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The new year is a great time to start an online business! Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or student who's interested in earning some extra money or someone who wants to move away from your current job situation, starting an online business can be the opportunity that you need. Of course, to start an online business, you have to have an idea for your business. Check out what you need to do to find the perfect online business idea that works for you! 

To help you identify your online business idea, I've created a planning worksheet. On the worksheet, there's an activity to complete for each section of this post. You can use the form below to grab the worksheet, print it out, complete the activities, and you'll find the perfect idea in no time!

Got your planning worksheet? Great! Let's get started!

Identify the Skills You Already Have

The first step in finding your perfect online business idea is to make sure you know what you know! Start out by making a list of skills you've used in previous situations. Are you great at organization? Focus on that. Do you have a specialized education that would benefit other people? Use that to build your business. Have you learned important job skills that other business owners need? Offer those. 

The first step in finding your perfect online business idea is to make sure you know what you know! Click To Tweet

Finding your online business idea isn't a one-day thing. Spend some time really thinking on the skills you have. Don't limit yourself to just skills you've learned at work. These could be skills that you've developed at home, through volunteering, or in life experiences. All of these have value, so add them to your list.

Need more help identifying your strengths? Check out my quiz on finding your business strengths!

Think About Your Passions and Interests

When you're moving into a new field, it's a good idea to make sure that it's something that interests you and you're passionate about. You don't want to commit yourself to something that you don't like or don't want to spend your time doing. 

Do you have a hobby that you love? Maybe that's your perfect online business. Are you passionate about working with a certain group of people? There might be a business idea there. Do you have a dream field of online business that you want to work in? That could be it!

Examine the Goals You Have for Your Business

When you're finding an online business idea, it's a good idea to spend some time considering what you actually want for your business. Is your goal to bring in an extra $100 a month? Do you simply want something that's yours? Are you hoping to replace a full-time salary? What do you need to do to feel successful in your business? 

If you need a little extra help with your business goals, this post on goal-setting might be exactly what you're looking for! 

Know the Limitations for Your Business

While it would be nice to not have to worry about any challenges or limitations for our businesses, that's not the case. We live in the real world, and there are things that can interfere with our online business ideas. Spend some time identifying personality factors, time limitations, financial constraints, and legalities that might impact your online business. 

For example, I live in Texas and the cottage law states that you cannot mail food items created in a home kitchen. For a while, I was considering creating flavored oils and vinegars, but that law would make it that I could not sell to people outside of the local area. That limitation made me realize that was not my perfect online business idea. 

Note: While you should identify the limitations that might interfere with your business, you should also consider how big of an impact it would actually have. Some limitations can be removed or minimized with some thought. Also, focusing on limitations can be very self-defeating, so don't dwell on these for too long.

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Check Out the Need For Your Business

As you're considering various online business ideas, it's a good idea to research the market. Are there lots of individuals with the same business, so it's over-saturated? That might not be the best choice. Is it an idea that there's no market for? Maybe move on from that.

Note: If it appears that your market isn't out there, spend some time figuring out if that's because there truly is no need for that business or it's an idea that no one has developed yet. Get input from other people to help you decide if you might have an idea for a business where you could be an industry leader. That would be a great business!

A great way to research the market is to talk to people who are already in the market. Discuss things with people that might need your business. Check out industry leaders. Look online. All of these can help you find out if your idea is viable.

Did you forget to grab your planning worksheet? Here's another chance!

 

Learn What You Need to Know For Your Online Business Idea

As you're finding your idea, you probably won't know everything there is to know, and that's ok. Are there courses you can take? Certifications you can earn? Or information that you need to stay up-to-date in your learning? 

Spend some time looking into what learning would benefit you and add the information to the planner. If you need help learning more for your business idea, Skillshare (affiliate link) and Udemy have great courses on many, many, many subjects, and some of them are free. Udemy frequently has sales on their online courses, so keep an eye out for those. And using my Skillshare link will get you two free months of unlimited courses. What a deal! 

Find Industry Leaders

In many online areas, there are people doing amazing things. For the potential businesses you've identified, choose a few industry leaders to follow. Sign up for their emails, research their backgrounds, check out the paths they've taken. All of these things can be helpful in starting your own business. 

You can not and should not follow the exact path they took, but it can be helpful to hear from them and see things that impacted them on the way. Many online business owners are quite accessible, so reach out to them and ask for tips. If nothing else, it's a great way to network!

Putting It All Together to Find Your Online Business Idea

As you have worked through your planning worksheet, you might have already found your online business. That's great! You're ready to get to work!

If you're not sure yet, look back through your answers in the planning worksheet. Rank the ones that are the most important to you and think about what jobs would fit with those.  

Here are a few resources to help you figure out what businesses are out there:

Use these posts to help you find your perfect online business!

That's it for today. I would love to hear what online business idea is right for you! Head over to the May Virtual Assists' Facebook page and share your idea. I'm cheering for you every step of the way!

Until next time,

owner name with logo, website, and tagline for May Virtual Assists

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