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Business Brainstorming Tips for the "Non-Business Person"

I don't know how or why it was ingrained in me at a very young age, that a person was either a "business person" or "not a business person."

I'm sure you've heard of stories of kids showing entrepreneurial spirit early on: making profit from selling lemonade, or cookies, or selling paper to their classmates who forgot to bring a pad of paper to school (I had one classmate who did this to me... um, she's got a desk job now).

Whenever I heard that, I was always like, "I can never do that."

When I graduated university, some of my peers went into sales and did very well in it, and I would always say, "Gosh, I can never do that. I suck at sales."

Fast forward to now, and I'm making a living from selling my services.

It was literally just the other day, as I was writing a sales e-mail, that I realized, What the heck -- I'm a "business person" now!

And then I realized, I actually have been a business person for a while now. Here are the things I started earning from, from way back in university:

  • Working as a private tutor for college algebra and advanced calculus when I was still a university student (Advanced calculus: You better believe it)
  • Teaching hiphop/street dance classes (Yep. Did that for about a year or two)
  • Blogging: Through doing sponsored posts, pitching companies for collaborations, and appearing in commercials/advertisements
  • Teaching workshops on my own -- workshops on blogging, goal-setting, public speaking, design thinking, digital marketing
  • Getting hired by companies to teach workshops or give talks
  • Selling paper products (we created a planner and a notebook)

(...I did ALL of those things on the list while having a day job, by the way.)

I never thought of those as "real businesses" to be honest, back then, they were just short-term projects that I did by myself or with friends, and we would do it for fun.
It literally would just start with me saying -- "Hey wanna try ______? Let's just try it!" I didn't really care much about whether we would earn from it or not.

I know it's not an MBA, but I think I learned how to do business by DOING it. I would find something I'm really interested* in, and then I would try making it doable, and then maybe profitable.

Important Note: I used the phrase 'something I'm really interested in,' not 'something I'm very passionate about.'

Passion is good. But in order to get to passion, it has to start with interest. So many people get intimidated with the whole "finding your Passion" thing, that they get stuck and don't try at all.

Follow your interests and DO something with it, don't just THINK about it.

DOING something with your interests, experimenting with them, until you get to know and get familiar with what it means to feel passionate -- that's how you get closer to finding your passion. Not through watching from the sidelines/your phone screen.

I know this is easier said than done, so, I came up with some business brainstorming tips for the “non-business person", or the beginner/aspiring business person -- who wants to create profit from the things s/he is really interested in, or really good at.

The worksheet above is just an exercise in opportunity-spotting: training your mind and creativity to use what's immediately around you, and turn them into opportunities to be helpful to others, in a way that they'd actually pay you to help them.

Maybe you'll go through many different ideas and experiments as I did, and the hope is, each one of them starts to tell you what you really want to do (and don't want to do), starts to shape your passion, until you find that combination of creative skills & interests, purpose, and profit.

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