The Best Way to Find a Business Idea — Fast
Over the past 12 years, I’ve helped thousands of students to create their own profitable businesses.
And the #1 obstacle that holds people back?
Finding a business idea.
It sounds crazy. After all, you can go Google “business ideas” right now and get 52,800,000 results. (Wanna be a dog walker?)
But if business ideas are so easy to come by, why is this such a huge barrier for people?
Here’s the rub: You don’t just need any idea.
You need to know:
- If your business idea is profitable (so you don’t waste your time)
- If your idea is something you care about
Anybody can hand you a list of ideas and say, “Run with this. Bye.”
But my approach is different. I’ve developed a system that guarantees you’ll find profitable ideas you enjoy.
Nail this and you’ll be well on your way to having a successful online business. One that gives you the financial freedom to do the things you love. Then you’ll never have to choose between paying bills, saving for the future, or investing in great experiences and products.
Don’t have any ideas? Or have too many ideas?
Relax. I’ve got you covered.
That’s what you’ll get today in this guide. We’ll cover:
- How to start a side business no matter your current situation (working full time, busy family, crazy schedule, student… (we’ve got you covered in Part 2)
- The 6 types of businesses you can start online and how to decide which one is right for you (Part 3)
- How to discover if your business idea will make money BEFORE spending any money (Part 4)
- The 5 things you need to go from $0 to $4,500 online, faster than you ever thought possible (Part 5)
How to Find a Profitable Business Idea in 3 Steps
Step 1 – The first step to finding a profitable business idea: You have permission to come up with ideas that suck.
There are no bad ideas in the beginning stages.
Some of my early business ideas were terrible. But I’ve gone on to create more than 18 successful products.
Today, I’m going to reveal my system for identifying bad ideas — fast — so you can avoid costly mistakes.
And it all starts with this simple realization: You have permission to come up with ideas that suck.
Once you’ve internalized this idea, you’re ready to move on to step two.
Step 2 – Ask yourself these 4 questions
It’s easy to sit and create a list of random business ideas. But without the right framework, you can’t tell if these ideas will ever pan out.
That’s why we use this simple exercise to get the ball rolling.
The first part of this exercise is to ask yourself 4 questions.
Question #1: What do I already pay for?
I like to lead with this question because a lot of us can’t even fathom the idea that someone would pay them for something.
But when you think about it, we already pay other people for tons of random stuff.
For example, maybe you pay someone to:
- Clean your apartment
- Change the oil in your car
- Make your dinner
When you start to make your list, you’ll quickly see that you pay other people every day.
That’s why I start with this question. It opens your mind to what’s possible when it comes to business ideas.
So take a second — right now — and think of about 3-5 things that you already pay for. Write them down on a sheet of paper and move on to the next question.
Question #2: What skills do I have?
What are you great at? Write those things down
Remember, there are no bad ideas here. Your list of skills can include anything you want
- Are you good at cooking?
- Do you speak Spanish?
- Are you an Excel wiz?
As you make your list, you’ll start to see what people might pay you for
For example: If you’re great at cooking, maybe someone would pay you to be a personal chef for them.
If you know Spanish, maybe you could tutor someone.
If you’re amazing at Excel, I know plenty of people who would gladly pay you to create some charts for them right now.
I want you to push yourself to come up with a list of at least 10 skills you already have. Write down anything that comes to mind. Don’t filter any of your ideas.
Once you’ve got at least 10, you can move on to the next question.
Question #3: What do my friends say I’m great at?
This is important because it can be very revealing.
Maybe your friends are always saying, “Wow, you give amazing relationship advice. You’re the only person I come to.” Or, “Your apartment is so organized. I wish my place looked like this.” Or, “OMG, you’re always wearing the perfect outfit! I’m so jealous.”
You could turn all three of those things into successful businesses.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget we have these skills because they come naturally.
And if you find yourself thinking, “Ramit, I do not have any skills,” go ask your friends. It might seem a little weird, but I bet they’ll give you a list of at least 3 things you’re amazing at.
Add these ideas to your list. Shoot for at least 3-5 ideas and feel free to ask coworkers and family if you want. You might get different insights that way
Trust me, you have many skills that have never even occurred to you.
Question #4: What do I do on Saturday morning?
This last question comes from my good friend, Ben Casnocha.
He said, “When you’re trying to find a business idea, think about what you do on a Saturday morning before everyone else is awake.”
- What are you reading? Fashion magazines? Fitness books?
- What are you watching?
- What one thing could you do all day?
Another way to think of this is: If you were locked in a room with your friend, what could you talk about for 3 hours straight?
This is a great way to expose ideas and passions. The things you would have a blast sharing with the world.
By the end of these 4 questions, you’ll have at least 20 ideas written down. If you don’t have 20, go back and ask yourself each question again until you do.
Once you get to 20, you’re ready for step 3.
Step 3 – Use the Demand Matrix to guarantee your success
A lot of people will just say, “Make a list. Have fun!” And leave it there.
But I want to take it one step further. We always test our ideas for profitability. That way we can virtually guarantee they’ll be successful.
And for that, I want to show you a tool we use called the “Demand Matrix.” Here’s what it looks like: