One of the most basic pieces of business advice is, “find a need and fill it.”
This means that if you want to create wealth through your own business, the first step is to find out what people need.
Now, this may seem to contradict what I said earlier about pursuing your own interests and doing what you enjoy. But it doesn’t.
There’s a balance point, where some aspect of what you enjoy matches up with some need that people have.
For instance, as someone who enjoys photography, the needs I serve are those for preserving memories, promoting businesses, and creating products to sell.
In my writing, I fill a need for understanding and personal success, as well as a need for effective marketing materials.
Someone who enjoys working with numbers can fill a need for bookkeeping, accounting, or marketing projections.
Someone who enjoys children can fill a need for daycare or tutoring.
Someone who enjoys playing video games can fill a need for those with less persistence to learn how to beat the games you play.
But what do you do next once you find a need to fill?
The most obvious thing to do would be to find out what others serving this same need do, and copy them.
However, you’ll be much more successful if you find a way to be different, unique, and if possible, better.
You can find a burger joint anywhere, but how often do you find a restaurant serving Thai food? (Most likely the opposite if you’re in Thailand.) Maybe fewer people are interested in such a restaurant, but those who are will generally pay more for it.
Nowadays, you can find photographers everywhere offering to take simple, basic snapshots for your online profiles, but how many know how to use studio lighting and green screens to create truly dynamic portraits?
In the Law of Attraction field, virtually every author will tell you, “what you focus on expands”, and “believe and receive”, yet how many can give you specific step-by-step guidance on HOW to believe something you’ve never experienced before?
You do want to be better than your competition where you can, but it’s enough to simply be different.
Like the dentist who dresses like a clown to ease the fears of small children. Of course, you could say that this is filling a need for those children otherwise afraid of going to the dentist, and you’d be right.
Right now, the best example I can come up with is in the area of movies and entertainment. Not every movie is an award-winner, yet there are many that tell a story worth watching even if the acting isn’t the greatest.
And this gets into another point. You don’t have to be the best in the world at what you do. As a photographer, I’m not the best in the world at what I do. Neither am I the best photographer in my local area. But I am the best headshot photographer in my local area.
All you need to be is the best at one aspect of what you do, as long as that aspect is the reason your clients are spending money.
Or at least be different in a way that some people are likely to appreciate. You wouldn’t want to be the school photographer who carries an assault rifle.
And finally, I’d like to answer a question I run across often. “What if I’m not the best at anything?”
The first, and most important, answer I can give you is to start with what you have — skills and resources — and just do the best you can. You may not make as much money doing it as someone who can claim to be the best at something, but as long as you let people know what you do and how you can fill their needs, you’ll get a few folks to hire you.
Just the fact that you are YOU, and have a unique personality, some folks will appreciate that difference enough to pay you for what you do.
The second answer I can give you is to do whatever you can to improve one or more skills in your chosen area of interest so you can become the best at some aspect of it.
In addition to this, if you look hard enough, there’s a good chance that no one is serving a particular need adequately, and if you focus on that one need more than anything else, you can become the best by virtue of being the only person focusing on it.
For instance, many business experts suggest finding a unique niche not currently being served. Something like creative professionals in the West Michigan area needing promotional headshots, which is the niche I first chose to focus on in my photography.
I could also focus on West Michigan life coaches wanting to create informational video products, and there would be absolutely NO ONE else filling this need. Luckily, there are enough folks who fit this definition that the market can easily support a full-time income.
And that’s the key. Make sure that whatever group of people you want to serve are both able and willing to pay a reasonable fee for the work you do and/or the products you create.
For instance, serving homeless folks is fine, but they won’t be the ones paying you for your work. You’ll be serving businesses and philanthropists who need someone to serve the homeless for them. They will be your true customers.