It’s time to be an entrepreneur in our new economy. Things won’t be “normal” for a long time but there are many ways to earn spending money and maybe create bigger things for the future.
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was young, creating multiple businesses, large and small. I imported and sold leather clothing from Spain in the 70’s, owned the largest dinnerware and cookware store in the Southeast in the 70’s and 80’s, and opened a chain of retail alterations and monogram stores that became a franchise in the mid-80’s.
In 1989 I became a Clinical Nutritionist and later opened my San Antonio natural health center, office suites and meeting rooms.
How did I create such diverse businesses?
It was my ability to see a niche and act to fill it
You can do this too.
How to Think Like an Entrepreneur
Notice what’s missing. What’s needed. “Why isn’t there a ….?” Opportunities pop up all the time in your daily life. Especially now you can find them everywhere if you look. Whether it’s a little rent money or a whole new business, look for what’s needed NOW.
It starts with three questions.
#1). What could YOU use right now? Odds are someone else needs it too.
#2). What can you do? Sing, compute, play ball, run, keep books, dig, tutor, cook, garden, drive, sew, hammer, draw?
#3). On a bigger scale, what do others need now? Is there a small business opportunity in this recession?
Think. Listen. Observe. Put your thoughts and hands to work. Like the unemployed man who made a squirrel feeder picnic table for his backyard during Quarantine – it turned into a business sensation. Someone needs your ideas!
Thinking Small, for Your Neighborhood
Here’s some random ideas off the top of my head of small scale “neighborhood” thinking. Many are Virtual or from a neighbor’s porch. Market in your area and on your social media. People need small services right now and can pay or barter.
HELP WITH KIDS AND PARENTS: play ball every day with a child, teen or Dad – set up hoops, obstacles, portable targets; back yard baby sit; spend time with elderly parents or disabled family virtually or from the yard; set up pickleball and play with the family; tutor children and adults in drawing, computer or languages; help with budgeting, taxes or filing relief forms
NEW SKILLS: coach adults and children in better biking, running, basketball, voice, soccer or piano; upgrade your photography skills and take “formal” family photos; teach the low tech how to Skype/FaceTime or take online classes.
BETTER HOME AND GARDENS: design, dig, plant and weed gardens; do minor home repairs that busy handymen won’t do (a handy neighbor is always in demand); clean the deck and deck furniture; play with and baby sit dogs and children outside; stencil designs on bedroom walls; refinish furniture; repair small motors; chain saw downed limbs and trees; house sit homes for sale or rent; store a boat or RV at your house; create fun garden art (mobiles, feeders, mosaic steeping stones); clean out and organize garages.
ENTERTAINMENT: pick up and install TV’s on sale; teach guitar/harmonica/flute; help a kid write, record and perform a song album; buy, set up and install a new household pet such as goldfish or a hamster.
FOOD IS LOVE: give virtual cooking lessons to a neighbor in real time; teach people more ways to use their appliances (slow cookers, Insta Pots, steamers, grills); cook and deliver simple meals from your home.
ERRANDS: many people do not drive or are afraid to go out – help them out and they may have other work for you.
Think Small to Start Small Businesses
Where are the people who need you? They’re all around you.
Your building, your street, your neighborhood. Post flyers at the mail box, corner, under doors. Put your happy face on the flyer to encourage trust. Add a reference from a neighbor.
Look for that niche and fill it. Maybe it’s pocket change but being productive is a healthy thing. Bigger opportunities present themselves when you show up for the small stuff.
My amazing dinnerware and cookware store came from a simple but unsuccessful quest to buy a souffle dish in the days before they were widely available. True!
Small things lead to bigger things
Let your imagination run free and have fun playing the “what if” game with your family. If you’ve been on a one-track career you may find a niche that could grow to a respectable company.
When you hear yourself say “Someone should…” that’s a niche. Play with the idea and see where it goes. Best wishes to you all.