Overcoming Obstacles: Having No Ideas

by Scott Sery on July 29, 2013

Overcoming ObstaclesOver the next several weeks I want to talk to you more about how to make money on the side.  I run into countless people that complain that they just do not have enough money to meet their desires, yet they watch hours of TV per night (or engage in some other time draining activity).  When I try to coach them on cutting expenses and earning more, I get the same excuses each time.  Here are some of the more common hurdles to overcome, and how to work around them.

No Idea

The biggest problem I run into is people claiming that they have no idea.  They do not have a good business idea and therefore they shut down and do not even try.  These people try to claim that they are not good at anything, and when I point out hobbies that they have, they claim nobody will pay them to do it.  There are millions of ideas out there.  And every one of them can be profitable if you just market it properly.  Unfortunately, too many people think they need to have some unique idea or else it will never work.  But how many mechanics do you know?  How many carpenters?  You do not need to be the only one; you just need to specify your niche.  So how do you pick the idea that is right for you?

Self Reflection

The first part of choosing what to do for your side hustle is to know yourself.  Before you go any further, get out a pen and paper and make 3 columns.  In the first column think about the things you like to do.  Everyone has hobbies and interests, so list them all out.  Do you like to read?  Write?  Garden?  Build furniture?  The possibilities are endless, and everyone spends their free time doing something.

In the next column over develop a list of the things you are good at, even if they are not your favorite activities.  For instance, is your house spotlessly clean?  Is your kitchen impeccably organized?  Maybe you make your own clothes?  Do you have a knack for fashion, music, or art?  Alongside your hobbies and interests list, make a list of everything you are skilled at.

Now your third list is a list of all the things you do not like doing.  This is the list of things that you are willing to pay to have someone else do.  Do you hate washing your car?  Mowing your lawn?  Cleaning?  Fixing your computer?

Now take a look at your lists.  Your likes and don’t minds should far outweigh your dislikes.  But those dislikes are opportunities that someone else has seen, and jumped on.  They know you don’t like it (and there are millions of other people just like you), and they have made money doing the job you won’t.

Picking an idea

You should now have a plethora of ideas.  Take the ones that interest you the most, and start to work out a business plan.  It doesn’t have to be huge, and it doesn’t have to be intricate.  Just weigh the pros and cons, and take a look at those who have made money doing it before you.  Basically you need to look into this idea, and see if it is viable (which is something we will talk about more in the next few weeks).

Many people say they don’t have an idea of how to make money on the side.  To that I call BS.  Everyone has hobbies and everyone has skills.  Sitting down and making a list of them all is the best way to get a visual of what you can do.  After looking at that list you should start to realize that someone out there does not like doing, or cannot do, the things you have on your list.  You can capitalize on their lack of desire.

What are your obstacles?  What do you find holds you back?

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • Common Cents Wealth

    Nice article. I agree with you that many people waste a ton of time watching TV, but then complain that they have no money. Something that really helped me was writing down every idea that comes to me. 99% of them get thrown away, but the few that stick may end up making some money some day. If you don’t write them down, they will most likely be forgotten.

  • I think most people don’t want to put in the time and effort to set up a side hustle, let alone stick with it and do the work night in and night out (plus weekends!).

  • CanadianBudgetBinder

    I like the self reflection part. When I started my blog It was never meant to make money but what I did do was sit down and have a brainstorming session about what I wanted to do, what I wanted out of it and some goals. It really does help put things into perspective.

  • Tonya Rapley

    Thank you for this post. I am in this boat. I’m trying to figure out a side hustle but its really difficult considering I work a demanding full time job and I’m currently in graduate school. I’ve recently started selling excess clothes on Poshmark and made my first sale yesterday! WooHoo! But Im going to sit down and do this list tonight. This is extremely helpful! I hope you don’t mind if I post this on my blog as well some time in the next two weeks (all credit will be given to you of course).

  • My obstacles are feeling like I deserve to take a break (and needing one at times) but also the desire to side hustle more, work harder, etc. It’s a hard balance. Also, sometimes I’m scared of diving into new things, but this year I’ve made it a point to get out of my comfort zone.

  • This post is fantastic! I’d never really thought about the fact that people have “no idea.” But, you’re totally right! I think that people aren’t used to being self-reflective and shutting off the electronics and other white noise in order to give themselves time to think creatively.

  • Scott Sery

    Great comments. I like Common Cents Wealth’s idea about writing everything down, I have to keep a running list of topics to write about or I get stumped every single week. Another point is that your side hustle does not have to be regular work. Try to think of ideas that can be one-time gigs (for those weekends you have nothing else going on). As for DC’s comment, I agree, too many people are lazy. Check out Ramit’s latest post http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/uh-its-supposed-to-be-hard/ If you want to be a top performer, you have to put in the effort.

  • Pingback: Having difficulty figuring out a side hustle? | My Fab Fico()

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