Starting a side business? There’s a right way and a wrong way to begin

4th Jan 2019
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When starting a new business, the singular focus should always be on the 2-3 important elements that will help you achieve tangible results.

The other day I was with a friend who is thinking of starting something of his own. A side business. The second source of income. Something outside his day job. Something that makes him excited to wake up every day.

He seemed very jaunty for a reason.

Him: “I'm almost finished with starting my business.”

Me: “Oh, that's great! Like what?”

“I have the company name registered. My business card is almost ready! I've told my friends, family, everyone!”

I didn't want to kill his excitement and listened intently. But wait, things weren’t over yet.

He reached into a pocket. “Can you guess?”

“Nope. Maybe a Rs 1 lakh cheque from a client?” (Ok, I know I have a weird sense of sarcasm!)

He took out a business card and handed it to me.

“Everything is just perfect! I just need to re-arrange the font size; this logo should be shifted more towards the centre.”

I probed. “And now what?”

“Now what? Now the business begins, Zubin!”

“Yes, but how? Does your idea have enough demand? Have you validated it? Where are your customers? How are you going to find them?” I tried to ask casually.

He goes: “Well, yeah, NOW I just need to figure that out.”

----------------------------End of Story-----------------------------

Are you kidding me? You're obsessed about all the things that are useless instead of the things that actually matter?

You do all the work on meaningless stuff instead of focusing on something that is going to get you the most results?

Introducing the Portrait Theory: key things to start a side business

Have you taken a portrait picture? What's the most important aspect of it?

One of the secrets, why portrait pictures are sharp, high-quality and amazing, are because of their singular focus on the object. They ignore everything that is low-quality, poor, or just not important to be in the frame.

In short -- focus on ONLY the important things; ignore everything else!

The Portrait Theory tells us that when starting anything new, especially in the beginning stage, the singular focus should always be on the 2-3 important elements that will help you achieve tangible results, while also ignoring everything else not important.

How can you apply this when starting your business? I'll tell you. What if you know the key things to succeed, and also the unproductive things that are essentially time-wasters?

The few key things include:

  • What's your idea? (And have you validated it?)
  • Is there demand? How do you know?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • How are you going to find them?
  • Can you get one paying customer? (Once you get your first, the next 10 are relatively simpler)

These are the things I'd focus on if starting something new; this is something I want to encourage you as well.

To me, this is liberating because now I can say, “Wow, I ONLY have to focus on X, Y and Z, and NOT WORRY about anything else!”

So here’s the lesson in a nutshell -- before you even think about doing all the “fancy” stuff, you need to have the basics in place.

Let others talk about the “fancy” stuff such as a Facebook page, website, followers, likes, etc. Ignore them.

Focus on the few key things. Get them right, and you have an amazing portrait, aka, your own side business!

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Zubin Ajmera
After his 5-year stint in USA, Zubin returned back to India. He’s a Marketer, Founder of 2 online businesses, and started Progress and Win, a site where he helps working professionals and beginner bloggers start an online side business from scratch, using tested techniques and strategies. He believes in a strict “no-B.S” approach, has been covered on Entrepreneur India, YourStory, worked on a book with the author/CEO, and featured on other brands.

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