you on the journey. They’ve been to this spot countless times. They know the history of the place. They can show you the way around and the places to avoid. And they can teach you the shortcuts and help fastrack your trip.
When it comes to business, you want to be a tour guide for your audience.
A lot of the time we have experiences in life and we don’t see them, and how they’ve helped us develop skill sets or systems, as a gift. But they totally are because they enable you to be the tour guide.
Your audience is made up of people who are generally just previous versions of yourself.
So help show them the next steps and guide them, using the skills and experience you gained walking through the same thing.
I asked Rachel, “What is one thing you shouldn’t do when starting a business and making it successful?”
And ladies, her answer is on the money.
She said, “Never try to start your business on results you’ve never gotten for anyone.”
Sometimes you see someone else who’s getting results and looks successful, and you decide to try and duplicate it. But what works for that person might not work for you. They may have different experiences and skill sets than you do.
So what you really need to do is focus on what you’ve been able to get results on for yourself or someone else.
Plus, when you do that, you become a better resource to your audience.
Yes and amen!!! 👏👏
Everyone, write that one down too: Don’t start your business on results you’ve never gotten for anyone.
If you’re still sitting there saying, “Well I haven’t gotten anyone results, so what do I do?” think about it this way.
Maybe you haven’t gotten results for someone else, but you have gotten results for yourself in a specific area. Figuring that out takes a lot of reflection. Some things may seem natural for you or some things may come out of painful situations that you don’t like to think of.
But think about it. Maybe you’ve gotten out of a toxic relationship or you’ve paid off all your debt. How did you do it? What systems did you use?
That’s the knowledge that will be a huge value and resource to your audience.
As Rachel said, “You are your first testimonial when it comes to business.”
So, if you’re feeling like you’re being pulled in a bunch of directions and you’re not sure which business idea you should pursue, this episode will bless you.
There’s so much actionable knowledge packed into this episode and Rachel has some really great tips for you.
So get that notebook out (trust me, you’re gonna need it) and start listening to hear:
Tell me in the comments: How did this help you narrow down your business idea?
And if you want to hear more from Rachel, go check out her website here.