I asked business owners, “What are your best tips for people to create and seize more business opportunities?”. Here are their insights, and thanks to all who contributed.
1. Purchase An Existing Business
Nick Haschka, Partner Cub Investments. Nick is an experienced innovation leader, growth strategist, and entrepreneur with sustainable business, main street investing, and finance expertise.
I purchased a successful 40+-year-old small business from a retiring owner using a small business loan. It’s created a delightful job, and I grow equity in the business as it grows and as the loan gets paid back. There are so many great small businesses out there that need new owners because someone wants to retire. If you know enough about business, you can find one, buy it, and build your career around your life vs. building your life around your career.
2. Be A Scrappy Entrepreneur
Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens & Moguls based in Cambridge, MA. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School.
I started a global branding and marketing firm 18 years ago. I am a scrappy entrepreneur who tries to find creative ways to multi-task that incorporates work and exercise. When I worked at large companies, they had gyms at the office or groups who walked at lunch, but you have to get creative to find balance when you are an entrepreneur. Instead of meeting up with your local colleagues at a coffee shop, over a meal, or chatting with them on the phone, meet them for a walk so you can catch up while you are getting some exercise too. You’ll feel great after the time will fly & it will be a fun activity to share.
It works with customers too; I have clients who play golf, so sometimes we meet at a driving range instead of the office to discuss things, especially when you are trying to think outside the box. A change in venue is always nice, and you feel so much better when you are moving and not trapped behind your desk.
The other tips I like to incorporate are taking public transportation when possible, parking at the far end of the lot, and walking as well as taking the stairs instead of the elevator; it adds up to a lot of extra steps and movement if you do it every day. I think that respecting my time on the calendar and taking myself as seriously as I take my most important clients is the least I can do because if I am not at my
peak performance, I am not going to be useful to anyone else either.
Give yourself permission to say no, whether it means sleeping in (no to an alarm clock), getting a massage, taking a walk, or just turning off my phone and computer (no, I will respond later on my own schedule). I know that my day has been successful when I not only help my clients but also includes simple acts of letting myself relax and enjoy the moment. Those are the very best gifts I can give myself that help me stay balanced and productive.
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3. Creating Opportunity from Gig Work
Lydia Noyes. Health, Wellness, and Lifestyle Journalist HighYa.com
I started freelance writing on the side in early 2016 when I noticed that my personal blog was starting to gain traction, and people were approaching me with writing requests. After a few false starts on “content mill” sites like Iwriter and Textbroker, I made a profile on Upwork and landed my first job ($15 for a 1,500-word article a few days later). This pay rate was abysmal, but I earned a five-star review for the effort and soon landed other jobs that were significantly more profitable.
I eventually branched out to landing semi-permanent writing jobs on job boards from sites like Problogger, and after four months of freelancing, I decided to quit my day job and freelance full-time. In my first full year of freelancing, I earned $50k pretax ($3,500-6,000 per month) and hit $65k in my second year. After freelancing for three years, I accepted a full-time remote position with HighYa.com as a health and wellness reporter.
Freelance writing was far from what I planned to do as an adult, as I earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. Still, I am forever grateful for the opportunities that remote work opened up for me. As an example, my husband and I purchased a 33-acre farm property with my freelance writing earnings, which we are slowly turning into a dream hobby farm. This means we live in a remote place where it would be difficult for me to find traditional employment, so freelancing is what makes our lifestyle financially sustainable.
4. Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Shelley Mechette is a Certified Life Purpose Coach dedicated to empowering women through personal and professional development. ShellyMechette.com
Host Your Own Events
It’s no secret that we all want to be successful in life. Sometimes, opportunities just do not come the way we think that they should. What do you do when you are over-looked for the promotion or have reached a glass ceiling but know that you are meant for more? You step outside of your comfort zone and host/create your own events centered around your experience and expertise.
For example, if you have experience in the restaurant business and enjoy cooking, host a networking event serving your own entrees so that others can taste your creations, putting them in the position to desire to become a future customer.
Suppose you are a teacher, host events that will build relationships between parent and child, using your years of experience as a guide. Creating your own events to showcase your talent and expertise will provide endless opportunities for you and future financial rewards.
5. Write About It
We all have a story. We all have experienced trials, disappointments, discouragement, and many other things. A great way to create your own opportunity is to write about what you have learned in life through its hardships and your triumphs. We ALL need encouragement and know that someone else who has been where we are…made it out on the other side successfully.
When you write a book, you open up endless doors to success. You open yourself to becoming the expert on what you have written about, speaking opportunities, workshop facilitating, and more! There is always someone in need. Someone is always waiting for the tools needed to assist them in winning. Your story just may be the very opportunity to provide what you BOTH are looking for.
6. Get on the Phone & Offer Services
We are living in a huge technology world. We communicate through email, text, and social media. Sometimes, however, it’s good to go back to the primary way of communication…PHONE CALLS.
You can create amazing opportunities for yourself by getting on the phone, contacting companies’ decision-makers, and offering your services to them for free. If you understand various software programs, offer to install/upgrade theirs for free, then ask them to give you three business referrals so that you can do the same for them.
This will establish your business/expertise, build your contacts, and eventually position you to reap financially. By offering your services, you will create a financial legacy for your family and become the CEO of your life and time!
7. Work Remotely – Make Time For Side Hustles
Not everyone has the opportunity to utilize flexible working or remote working. Many people are forced to commute to an office every day. If you already work from home, you certainly have a lot more flexibility to plan your day and work. If you have some quiet time during the working day, you can work on yourself, your future career, or plant the seeds of a new business (see Start a Sidehustle below).
If you want to influence your management or HR team to introduce flexible working, then take a look at our article “Benefits of Remote Working for Employers.”
8. Start a Side Hustle
Side Hustles are the next big thing that already happened. A side hustle is a small business or side job that you start working in your current job. If you have the flexibility and manage to free up time in your day, you can start a side business to bring you additional income. If it runs successfully, your side hustle may grow into a fully-fledged business that can sustain you financially and perhaps even set you financially free.
Listen to my favorite podcast on side hustling called The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper; every episode will unlock new ideas and potential opportunities in your mind. Here are some examples of the business ideas featured on this show.
- Piano Lessons
- Growing microgreens
- Strength training
- Baking sourdough bread
- Hiring virtual assistants
- Picking up trash
- Starting after school programs
9. Solve A Problem That You Face
Esha Herbert-Davis is an event planner with over 20 years of experience; I plan unique and life-changing Caribbean experiences for women who don’t have the time or energy to plan their own amazing vacations.
My husband and I recognized the opportunity when we talked about our first time going to Trinidad Carnival. We realized that we both experienced frustration when trying to coordinate our trips there. Online resources and information about what events to go to, how to get tickets, and where to stay were minimal.
Then we thought, there are probably other people out there who feel the same frustration. Are there group packages that do all of the coordination for people who want to experience this amazing festival? After being unable to find any all-inclusive options, Ultimate Trinidad Carnival was born. We were the first all-inclusive Trinidad Carnival offering in the market back in 2011. Seizing this opportunity means we get to work in a business and share a culture that we live and work with wonderful clients worldwide!
10. Turn a Trend Into A Business or Start a Trend
Lacey Mayer, Van life Influencer & Founder SDCampervans.com
I was miserable working for what I thought was my dream job. I put in years of schooling only to find myself enslaved to a system. This system is failing our society, but I found a community that offered a different outlook on life. We moved into a van, got remote jobs, and started traveling. We go to the beach, go biking, and do other things we love intermittent with working remotely every single day. We will never lock ourselves into four walls and work ourselves to the core, only to earn a small paycheck for our services ever again. The NEW RICH means you have TIME to spend on yourself, your family, your friends, your community, and your passions, not money to spend on items you think make you happy. We ARE happy.
With our companies, we make owning a home and doing what you love to do at the same time accessible to the public. We do this by building dream homes, just on wheels! People are asking themselves more and more each day, “What is this 9:00-5:00 really doing for me if I’m miserable?” This way, though, is the new way to live, work, and travel AT THE SAME TIME.
SD Campervans builds out tiny homes complete with our feminine touches (we are a majority women-owned and operated company) such as backsplashes, builder oak countertops, recessed lighting, and shiplap ceilings. These homes are on wheels and ready to go wherever your next adventure takes you.
11. Find A Business Partner In An Existing Business
Another way to create a business opportunity is to buy your way into an existing business as a co-founder or partner. This has the advantage of you hitting the ground running in an existing business with someone who already has experience. Of course, you would need to be compatible with the person and have skills that are complementary to theirs. You could start your search at Startups.com
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12. Do What No-one Else Is Doing
Rishit Shah is CEO and Editor at TallySchool.
While doing my CA course, I learned an accounting software called Tally. At that time, I had some problems while working in Tally. So, I looked up the internet to solve my problem. To my surprise, there were very few websites which were offering good
solutions to the problem I had.
And, therefore, I saw an opportunity there. I created my own website called TallySchool, where I started teaching Tally.
In around six months, it took off and was really well received by the people. Today, it is one of the top websites where people come to learn Tally.
13. Turn Your Passion Into Your Work
Sahara Rose De Vore empowers travelers to take control and design their dream lifestyle to have the transformative and impactful travel experiences they crave. The Travel Coach Network
When I graduated from university in 2010, I had no clue what my ideal career path was despite having a bachelor’s degree in tourism. I knew about the job options that exist, and I knew about the growing digital nomad jobs, but none of that really resonated with me. I’ve never been someone who followed the norm either.
I didn’t want to go the typical route in life from college, climb the corporate ladder, get married, buy a house, and have a family. Do I want some of those? Absolutely but, I want them on my own terms. The summer after graduating from college, I packed my bag for the first time, and off I went to travel the world. I was able to save enough money after making slight adjustments in how I budgeted and managed my money. I was hoping that travel would help me learn who I was, what I wanted out of life, and what my purpose is.
I knew I wanted more out of life, and I wanted a career that aligned my passions and purpose with how I earned a living. I wanted to create my own lifestyle, where I didn’t feel restricted or limited on time or money. I have always displayed this idea by working various odd jobs that I enjoyed doing, which taught me new skills, and that was flexible with good pay, which I how I afforded to travel the world. Since 2010, I have traveled to over 80 countries by the age of 30 on my own.
Since I knew the qualities that I wanted in a career and knew how easy it was to have the career you dream of because the internet and technology enable it, I was determined to find what I was meant to do. I allowed time and travel experiences to inspire my career choice as a travel coach and start my own online business. I have always created opportunities for myself by trying new things, learning about anything and everything I could, meeting and talking with new people, and challenging myself to learn what I was good at, what I enjoyed doing, and what my weaknesses were.
I took the leap and invested in myself through traveling and mentors who I admired in the coaching and business industries. I had to learn how to ask for help, and when I finally did, it changed the entire trajectory of my career path. I began studying as much as I could about the travel industry, about being a coach, about the voids and problems that existed in the tourism and hospitality industries. I meshed that information with everything that I knew, experienced, and learned while traveling. I used my time traveling as an opportunity to do my own market research and have thousands of conversations with people all over the world about travel trends, why people traveled, travel jobs, and tons more. This is what all lead me to design my dream career that is thriving today.
The benefits that I have received from creating these opportunities for myself include being able to help others design their own dream lifestyle, helping travelers align their passion for travel with their purpose, finding my own life-long purpose as a travel coach, being able to grow my business to its highest potential that suits my vision for it, being financially, time, and spiritually free, and having overall happiness.
Some tips that I would have on creating work and life opportunities are:
- Use your resources. Learn as much as you can about whatever you want online, in books, and from other people. The world is filled with so much accessible free information; it’s up to you to use it.
- Build authentic connections with people. Learn from anyone and everyone. Everyone has something to teach.
- Ask for help. Find someone who is doing or has done something that you want and ask for help, guidance, or mentorship.
- Invest in yourself. This can be great financially, enriching your life with travel, investing in a coach or mentor, or investing time to learn and start a business.
- Follow your own path. It doesn’t matter what society, friends, or family expect or think. Live your life for yourself and design your ideal lifestyle.
- Try new things. The more things you try (jobs, hobbies, etc.), the more you will learn about what you like, don’t like, and want out of life and career.
- Challenge yourself and make mistakes. Making mistakes is key to accelerating your route to finding your purpose and vision in life or business.