I'll always remember when I came up with the idea to coach women on their side hustles. It was like a flash of lightening while I was out walking the dog. I wasn't thinking about it per se, I was lost in other thoughts, but I just knew I had to decide whether it was valid or not.
Maybe you're in a corporate job and have an idea for a business, or you're already running a side hustle and have an idea of how to grow it or get new customers.
Whatever your situtation, these handy 5 steps can be applied, to validate whether an idea has legs or not.
1: Find out if your ideas already exist
Some simple Googling will do the job. If it's already out there, how will yours be better / different? (See point 4)
2. Create a rough forecast for your revenue & expenses
Now if you're anything like me, this sounds like the most boring step, but to others it sounds delightful. However you're wired though, its a really important step as it helps you determine how profitable the idea could be, which in turn helps you decide whether it's worth pursuing. Create a simple spreadsheet for each idea and on one side, estimate your revenue. On the other side, estimate your expenses. You'll have both overhead expenses (costs that don't change based on the quantity of products or services you sell, i.e, insurance, internet, etc) and operating expenses associated with making the product or providing the service (e.g. cost of materials or shipping. Don't worry, these can be really rough and if you find you don't know any of this information it can be a really good motivator to go and find out! Once you've got your forecasts, you can then get a better sense of profit for each idea.
3. Rate your ideas based on these 3 attributes
Investment cost, personal interest and potential profit. Look at each idea and assign three separate numbers to it based on a scale of 1 to 10:
Investment Cost: 1 being the least and 10 being the most expensive
Potential Profit: 1 being the least and 10 being the most profitable
Personal Interest: 1 if you’re not interested at all in the idea aside from its potential profitability and 10 if you’re really passionate and excited about it
After rating your idea with these three attributes, add up the total for each idea. Rank your ideas from highest to lowest total score and then focus on the idea with the highest total score. As tempting as it may be to pursue more than one at a time, this will lead to lack of focus and overwhelm, so leave the other ideas on a 'big list' somewhere (I like to have them on the wall) and be strict with yourself.
4. Define your ideal customer, USP and understand the size of the market
For each idea work out who your target audience is & how you meet their needs. Then add in your USP intel from point 1 - how you'll be better or different. Then you can work out the potential size of your market - some simple Googling will help here.
5. Validate the ideas with your target market
Use your personal & professional networks, customers & other sources such as Facebook groups to answer the following type of questions via Survey Monkey.
Would you use this service or product and how often?
What do you like about current products or services currently on the market?
What do you dislike about current products or services currently on the market?
What concerns/questions would you have about this service?
There you have it. A quick and simple way to decide whether that side hustle or business idea of yours is worth pursuing.
If you feel overwhelmed or confused by what you need to do, book in a free discovery call to see if we vibe!
Career Change & Business Coach and Side Hustle Queen
Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out, hit rock bottom and used the experience to manifest my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women change career, start side hustles and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.
Career Change Coaching