There's hope in the chaos.
There's hope in the chaos.
March 7, 2018

5 Ways to Find The Side-Business That’s Right for You

Many people are motivated to start a side business and want the flexibility of working from home, but they don’t know what they want to do.

How to Figure Out What Kind of Business to Start

“What type of business should I start?”

Since we launched Business Boutique in 2015, I’ve gotten this question more than any other. Many people are motivated to start a side business and want the flexibility of working from home, but they don’t know what they want to do.

Maybe that’s you. You want to do something—a side or small business, maybe a home-based or freelance business—but you’re not sure what business you should start. Well, you’ve come to the right place!

While I can’t tell you what your specific business should be exactly, I can give you some things to consider to help you discover it. These questions helped me decide to start my first side-business boarding horses and my second side-business doing life and business coaching. These will help you think through the possibilities that will make you the most successful.

If you want to start a side gig but aren’t sure what to do, think through these five questions:

1. What are your strengths?

What skills, education or experience do you have? This is the best starting point to look at what kind of business to start. It will save you the most money, because you already have the talents to build the business. And you will enjoy it the most, because people tend to have more fun when they are doing things that they are actually good at!

I’m not good at singing, so no one is going to hire me for voice lessons anytime soon. But I am great at coaching others towards their goals. Understanding that strength is what led me to become a credentialed life and business coach and start my second side-business years ago.  Identify your strengths as a starting point for figuring out your business.

2. What do you enjoy?

Instead of trying to dream up something you would like to do from all of the infinite possibilities out there, instead try to remember what you’ve always liked to do. What hobbies did you enjoy as a child? I’ve loved horses and farms for as long as I can remember so a horse-boarding business was a perfect fit for me. What types of things would you do just because they were fun?

Christy Wright - Side Business Animals

When I interviewed women in my research for the Business Boutique book about how they got the idea to start their side business, they all said the exact same answer: “I have always loved . . .” “I have always loved music. I have always loved organizing. I have always loved design.”

When you think of things that you “have always loved,” it helps you get one step closer to figuring out what kind of business to start.

3. Where is the money?

The point of business is to make moneyOf course we want to help people, and of course we want to do something that fulfills us and makes us light up, but the way we are able to do so is from the profits we create. Your business idea has to have some type of financial return and profit-earning potential or it won’t work.

What problems can you solve? What needs can you fill? What is something unique that you can offer? Your ideas and answers to those questions will help point you to where the money is, because those are the types of things that people are willing to pay for.

I’m all about pursuing your passion, but if your business can’t make you money, then it’s not a real business. It’s a hobby.

4. What do you already have to work with?

Your business has the best chance to make money, and therefore be successful and sustainable, if you keep costs down. A great way to do that is to start with what you have.

For example, when I moved to my 40-acre farm in Bellevue, Tennessee, there was an 11-stall barn on the property. It was that barn that I had to work with, combined with my childhood love of horses, that gave me the idea to start my horse boarding business.

Christy Wright - Side Business Horses

Do you have a swimming pool? Maybe you can teach lessons. Do you have a sewing machine? Maybe you can sell handmade bags. Sometimes just looking around your house can give you ideas of what type of business to start.

5. What are you passionate about?

I saved this for last because while most passions may come from within you, I believe you can find passion in almost anything you do if you choose to.

Let’s say that you have an idea for a business that is in your strengths, that you enjoy, that can make you money, and that you already have what you need to get started. Let’s say that business is building custom furniture. Maybe you aren’t particularly passionate about a table, but if you dig deeper, you may find something you are passionate about: people.

See, on the other side of every business transaction is a person—a person you’re helping, serving and loving. And when you focus on that person on the other side of your business that you’re taking care of, it’s no longer just a table. It’s the place where a family gathers. It’s the place where meals are shared, memories are made and lives are built.

When you look at your business through the lens of the impact you’re making, your passion becomes ignited by the people that you’re serving. It’s not the product you’re selling, but the difference you’re making that becomes what you’re passionate about.

Christy Wright - Side Business Horses 2

While you don’t have to have a business idea that meets every one of these five criteria, the more that you can align them with your dream, the more successful you will be.

But the best part is not that your business will be successful, the best part is that you’ll be living and working in what Ken Coleman describes as your “sweet spot.” And I can tell you from experience, there’s no better place to be.

So, are you ready to find your best business idea?

There’s never been a better time to start a business! But how do you narrow down exactly which passion to pursue? My Business Idea Bootcamp will guide you through the process of choosing your best business idea, so you can start making money doing what you love.

Check out Business Idea Bootcamp today!

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Leave a Comment

  • Maria tracy says:

    I work as a sales rep for a jewelry company. I’d like to quit and become a customer of my current employer. And that’s the problem? For this reason I can’t do it on the side. But I think this can be a win/win situtation-because although I won’t be working for them I will still be making them money. And my goal would be to become one of (if not there biggest customer. How can I start this on the side? Thanks for any feedback or advice you can offer.

  • GG says:

    Make sure you have lots of insurance and the right KIND of insurance before you start boarding horses or giving riding lessons. Your homeowners won’t pay if you are getting paid.

  • Susie Gunter says:

    I’m curious about how to become a life coach. What type of education/credentials are required? I’m specifically interested in helping people with “failure to launch”–people who missed the opportunity to finish high school or go to college and now struggle with finding stable careers.

  • Cyn says:

    Number 5, fourth paragraph. BRILLIANTLY stated. Exactly how I’ve felt since ’99 when I realized my passion to persue. Obstacles remain plentiful however soul still yearns to act. I’d much appreciate applying credit where due and with your permission re-state the wisdom along with your name if I may please. I had a website for two years from 2006-2008 and aim to start once again soon.

  • Perhaps a sixth question would be “What is your location?” We live in a college town with a huge football program, returning alumni, conferences, parent weekends, graduations, etc. Possibilities for a side business are almost endless here. We chose to turn our home into a bed and breakfast. This business allows us to work as hard as we want and when we want. Recently, at the same location, we added a Wedding Venue as an extension of our side business. Like Realtors say, “Location, location, location.”

  • Hanah B says:

    I am a stay at home mom who is really struggling with boredom! I feel split between two hobbies, making/selling a craft and my heart for wanting to encourage other women believers. I feel I don’t have the resources to make and sell something but I believe I would enjoy it. I would love to start a blog to encourage women but I wouldn’t know where to start and it costs a lot up front and no one may ever sponsor my blog! I would LOVE to make some money from home and have something to do during the day! ANY advice?? Thank you!!

  • Bonnie C says:

    I see you visiting different States. Is there any chance you will be coming to Chicago area? I’m just starting a business with my daughter and would love to have the opportunity to attend.

  • Kristen says:

    I have to say, I loved the horse/farm pictures!! My 13 year old daughter and I work at a horse farm because her dream is to one day have a horse farm of her own. So that was really fun to see your farm and horse pictures!!