First things first: Why are you starting a business?
It’s not easy. It takes a lot of work. And hours. And sometimes money. You’ll be giving up nights, weekends and possibly short term financial security. But it’s worth it, as long as you know why you’re doing it. This mini exercise will help, but first, an example:
I started my other site, Bikerumor.com, in 2008 because I didn’t want to get a real job. My beverage company was winding down, and the last thing I wanted to do was add insult (having to sit in an office all day) to injury (the massive debt Sweetie and I incurred selling energy drinks). “Not getting a real job” isn’t a reason in and of itself. I like riding bikes, and I love geeking out over the technology possibly more so. That’s a benefit of this business, but it’s not the real, true reason I started Bikerumor. That it offered opportunities to ride bikes, test new gear and travel was appealing, but at the core of it all was freedom.
For me, freedom is the reason I started my own businesses and have been successfully unemployed (and arguably unemployable) since 2000. The freedom to go where I want, when I want and do what I want is my driving reason for being an entrepreneur.
Bikerumor accomplishes that goal for me. I could have started a bike shop, component line, or something similar. I still would have been my own boss, but I’d have been tied to a retail location or had to deal with inventory. I’d done that (beverages take up a lot of space and are hard to ship), and it didn’t offer the freedom I wanted.
When it comes down to it, I will sacrifice a bigger paycheck, stability, recognition or just about anything else for my freedom.
It might be something else for you.
Maybe it’s fame. Or financial security. Or to express yourself through creation. I don’t know.
Only you can answer for you, but I believe you need to answer this honestly in order to launch a company. Why? Because if you’re doing it right, you’re going to be doing it (or at least thinking about it) 24/7 for the foreseeable future. So it better be gratifying at the deepest, purest level. And your new business needs to be designed to deliver the thing you want most from it.
Once you’ve got this figured out, it’s time to narrow down the ideas to the best one for you.