I know many people who say “One day I would like to work for myself, but what should I do and where do I start”? I am by no means an expert on starting up a company and I could go to some MBA text books and quote you the basics of starting up (it will say something like, you need a business plan, you need funding, you need to do some market research first – understand the competition, understand the demand etc etc). But do start ups REALLY start like that?
I know some amazing mums out there, that are taking financial risks in developing new products and bringing them to market. They ARE doing what the MBA books say: looking at unit costs and market size etc. They may strike it lucky and have a killer product on their hands and in years to come they make their millions by selling off the brand.
So, is this the only way to do it? I think that the above certainly is one way of doing it. What about Red Ted Art? Red Ted Art is not a “concept”. Red Ted Art does not plug a gap in the market. I like to call Red Ted Art a “hobby business”. It is my hobby and I make a little bit of money on the side. I do this for fun. It pleases me. In the old days, I would have been called a “cottage industry”. Does this mean, that I am not a proper start up? Not sure. Will leave you to decide on that.
However, to me the number 1 ingredient is passion. What the MBA books don’t say and that all of the above mumpreneurs and Red Ted Art have in common is passion. Find something that you love and that you believe in and the rest will follow – especially if you are juggling your “start up” with a family. You need something that motivates you to work late into the night or to put it before the housework or supermarket run (surely that is what online grocery shopping is for?). What most start ups (probably) do have in common, is that you need to put a lot of work in before you see any returns. You have to invest 100s of hours, without being sure that you will succeed at the end. I probably spend just as much time “marketing & selling” than I do painting & making greeting cards or “writing” my children’s book. My approach is just different – it is low risk (very little financial investment, I paint to order at home – so no overheads and very little stock), but for that I will probably see slower returns, but that is fine with me. Afterall, this is my hobby! And who knows, one day, it may make me rich after all!
So. If there is something in your life that you enjoy and that you are passionate about – ask yourself – can I make money from this? If so… go ahead and start a start up!