How can you have a happy hustle?

Have you ever listened to stories about startups and hoped you could do the same? Many people want to quit their jobs and establish their own businesses, but they fear they’ll be able to come up with a strong business plan, let alone execute it.

Successful company stories frequently portray their founders as geniuses who are struck by divine inspiration. In reality, anyone who is willing to put in the effort and refine qualities like creative thinking, empathy, and resilience in the face of failure may come up with a fantastic idea.

Author Bec Evans offers a step-by-step approach to starting your own side hustle or company in her book How to Have a Happy Hustle, which covers everything from how to come up with a solid idea to how to pitch potential investors.

Problems are usually things we wish to get away from. Who wants to sit and ponder all the problems with life and the world? Nobody. However, if you want to come up with the next big company idea, you’ll have to deal with problems. They’re actually the finest place to discover inspiration, believe it or not.

Finding amazing ideas requires you to become a problem solver, assessing difficulties as you go about your day, including those that arise at home, on your commute to work, or when you’re online. One British businesswoman, for example, was getting ready one morning when she ripped her favorite pair of trousers. She was ashamed; replacing them would require hours of time-consuming shopping. She couldn’t shop online since the various sizing models used by shops made it impossible to determine what would fit her. In search of a solution to her difficulty, which is shared by millions of women, she launched an innovative website dedicated to assisting women in finding garments that fit them properly.

However, you don’t have to look to the present for inspiration; you may instead go to the past. Anurag Acharya got the idea for Google Scholar from there. He invented a search engine that particularly looks for academic publications, benefiting scholars all around the world, after remembering how difficult it was to access scholarly articles when he was a student in India.

Of course, not every problem is the same. You can make a list of annoyances, ranging from toast that burns to Excel spreadsheets that are difficult to manage. But how do you know which one to concentrate on? Choosing the ideal problem, on the other hand, is both systematic and intuitive. Taking a step back and evaluating each problem against objective criteria, such as whether you have the appropriate knowledge to address it, whether there is a large market for the answer, and so on, can assist. But, in the end, you should trust your instincts. Go for it if the problem fascinates you.

Once you’ve decided on a problem, compose a problem statement that summarizes the issue and who it affects in as much detail as feasible. The more information you provide, the more hints you’ll have on how to solve it, providing you with a useful road map for the task ahead. You might have come up with a fantastic challenge that you’re eager to tackle. Fantastic! However, in order to properly build it, you must first determine how the problem affects other people.

A persona, or a model of your invention’s target user, is a good place to start, especially if your target market is vastly different from yourself. Evans once paid a visit to a group of software programmers working on a game for middle-aged women with children. The young male coders created a persona named Barbara to ensure that they were developing with the user in mind. They next tried to imagine themselves in Barbara’s shoes, thinking what her life would be like and what she would desire. It was successful. Instead of their original plans to include gunshots and explosives in the game, they concluded that Barbara would rather fireworks and champagne corks popping.

Of course, because a character is founded on assumptions, it can be influenced by your innate prejudices. Smart old-fashioned research is a good method to avoid this. Many successful businesses adopt this strategy; for example, Amazon encourages its staff to go out and interact with users of its services, keeping them connected to the real world. If you’re unclear how to conduct an interview, keep in mind that open-ended questions are one of the most effective tools at your disposal. These provide a safe environment for people to discuss the issues that are most important to them.

Keep in mind that what people think they do and what they actually do are frequently incompatible. Modern Human’s Paul-Jervis Heath conducted a study in which he surveyed respondents about their spending habits. He received mature responses, but when he asked the same people to keep a daily cost diary, he discovered that their real conduct differed dramatically from what they’d described. They weren’t, however, lying. They were simply deceiving themselves into believing that the behavior they aspired to was indeed their behavior.

Start monitoring people’s behavior in the real world to obtain a better understanding of your target customer. Start by undertaking fieldwork and studying people in a public location, then go on to more focused observations. Inquire if you can see how people that fit your persona go about their daily lives at home or at work. Make sure you take thorough notes and write down your findings as quickly as possible. This study will be crucial in genuinely understanding your target audience and developing a product that they truly require, rather than one that you think they might require.

We have a tendency to believe that there is a single, perfect solution out there ready to be discovered for any given problem. The problem is that this way of thinking stifles innovation, making problem-solving considerably more difficult!

The truth is that practically every problem has multiple alternative answers, and in order to find the best of them, we must be creative and produce as many ideas as possible. Comparing these options sharpens our thinking and reduces our proclivity to stick to one of them. Divergent thinking is the process of allowing our ideas to wander freely and explore unique answers that may not be obvious at first.

IDEO, a multinational design organization, was able to come up with innovations like the first computer mouse thanks to divergent thinking. IDEO spends time looking at all sides of a problem and all possible solutions, and it employs unconventional approaches to find inspiration, such as conducting long field excursions. The usefulness of these travels may not be clear to outsiders. The people at IDEO, on the other hand, understand that the “waste” of 80 percent of their time is precisely what allows them to produce truly unique ideas in the remaining 20%.

Our capacity for diverse thinking can be strengthened like a muscle. But how do you do it? Well, one of the best techniques is group brainstorming, which helps you produce various ideas while also preventing your inner critic from taking over when done in a supportive environment.

Google Ventures, a Google investment fund, conducts an activity called Crazy Eights to assist entrepreneurs come up with innovative ideas. To begin, each person folds an empty piece of paper into eight panels. After that, they have five minutes to draw eight possible solutions to a problem, one for each panel. This provides a useful visual aspect, and the time limits assist participants overcome any worries they may have about their drawing abilities.

Working with diverse teams, on the other hand, is one of the finest methods to stimulate varied thinking. Begin by asking a group of individuals to solve a problem. Have them brainstorm as many answers as they can on Post-it notes, then discuss them, grouping similar ideas together and using that to come up with new and unusual ideas. This will elicit vigorous argument, which is exactly what the exercise is intended to achieve. Working together in a constructive, generative manner will result in a plethora of high-quality, contradictory ideas; all you have to do now is choose the best!

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of innovation, and you might find yourself becoming rather devoted to the concepts you develop along the road. But, in the end, you’ll have to pick just one. That can be difficult, because it means you’ll have to switch modes. Instead of a creative eye, begin examining each concept with a critical one. Make a list of the criteria you’ll use to evaluate your options to gain some perspective. Make them as objective as possible, with the goal of determining whether or not your business idea will succeed.

If you want to bring craft coffee to office employees, for example, important criteria might include whether or not you can keep the coffee hot in a reasonable amount of time. You may also think about the competition: could a larger company like Uber Eats swoop in on that market? This is an exercise in killing your darlings coldly until you’re left with an intriguing and workable concept.

It’s time to put your answer into action now that you’ve got it. There could be a variety of reasons why you’re putting off fleshing out your concept. You might believe you don’t have enough time or money to begin, or that you don’t know enough. But those are merely justifications. To get started, all you actually need is a willingness to start someplace.

The first step is to name your creation; think till you come up with a catchy and memorable name. Don’t worry, you can change the name later, but giving your project a working title gives it more credibility. Then you must develop a concept statement that includes the invention’s name, the problem it solves, the solution it provides, and, most significantly, the benefit it will provide to its consumers.

Practice compressing your message to the length of a tweet once you’ve sketched out your rough answers to these concerns. This will assist you in developing a clear and succinct “elevator pitch” for your proposal. Try sketching the product’s specific features if you’re having problems explaining them.

You can now develop a prototype once you’ve nailed down the essence of your solution. This doesn’t have to be elaborate; it may be as basic as a sketch, a paper-and-glue scale model, or a Facebook page describing your concept. The goal is to take the initial step toward realizing your concept, which will help you test it and allow others to comprehend what you’re trying to do.

Check out my related post: What does every angel investor wants you to know?

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