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Launching a part-time business to full-time in 5 years

lauralizlauraliz subscriber Posts: 1
edited May 2008 in Selecting a Business
I am new to startup nation after downloading the podcasts from Itunes.  I have heard so much about the forums and have been busy reading, but think it`s time to post some ideas and get some feedback. 
I currently have a full-time job that I need to keep, but want to start exploring my entrepreneurial interests.  The impetus for this is largely a result of my life plan: 1) I want to run a business that allows greater flexibility for me and my family; 2) I want my earning potential to be dictated by me, not the corporate world; 3) I want my husband and I to eventually be able to support ourselves entirely off of our business; and 4) I want to feel like I`m contributing to something that I feel matters/is important and I can see direct results.
Some current ideas that I have been toying with:
1) Facilitation / project management / strategic planning.  I have been trained (although not certified) in facilitating groups including executive level management.  Over a two year period, I have worked in my job to launch strategic planning efforts with our executive leadership regional level and was tapped for my analytical skills to participate and make recommendations towards organizational restructuring at a national level.  Given the current economy (and even in a healthier economy), I believe that there is a need for this kind of work to improve efficiences, clarify vision and mission work, and in some instances guide teams to work together by helping them to understand "group think" as opposed to individual roles.  I also think that there is a huge lack of understanding of meeting management, particularly in defining the scope, purpose and implementation of a meeting.  To start, I think I would want to work individually as a consultant and then parlay that into managing a group of consultants who accomplish the work.  I am wondering though if there is already too much competition in the field?  Do I need to narrow my scope and perhaps define a smaller niche of individuals / companies to work with?  Also, in terms of competition, although  there is a lot out there...a lot of them stink at their jobs.  I have seen millions of dollars in my organization poured down black holes that produce few results.  It really is astonishing.
2) Sustainable tourism.  Here is where I am a little more fuzzy.  I have worked on multiple ends of this spectrum - but mostly as a non-profit practitioner.  I have done academic research in this industry, I have trained and guided communities in Latin America and Asia-Pacific to establish ecotourism opportunities to diversify their incomes, and I have helped to market those opportunities (http://www.ecomaya.com).  I am also an avid traveler and, if anything, I would say that this is my passion.  It`s funny because I have been working so long in the environmental arena and waiting for the flurry and wave of "green" to sweep the US.  The time seems ripe for helping people to connect to more mainstream ways of accessing these opportunities.  But, I have thought about it for so long from the non-profit vantage point that I`m not sure how to shift my mindset to for-profit, for-me.  I also see potential issues in doing this part-time as travel may be necessary... I don`t want to be a travel agent, per se.  And I definitely don`t want to be a tour guide.  What do you think the for-profit opportunities are in providing people access to this kind of information?  Could I develop an informational website?  Could I target luxury brands and help them green their industries?  Do you think there is an opportunity for a membership-based service that...?  This is where I start to fall apart. 
3) I have seen several other people with this idea on the forum, but I`ll throw it out there anyway: coaching.  Again, no certification.  But my ideas are targeted at a few potential markets:  1) college-aged or post-college students wanting to improve their academic opportunities or potential for professional endevours.  Although I have no coaching certification, I was fortunate enough as an undergrad and Masters student to receive multiple national awards and grants (to the point where I made more money as an undergrad than I did in my first two years out of school).  Also, in my early professional career I felt severely underprepared for entering a job market where all of my "peers" or "colleagues" were my parents` age.  There was, and continues to be, a huge age gap that I have had to work significantly to overcome and prove myself.  It would have been very helpful to have someone coaching me throughout that time - someone to act as a mentor who was not inside my organization but could help me to redefine my position and goals in the professional world.  Could I market this to companies as essential to their benefits package?  2) financial coaching of newlyweds.  (are you noticing what stage of life I`m in?)  In my current position i am financial and management analyst...and that has greatly influenced how i have approached personal finances with my new husband.  In talking with others in similar situations, I have realized how poorly prepared many people are for jointly managing finances and goal-setting.  This is sort of taking my experience in strategic planning and joining it with my experience in managing financial systems (both corporate and personal) and offering a service.  Again, I feel like there is a market but maybe too much competition?
I guess I`ll leave it at that.  I am quick to talk myself out of things because I feel like it`s already being done.  I also just don`t have a clue how to start marketing myself because I don`t have the "credentials" behind my name.  But I feel like I do have the experience and the skills...primarily I am strongest at teaching, relationship development, analysis, and strategic problem solving.
What do you think?
lauraliz5/1/2008 11:32 AM


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    RichRich administrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
    i`m all about the one you`re most passionate about. if you can maintain a day job and start to fertilize your full-on passion into a part-time gig at first, then you can finesse it and grow it to be more of a full-time occupation down the road.
    with the eco-tourism service, i`d start it as a blog. begin amassing a following of subscribers and helpful information and content. this is an extremely hot area in the marketplace.
    after a month or so of quality blogging, i`d start reaching out to appropriate journalists/press with recommendations for story angles. i assume you`ve perused our 7 Steps for Successful PR?
    do everything you can to position yourself as a thought-leader in your space. from there obvious revenue models will emerge, such as advertising on your website, sponsorship by major brands, selling of services, commissioning/rev sharing on related services and referalls.
    most importantly, pursue what you`re passionate about - staying on that course will bring out the best in you (whether times are good/easy or bad/hard).
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    proactive1proactive1 subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi and welcome,
    I`m in agreement with Rich and like the blog idea centered around ecotourism.
    Here are some ideas off the top of my head:
    Create the ecotourism blog -- I`ve been recommending (and just started using) Wordpress and host the blog on your own domain.
    Create an ecotourism eBook -- Some great ideas can be found on Skelliewag.org
    How about calling it simply "The Green Book of Ecotourism."
    Good luck to you.
    proactive15/1/2008 5:25 PM
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    lauralizlauraliz subscriber Posts: 1
    I very much appreciate your responses and ideas.  I do like to write and awhile back considered the blogging route to just focus myself on things that I enjoy.  But, in terms of blogging to launch a career, I`m not sure that there isn`t a better business model for me to create success for myself.  "Professional blogging", "blog carnivals", "SEO", constantly writing, internet marketing...it seems to be a 24/7 gig that a few people have been successful at and many are trying to break into.  Am I wrong? 
    I really like the idea of an eBook and believe that I could be successful at creating a series of informational products on any one of the topics I listed above.  Marketing those?  I`ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. 
    If you have more suggestions about concrete products and business models that may include but are not limited to blogging and/or the internet that would be fantastic. 
    Thanks for the input!  I very much appreciate it.
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    proactive1proactive1 subscriber Posts: 1
    Should you decide to pursue the eBook idea, you may want to review a couple more resources that I subscribe to and or, have read their material. These may serve also to dispell some myths about Internet Marketing (at least from this perspective) which I find refreshing... 

    Copyblogger -- How to Create eBooks That Sell
    Teaching Sells -- Free Report

    These publications are from Brian Clark, Internet marketing strategist and content developer.
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    besthealthbesthealth subscriber Posts: 4
    Looks like you have done quite a bit of planning. What`s great here is the suggestions and feedback you have already received.
    Wishing you great success!
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    lauralizlauraliz subscriber Posts: 1
    OK, so I`ve been thinking about the responses a lot and also looking at the "Teaching Sells" website.  Have people here, on this forum had success in this kind of thing?  Forgive me for my ignorance, although I love the idea of creating a product, marketing it online and it generating a profit for me - it also seems to be a bit of smoke and mirrors.  In my reading on Problogger.com and The Blog Studio, those people that have had success with blogging or ebooks seem to spend a lot of time on the technical side of marketing their blog.  As I said in my previous posts, I really am more interested in the interactions with others, the teaching, the sharing of knowledge.  Would someone be willing to share their real-life experience of blogging as a gateway to developing themselves as an expert?
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