Whoop woo, we’re back again this week! On today’s episode, I’m breaking down the difference between the NEEDS and WANTS in your business. This episode is primarily geared for those who are considering starting a business, but hopefully it will apply if you’re starting any endeavor. If you have already made this leap, there are still some great action items to take, but don’t worry, I’ve got plenty more entrepreneurial tips in the upcoming episodes!
I have talked to and heard from so many people who want to create something or have a business idea based on what they love to do, but they haven’t asked themselves IS THERE A NEED?
The goal in starting a successful business should be finding the balance between something you love and the need in your market space.
I spoke with Lisa last week about the creation of The Toy Nest. She had the rare experience of seeing a problem, finding a solution, then learning that there wasn’t anything like it in her geographic area. This isn’t always that case, so I don’t want you to be discouraged if you think of something and find that there are hundreds (or thousands) of people already doing it — HELLO!, there are at least 1,000 photographers within 20 miles of me and I have found success! There are so many things you could do that others have done, you just need to find a way to do it differently!
In this episode, I break down two different paths and how you can strengthen your brand through both. I give actionable tips for those who have an idea that no one else does, as well as those who have an interest in something many others do! I also give real life examples outside of my photography business — though you know I’ll be dropping some things I’ve learned in my niche as well!
Finally, remember to start with your passion and find a true need you can fulfill. Want to start something but don’t know what? Sit down and brain dump all the things you like to do (working out, cooking, crafting, etc.) then take that list and figure out if there is a need you can fulfill in turning this into a business/brand.
Weather you have found the need or still have to lock it in, make sure you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! It takes people so long (hand raise over here!), so get going and do it! Don’t hold back — heck even telling your friends and family will make it real (and they can start supporting you right away)!
Want to start now? Drop your ideas/wants/needs in the comments to make it real!
Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your baby’s first would have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 hour work week cycle either until I did, as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans, I made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and the newborn in tow. But I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds life doing it all amidst the chaos. Welcome back everybody to another week of amidst the chaos, I would say that it’s been quite the week here, But I feel like all the weeks are kind of quite the weeks right about now I think everybody’s feeling that this long winter’s starting to kill me, but today we’re gonna dive into a topic that’s applicable to any of you that are thinking about or even considering starting a business, or even just thinking about how to quit your job. I know we’ve kind of marketed this podcast as an entrepreneur podcast where it is something for you to be thinking about and moving towards if that’s what you want, and I want to provide some sort of real life advice for those of you who haven’t already done that for those of you that have, we’ll have lots of those good tips and tricks coming up but if you haven’t already done so, than this is a great great great episode for you to listen to, so I’m glad you’re tuning in. So today I’m talking about the difference between a need, versus a want in your business. Right, so many people want to do something, or they have an idea that they think that they just love or something that they would love to do day in and day out, but there may not be a need for it, and so we’re trying to find that balance here between finding something that you love and finding some need in the market space. Last week, Lisa talked to us about how she got the idea for the torness, and I think she’s super unique and also maybe a genius. And then she found an idea in a market space that wasn’t already taken up in her geographical area. That’s amazing, but it’s rare, right, you don’t ever really get that feeling of, hey, I have an idea that nobody’s really done before, that is so rare and it’s amazing for her, but I want you to know that if you have, you’ve had a thought before and then you realize that 100 Other people have had the same thought. That’s okay. right finding something that isn’t already a thing seems daunting and impossible. The thought oh, but so and so already does basically the same thing. I can’t make this work because she’s already doing it. That’s sort of a rite of passage when starting a business these days, there’s so many things out there that you can do that other people have done, you just need to figure out a way to do it a little bit differently. For me, as a photographer, I mean, are you kidding, there are 1000s of photographers with registered businesses and great quality work all within 20 miles of me in the DC area, it made me really sit back and think there’s no way I can do that, there isn’t space for me, but there was, because I found the need. I knew that there were moms out there that didn’t know it, but they needed a photographer, that would bring everything to them, they would still provide studio level work, but they wouldn’t have to leave their house. They needed a photographer, that would remember they’re only 10 days postpartum. They needed a photographer who empathized and put mom and babies needs before their own. Now, does it make for a really long day to steam and prep mom’s dress options, drive to my clients house, haul in set up all my stuff for friend their toddler, and then start what could be a three hour session.
Yeah, yeah does, but man it makes all the difference for that mom, I found the need that new moms have and didn’t even know they had. And it’s paid off in the long run from all the referrals my clients have given me for making their days after giving birth so much easier. There are a bunch of ways you can look at starting a business when you have an idea, or four, or 10 ideas, but none of them seem quite right. Today I want to talk about how you can make one idea that you love the best but seems impossible because 100 people do it a reality. There are one of two ways you can go about building a business one to have an idea that really isn’t a thing in your area or market, but fills a need, like Lisa and the toy nest, or you have an idea like becoming a photographer that you might really really want to do, but there are so many people that already do it right where your market is.
For the first idea, Lisa talks about this a little bit in last week’s episode, she doesn’t like organizing her kids toys, she doesn’t like picking up after them she doesn’t like fixing broken toys, but she knew after I visit her parents house, that it would be awesome to have a place to go and rent toys for your stay. She saw that in Northern Virginia with tiny houses, there just isn’t a ton of extra storage space for toys. She saw that there wasn’t a toy library within three hours to actually fill this need, so she entered the market. She did a huge amount of research on other toy libraries and her own on an on her own and business to make it happen. She worked her butt off, and she had a great, great idea, but to be honest, I’ve never felt that before, I’ve never felt the feeling of oh man, I figured out something that no one else does, and if you feel that way about the you know the large aspect of your business, that’s fantastic, and capitalize on it. If you’ve done that and you feel overwhelmed, I can totally imagine you would be. Now you might feel kind of alone, right, if you’re the first person to trailblaze this new idea, but make sure that you’re doing your research anyway, there are going to people be people out there that can help you. So if you’re searching for the idea that fills your need, what would you Google what hashtags would you search on Instagram, do that search for things like your idea, any keywords that you would search if you were looking for the thing that you’re starting right and search Instagram search Pinterest search Facebook, search for things like your idea to help evolve your concept and Lisas case other toy libraries did come up, she didn’t know they were going to, she didn’t even know that was a thing, but it was great for her she was able to join an association she got tons of knowledge and a nice ledge to jump off from, but she doesn’t do everything like all the other toy libraries, and she certainly is the only one in our area which is a huge bonus for her to. Now if you do the search and absolutely nothing comes up, I hate to tell you, but you’ve just found a total niche in the market, and you need to go for it. You found the need. Instagram is an especially awesome place to look for the need, because if a mom doesn’t complain on Insta Stories about something, did she even complain at all. I mean I’m really just kidding, because most Instagramers only show the good and perfect portion of their mom lives, but I will tell you there’s someone there who keep it real and are looking for solutions to problems. And in those you might find some validation for your idea, if you’re the only one in your market with your specific idea. That’s amazing. I’ve said it before you have a huge advantage and a place to start that you could trailblaze your and make your own. The problem here is that you don’t have a ton of people to model after so it ends up being on you. If this is the case, I highly recommend finding some entrepreneur podcasts like gold digger with Jenna Kutcher or being boss with Emily Thompson, and follow some of their mindset and goal setting advice to keep you motivated and give you some ideas on how to most efficiently launch and maintain your business. It is a lonely, lonely world, being an entrepreneur and I know we’ve talked about that on here before. But if you don’t have anybody to model after it becomes even lonelier that sense of motivation and what could my next step be you have to make it on your own, right, you have to figure out what your next step is going to be on your own. There aren’t a ton of people to model it after. So finding great entrepreneurs like the two I mentioned, is going to be a really key process in starting that business to keep you motivated as you move forward. So now that I’ve made all of you be like okay well I don’t have a genius idea I don’t have something that I can do or that I love that isn’t already done before. That’s okay. You are in the majority I promise that’s probably 98% of the people listening to this podcast, so if you’re in that 98% Here we go. First things first, find the line between what you love and want to do, and what your consumer or client will need. Here’s my real life example because I want to give a real life example that’s not photography. So let’s say you love your Cricut machine. Now, I don’t know if it’s pronounced cricket or cricket or cricket. I don’t know. I’m going with cricket, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about Google them, and there are the awesome die cut machines that cut vinyl and paper and all kinds of different things into beautiful designs you can basically be a master crafter with it, it’s incredible. But anyway, if you love to use your Cricut and make gifts for family and friends, it’s just a hobby, but you’re good at it, and you think, okay, how could I make enough money doing this to quit my job, you’re kind of excited because it’s an idea, it’s something that you could do you love doing it, you could do it from home, you know you could do it and be your own boss, and then you get on Google and you search Cricut Design store or a Cricut makers or something that leads you to the 1,395,000 stores that come up online, and when is knocked right out of your sails. Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s happened to me and it put me off, it put me off in my business for six months before I even started I can’t imagine where I would be if I’d had an extra six months of planning in my business, you’ve thrown your hands up and you say, well, guess that isn’t happening. Right, that’s what I did, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If someone else can do it, you can do all it takes is hustle and grind and finding the need, right, so follow those die cut creator stores on Instagram and see what people are saying in the comments, are they asking, Could you make this in a lanyard. I love this, but do you have other colors. When I was doing this research for my own business, I found, Do you come to people’s homes for those photos. Do you do pose and lifestyle shots, can I get everything in one session. Those are some of the questions that I saw asked on a lot of different social media posts. It took some searching it really did, because not everybody’s going to be that open and honest. But I didn’t even start fully narrowing down what my clients really needed until closer to, maybe six months into my business. When I first started I knew that I could be a photographer, because so many had also had success so I just jumped and went all in. If you validated your idea, aka you’ve seen that a million other people are doing it and doing it successfully, and you have the motivation to hustle and make it happen. Dive in, go for it, regardless of that saturated market, but when you do when you make that jump, know that you’re going to have to pivot to find that need. You’re going to have to make the thing that you love your own and find your own little corner of the market where your business can thrive. Now, What gets me so frustrated when people ask you know what makes you different from another photographer, what makes you different from another company. When you’re first starting out, that is such a daunting question, it was so so overwhelming for me at the very beginning, I’m like, I don’t know, I just started right I’m good with kids, that was pretty much all I had. But that’s okay because for me, it made me think, right, and I couldn’t go from, what makes you different, to knowing all the things I know about my brand and my business today. It was such a humongous jump, you can’t just think that that one vague overarching question is going to have an answer right away. You have to work your way to that answer, find what you’re good at and find where the need is so that you can fulfill it. You don’t have to know the answer to that question right away. If you’re just starting out, see what clients are asking you see what those first customers are asking you, either before they book a session or before they make an order with you. What are the questions they’re asking you, what would they like you to do differently. Keep a list of all of those things so that you can figure out what could set you apart because of the need you’re fulfilling what can make those clients the happiest right what can make them the most satisfied with your service, and that you’re satisfying your need, which in turn is what makes you different than somebody else in your market, and you’ve answered that crazy scary overarching question. So back to our die cutting example in the crafting world, I’ve done just a tiny bit of research, but the main problem I found as a consumer and trust me I am a consumer I love all things crafting but I don’t have the time right now, but what I found to be my main problem was that I just didn’t see that these shops had the flexibility and options I might want when I ended up at their Etsy shop right there were all these drop down menus and things I could choose the sizes and the fonts and you know the different options that you could have to order your product, right, but for me, it made me nervous. I’m like I don’t know if they’re gonna understand these instructions oh my gosh and when you order something with a monogram and you don’t know whether it’s first middle last or first last middle like that is so stressful, and then I end up not buying anything because I don’t know for sure that it’s going to be done properly or I end up emailing the Etsy shop owner and saying, Hey, I just want to make sure my instructions are clear. And this is what I want. So for me as a consumer, what if I could find a dye cutter or crafter or whatever you want to call yourself, that didn’t use Etsy. What if they had their own beautiful website that made it very clear on every single page of that website, that their options were completely customizable from start to finish, I was immediately frustrated that I couldn’t get exactly what I wanted with the drop down options they had listed on Etsy. And I’m sure this is out there already, I’m sure somebody’s already done this and I know there are probably hundreds of websites that have this exact thing, right, but I didn’t find it that quickly on my Google search, so there’s definitely space in the market out there for somebody who could do something like this. Now this probably isn’t sustainable for your business long term is that a lot of unnecessary back and forth with your clients. That’s probably why a lot of these Etsy shop owners have the drop down menus right and you can always have those drop down menus on your customize website, but also make it totally and I’m noxious the clear to consumers, that everything is completely customizable for them if that’s a better experience for them, right, you do have to make it innocuously clear or they will miss it, right and then you lose your quote unquote need in the market space. And like I said it’s probably not sustainable long term for you to have a fully customized experience unless your high, high, high end of the market price wise, but you can always get in that way, right, that could be the way you get your foot in the door, that’s the thing that sets you apart at first, and then you just pivot on that later. So if it’s going really well and that’s something that’s really working is being totally customizable and really really hands on with your clients, you could pivot that idea later maybe hire an intern to handle your inquiries and email when you start to feel totally overwhelmed but then you’re still providing that hands on quality service. Okay so I dove, way too far down that rabbit hole, but I did want to give you a specific example from start to finish, on how to find the line between doing something you love, and turning it into something your ideal client needs. So to recap, start either with your passion and find the need, you can fulfill or be a genius like Lisa and figure out an idea that isn’t really around and run with it. If you’re listening to this and know that you want to start something but have no idea what I want you to sit down and brain dump all the things you love doing. Do you love working out, do you love cooking, do you love crafting, do you love taking pictures of your babies, take that whole list of all your favorite things to do and figure out if any of those have a pocket for a need, is there any way you could turn any of those into a business. If any of those could potentially make money in any way, I promise there’s a business there, you just have to be able to dive down deep and find that need, or if you’ve already thought about starting a business based on a need and already know what the need is but haven’t done anything about it, sit down and do something about it, it takes people so long to just make that first step. But either way, whether you’re somebody that has no idea what you want to do or somebody that has an idea that they’ve been stewing on for a while. Get going, started do it, tell your friends and family, you’re going to do it. That is the biggest and scariest hurdle especially mentally of anything you could possibly do and starting a business is telling everybody, you know, if you don’t tell people you’re starting something, how will they know how will they spread the word, how will they tell other people about it, you can always pivot and find the need as you go but like I said, taking that first step to get started and putting it out there in the world is the absolute hardest, the rest will come with lots of hustle and lots of effort, but it does come, alright well as always thank you for listening to me ramble I hope that this provides a little bit of insight and inspiration for you to just do it, I promise. Once it’s off the ground, it is not as scary as it sounds. A couple of things for you this week, I am pumped that my mobile phone presets launched last week you can check them out along with details on this episode and show notes on amidst the chaos podcast, calm, my email address and contact info is on my website, if you have an idea for a business or you need a personalized push to do something and to change your life, email me, I would love to talk to you about what you have going on.
Thanks again for listening and I can’t wait to talk to you all next week on amidst the chaos. I am so honored you spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos in any mom’s normal day to day. If you love what you’ve heard and need more snippets of knowledge about this mom Boss Life, head over to our website at amidstthechaospodcast.com for show notes and links to anything mentioned in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired, it would mean the world to me and my family if you take the time to write in with you. Thanks for joining me, amidst the chaos.