This is by far the most important stage of all. All of it is important, but if you don’t get this right, you will be kicking your knee cap off because you have been wasting your time with everything else after this point. I like the image of a chicken with his head cut off.
Disclaimer: I didn’t come up with this stuff on my own. I’ve read many books, listened to countless hours of podcast and wrote about the topic for months on end in my personal journal. If I was going to tell someone where to start and get the most out of their time, it would be in the same places. Here they are: 1) ilovemarketing.com-this place is the shit. It will get your mind right and get you thinking in terms of your client’s and not your. I’m downplaying how really effective these podcast were and I go back listening to them from time to time still. 2) Dan Kennedy-he is a no bullshit type of guy. He is old school for a good reason, the shit just works for him. If you want to know the books I really recommend from him, reply to this post. 3) Secrets From the Lost Art of Common Sense Marketing-if someone wanted to get some information and start implementing, this would be the only book I recommend. I actually found this book in my parent’s garage one day looking through the sea of shitty books. I read it once years ago and picked it up again a couple of months ago and it still blows me away. This book is old, but timeless information that can be used in this digital-everything-world.
Step 1a: What the fuck do you want to do?
This is by far the easiest step. Pick anything you want, doesn’t matter, just make sure it is one thing. That is it. The trick with this stage is to be very very specific. 2-3 of the ideas I’ve started in the past month or two have been thought about and selected. Whatever the reason of you picking that thing you want to make money from is, it’s best that it is something that brings a smile to your face. Not the most effective, just something that you will love the approach and process of the business.
When I was choosing what I wanted to do with my photography months ago, I came up with this bright idea of being mostly all things photography to businesses. I hated dealing with consumers due to past experiences and I just wasn’t motivated to bust my ass to get on my crippled knees to make a kid smile. It just wasn’t my personality. I forced myself into doing that type of work, but that was the work that I could get on a consistent basis. It’s the same with events for me. I don’t care in the world to do weddings and of the event photo gigs that I’ve done, I felt like a slave monkey snapping photo after photo. Whatever, you get my point. So, I took about a month figuring out what I wanted to really do and came to the conclusion that it had to deal with fine art of some sort. I began to get a smile on my face and that led me to being even more specific about what I wanted to do.
How do you know you got the perfect idea of business?
After selecting an idea, you are jumping off your ass, cheesing from one cheek to the next, telling everyone that you may give a shit about! Yes, it may sound funny, but that is the first part. I know people are wondering, that they go through this particular phase many times. I do the same. I’ve been excited about business this year so much, that I stopped telling people and just started doing.
The second part of the knowing if the perfect idea is actually the perfect idea is to simply don’t do anything. Live your life, take a poop and exercise as you do each and everyday. Do that for at least a week. Let your mind wonder to whatever it does. If you want to write or talk to people about changing the world with your idea, do it. If you want to celebrate and get shitfaced and high-fiving every stranger in the bar, do it. Just live your life like you normally would. After that week or so on not acting on your business idea, ask yourself this one question: Is the excitement to really do this idea, to put in the actual work, the ability to move mountains still visually evident? If you start having serious doubts and you feel that you were over your head and even just not nearly as excited about actually doing anything with your idea–scratch it. That’s it, move on to another idea or just live life and something else will come to you.
Again, this doesn’t make much sense, but this will save your ass many false starts and no real action. Trust me, I’ve gone through it and I’m sure you are looking back in your life where that has happened. Many people go through the ‘false start’ phase and many times we don’t get out of it. I was watching a flip this house episode a couple of weeks ago and this guy mentioned that anyone can start, most people can’t finish. However, once you have something that you are in love with and have wet dreams about, make sure you are ready to tackle it.
Step 1b: The Target Market Selection
I said the first part is the easy part, so that makes this one harder. You will think that this step is easy. It isn’t because when most people think of target market the only thing that they are thinking about is market. Again, you have to get specific as hell. It doesn’t matter who your market is, that will be talked about in detail later on. However, you most select a target market that is specific to the point of it being too scary selective.
Okay, here is another example with my photography. Once I decided that I wanted to do fine art, I had to get crazy specific. Did I want to take photographs of mountains, fire hydrants or whatever the fuck? I then started to think of the way and style I photographed my type of fine art photography. Then I started to think about all the people who may be interested. I thought long and hard and knew that women weren’t my market. I don’t do those type of images. Then I said that my target market are males of 25-40, young professionals, career minded folks striving for the renaissance man in the era that we are in. Think the Most Interesting Man in the world commercials. As my wife would put it, a young douchebag. She also said that was crazy, scary specific. Once I heard those words, I knew I was on the right track!