Hold on! In the last post, you were talking about being a digital nomad – not creating a home-based business! Fear not, there is a lot of cross over between businesses that are suitable for a digital nomad and those that are home-based. In the current economic climate, with ongoing travel restrictions, nomadism isn’t looking like a positive short term option – so how to move forward? I’ve decided to broaden my approach and explore how to create home-based businesses for beginners to generate ideas around what my future income streams could look like.
Now bear with me, as this approach is not as off the wall as it seems, but first, you need to know a bit more about me.
So, who is she really?
Well, glad you asked! I’m a Canadian Brit, currently living in the south of the UK with most of my family in Canada. I did all my school up to and including my university undergrad (pure science, Physics to satisfy your curiosity) on the East Coast of Canada (not the Vancouver side, and not very close to Toronto either).
After a bit more about my motivations? Learn all about me!
I’ve spent more than a decade working my way up from an entry-level role in various UK manufacturing companies to a senior management position. I gained an MBA along the way and discovered that this role that I’d spent all that time aiming at wasn’t really what I wanted after all. I must have known something all along, because, while doing my MBA I actively took the decision to take two courses which were tailor-made to assist with this big decision-making process that you are observing (and participating in – I truly appreciate all of the comments that these blog posts are generating).
The two courses that are going to be invaluable to this process are:
- Sustainable Creative Management
Would some creative techniques be of assistance to you? Have a gander at our Introduction to Creative Techniques.
- Entrepreneurship: Experience and Perspective
Entrepreneurship is complex, I’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Entrepreneurship for Newbies, why not check it out for my take on the tips and tricks of developing your own business.
The skills developed in these courses will be key elements informing both my thinking process and some of the models that I will be sharing with you as I develop my plan for moving forward. Despite having this key education, this will be the first time I’ve done more than dipped my toe into the shark-infested waters of entrepreneurship, but there is nothing like diving in headfirst to quickly develop clarity on the way forward! So onward to why I’ve extended my focus to all home-based businesses for beginners and what I’ve learned to help both you and me.
Back To Why All Home Based Businesses Are In The Frame
In my study of sustainable creative management, a course that I thoroughly enjoyed by the way one of the elements that we spent a fair amount of time looking at was Creative Thinking. People’s brains are interesting things, and they are conditioned by our culture to look for something bad with every new idea. This is the basis of analytic thought but the opposite of creative thinking.
Analytic Thought Versus Creative Thought
A creative approach often involves periods spend musing, mulling and using imagination. Very useful approaches can often emerge from a seemingly innocuous or silly comment because creative problem-solving methods involve divergent thought patterns.
When engaged in analytical thought, the brain is often constrained by previous thinking patterns that are sometimes referred to as mental tramlines. These tramlines have been instilled by habitual thought patterns developed over time so that you automatically assume that any valid thinking must sit in the small area bounded by these tramlines. By initially broadening the approach it is possible to break free from historic thought patterns and come up with new and innovative solutions or approaches. (The Open University, 2013, p.98)
One way of avoiding these mental tramlines is not to narrow your solution search too early, so this is why all home-based businesses are back in the frame. As this is an unprecedented time of rapid change and technological development to support home working this could mean that most business opportunities can be adjusted in some way to fulfill the home-based criteria.
I love this photo, it is the perfect analogy for how I’m feeling – within the tramlines it is sunny and fairly straight forward. There are a few bumps and bends but anyone who tells you that there won’t be in any business is either lying to you or incredibly naive. The interesting and exciting stuff is happening in that dark and foreboding forest, well outside my comfort zone, full of blind turns, roots to trip over and ways to get completely turned around – but also new ways to generate value.
Applying Analytical Thought to Home Based Business Ideas
Now, this is the point where most people are to give you a list compiled of home-based business ideas. If that is what you still want after reading this far – then have a look at some of these that I’ve quickly searched to save you the effort:
A long blog post full of affiliate links all about starting a side business, or businesses alongside your fulltime job:
An excellent resource for finding remote working jobs that don’t involve giving a significant percentage of your income to a remote gig economy matchmaking site (Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Fivrer, etc):
A blog post full of Home Business Ideas to start you thinking:
Applying Creative Thought to Home Based Business Ideas
So, now that the analytical side is out of the way and believe me, as an analyst both by nature (every personality inventory I’ve ever done comes up high on the analytical side) and conditioning from years spent working in analytical roles, I’ve spent hours perusing the well-traveled roads.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
I’ve always loved this poem, so on this adventure, I’m going to flex my creativity and using the creative tools I’ve acquired – look for inspiration on the road less traveled.
Creative Problem Solving
Firstly – what is the problem?
I’ve constrained my thinking already to the problem being creating a business – but really, the problem statement should be much broader than that. The problem that I am trying to solve is how to generate enough resources to sustain the lifestyle that I want. For simplicity, I’m considering resources, in this case, are the base elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The Physiological and Safety elements of food, water, warmth, rest, safety and security.
The current Western way of satisfying these needs is earning money to exchange for necessary goods and services – and at this point, I don’t necessarily think I’m going to be successful by completely changing to a bartering economy. My bank for instance certainly won’t look favorably on mortgage repayments in kind! However, bartering and bricolage are concepts to keep in mind for slightly further down the road – as they will come to the forefront in the startup phase.
Confirmed then – from my perspective my problem is how to create a business to earn sufficient money to satisfy my physiological and safety needs.
For putting it all together, consider my Beginner’s Guide to Transitioning from an Employee to an Entrepreneur.
Problem = How to Create a Business
Now that we’ve defined the problem things get a bit more complex – we’ve already talked about the analytical options for figuring out how to create a business, but as those options are in the public domain and regularly blogged and reblogged with minimal differences, I want an innovative solution!
So, instead of using the widely available lists of businesses to start I’m going to employ creative processes; however in addition to a problem statement, what I really need is a broad place to start my creative processes from. So, as we all know starting a business is hard work, my broad starting location has to be something that I believe in, therefore I have chosen:
With this in mind – here is a list of my current key areas of expertise, which I am considering tools in my arsenal:
- Writing (I hope you’re not going to argue with me there!)
- Computer-based scenario modeling
- Product and Project Costing
- Change Management
- Business Systems Analysis
- Strategy Development
- Commercial Analysis
So here is where it gets a bit boring for you… As I’m doing this live, I now have to go off and apply creative techniques. If you happen to be following along at home (and I hope you are – and I also hope that you are finding this a fun process, I know I am!), here is what happens next:
I go for a walk. Yes Really! Divergent thinking involves the engagement of free association or trying to get the conscious mind to act like the subconscious mind. Having written down my problem statement, my general approach to solving it and my skills I now need to engage my conscious in other activities so that it can mull these three explicit inputs and come up with wild and wacky ideas.
As I come up with ideas over the next little while I will be writing them down without judging them in any way because I want to gain as many ideas, possibilities, options or general related thoughts as I can. Once I have spent some time gathering these, considering them and expanding upon them, only then will I engage in a converging phase to narrow these backdown and look at how feasible these ideas are.
Some Tools to Help
Some ideas of how to start exploring:
- Mind mapping
- Drawing Rich Pictures
- Listing ideas and expand each one into further related ideas
- Asking a group to help
- Word association – think of a word and note down everything that comes into your mind in the next 30 seconds, no matter what, then pick the next word and keep going
- or my personal favorite – go do something else and just note down what your brain comes up with!
I’ve continued with a couple of Visual Problem Solving Examples, using Mind-Maps and Rich Pictures.
As always, I’d love to hear any comments, ideas, or criticisms so please do leave me your comments and I will make sure to get back to you!
BB842 Sustainable Creative Management, Book 1, Creativity, perception, and Development, 2013, published by The Open University, p.98