Joseph Kennedy needed to escape the 9-to-5. After only a few days at his new desk job, he realized that he made a huge mistake. Kennedy wasn’t driven by his work. He didn’t find any passion in it. All he found himself doing was watching the clock and wishing for the hours to pass by more quickly.
Have you ever felt this way? Drained by a job where you only lived from paycheck to paycheck? News flash: that’s not really living.
If you find yourself in such a rut, ask yourself what Kennedy did during his moment of decision, “Are you fulfilled?”
A job or career shouldn’t just pay the bills; it should fulfill you. It should give you some sense of purpose and desire to get up in the morning. And if it doesn’t, then maybe it’s time for a change.
The life you want is just around the corner, if you are willing to take a chance and go after it. Kennedy went after his dream. He told his boss, “I was finished. I told him I’d be starting my own business and moving to the beach.” And that’s what he did. His online copywriting agency, Content Pathway, specializes in environmental consulting services, becoming the first of its kind in the U.K. Kennedy’s seen some great success since the day he walked out of his job, and he only continues to see more.
Using Kennedy’s career as a reference, here are 5 steps to take if you also want to create a successful online business that you love.
Find your Motivation
Desire drives action. The more we want something, the more we work to get it. Motivators in our lives take us through the toughest challenges and keep us moving towards a bigger goal.
For Kennedy, “Money was no motivator,” he says. “I missed working for the environment.” In his previous job, Kennedy wrote for a digital environmental company. While with this company, Kennedy found a purpose beyond himself. He saw ways he could help the environment with the skill set he possessed, and met the people who could make it possible.
Your purpose needs to be bigger than money, too. If you only are focused on how much money you make, then each and every job you have will lack the fulfillment you seek. Find a greater motivation, whether that’s to spend more time with your family or to support a cause you firmly believe in. Those kind of motivations go beyond the paycheck and will carry you through hard times.
Find your Niche
New online businesses are created everyday. It becomes more and more difficult to start a business that’s unique from all the others. But it’s that unique selling point that will make your business stand out from the rest.
Find your niche by looking at (1) what it is you love, (2) what it is you’re good at and (3) what opportunities are available within the industry of your choice. Look at Kennedy’s online business: he loved working in the environmental sphere. He also loved writing, which he spent years training to do. With this in mind, Kennedy saw an opening in the environmental field that he could fill: solid copywriting and digital marketing services.
Kennedy says, “If you have a website or product aimed at everyone, it will appeal to nobody. You have to niche, or be particular, and you have to find your space.” Narrow your scope like Kennedy, and you’ll hit more targets. That’s what makes finding your niche so important.
Ask yourself, what’s missing in your area of interest? What would people pay for that they don’t already have? This leads us to our next step…
Validate your Idea
Before setting up shop, you need to know that your product or service is going to sell in the first place. From the network Kennedy previously established, he knew that people were looking for content services in the environmental field. Better yet, he knew the exact people who wanted those services, and already built up a connection with them.
Kennedy knew he had an audience for his online business, one that was willing to pay for what he offered. As his revenue increased, Kennedy saw it as “proof that there is a direct need for my consulting and expertise.” You need to find the same validation before you give up everything for an idea that doesn’t sell.
Create Avenues for Discovery
Once you have the right market and a great marketable item or service, your next step is getting in front of that target audience. This will take quite a bit of work (as the best things in life always do).
What Kennedy suggests for this is having a strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and networking like crazy. With regards to SEO, he says you first need a professional website, but then you need to bring people there. A lot factors go into how your site ranks on search engines. But the ones that consistently rank higher have original content that offer valuable answers to search queries.
SEO has done wonders for Kennedy’s business, but so has networking. Kennedy wouldn’t have gotten Content Pathway off the ground without the connections in his network. His portfolio is filled with projects found through networking.
If you don’t know where to begin networking, go back to those with interest in your services or products. They will lead you to more interested people, who will lead you to more people and so on, filling your own portfolio.
Even after you follow these steps, it may take some time before you start making the income you want. For Kennedy, Content Pathway didn’t gain traction right after he quit his job.
He sold his belongings, lived with friends and family and did small volunteer projects to get by. Kennedy says, “It took me about a year before I managed to match my previous monthly income,” but then, he says, “I overtook it.” You may also spend a year or more working towards a steady income from your online business. That’s okay.
Don’t get discouraged if your path to success takes longer than you would hope. So it is with the best. The best become the best by taking necessary action and refusing to give up.