It’s probably the hardest part of the entrepreneurial journey, figuring out whether your idea will work. In this article, I will share with you my experience of getting clear on my business idea without spending any money (well apart from £8 on this book).

"Build it, and they will come!"
Kevin Costner
Field of Dreams

Introduction

That is what a Hollywood’s Field of Dreams, a movie about building a baseball field for ghost, taught me 30 years ago! But as it turns out, this is a rather expensive way to figure out if your idea is part of the 20% of business that succeeds in their first year or the 80% that don’t?

Why this is important

That was the mistake I repeatedly made over many years. Once I had a fledgeling idea in my head I rushed into having a logo designed, business cards printed and a website built and then waited for the customers to turn up, and most times they did not turn up at all or where such a trickle, I gave up on the idea.

What is this blog about?

So when I had my latest idea of setting up a community for people like myself, i.e. middle-aged entrepreneurs, I set about doing things differently this time. I searched on Amazon and found the book Will it Fly? by Pat Flynn from the website SmartPassiveIncome.com

 

How to do it?

What I loved about Will It Fly? was how Pat took me right back to my core values, to who I was and what were my unique gifts or my superpowers, as Pat called them. In an early exercise, Pat got me to email 10 of my friends to ask them “what are my superpowers?” Admittedly only four people replied, but the qualities they pointed out in me, which I had been I had been blind to, for years, was very humbling. Here is an excerpt from one email:

"You are generous, compassionate, enthusiastic, honest and diligent about growth, what I particularly love are your insights, your psychological/emotional understanding and your ability to express very complex issues in a coherent, understandable way."
JC
Friend

So with that insight into my superpowers, I was able to focus in on Pat’s next exercise, discovering my Unfair Advantage. This feedback was quite a revelation, as for years I had berated myself at my numerous failed attempts at finding the right path for myself, but with Pat’s help, I started to see I had developed a unique talent for pivoting away from what was failing me and towards what was exciting me.

Here is my list of the 22 pivots I have made in the last 38 years.

  1. 1981 – Video games developer, published in magazines
  2. 1984 – First job as a computer programmer
  3. 1985 – Software developer at FutureMedia in Interactive learning
  4. 1988 – Sold everything and back-packed around the world
  5. 1989 – Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in Spain
  6. 1990 – Freelance software developer
  7. 1992 – Massage Therapist
  8. 1994 – Co-owner of digital marketing agency Federated Communications Ltd.
  9. 1996 – Art Therapist
  10. 1999 – Sole owner of software development agency Multimedia Creations Ltd
  11. 2002 – Trained as a Life Coach
  12. 2002 – Trained as an actor at the Academy of Creative Training
  13. 2003 – Back to being a software developer in eLearning
  14. 2006 – Property developer in London
  15. 2007 – Trained as a producer at Brighton Film School
  16. 2007 – Setup my own video production agency Federated Films Ltd.
  17. 2012 – Author of the book “The Job Delusion” published on Kindle
  18. 2013 – Trained as a Business Coach
  19. 2015 – Executive Produced, UK Indie family movie “2 Hours”
  20. 2016 – Trained as an Independent Financial Advisor
  21. 2018 – Executive Produced feature film “A god amongst men”
  22. 2019 – Founded The Midlife Entrepreneurs.

Market Map

The next powerful exercise is the Market Map. Pat got me to drill-down into my idea and see if there was a market for it. Pat got me to check out Facebook & LinkedIn groups, search for Blogs and Forums that were discussing middle-aged entrepreneurship.

And that was when I discovered the Harvard Business Review study that showed the average entrepreneur is actually 40-years old when launching his or her first startup and the average age of leaders, of high-growth startups, is 45-years old.

So I had discovered that middle-aged entrepreneurs performed better than Millennials and also that there was little to no support out there for us!

So air-traffic control was calling me to take off as now I knew I had an audience and all I had to do was build my aircraft and the passengers would come to fly on it, well hopefully 😉

Bonus stuff

Pat Flynn very generously provides an online companion course with videos and PDF worksheets to help you work your way through the book.

So check out the free online course at Will It Fly Book

And grab your copy of the Will it Fly? book from Amazon (It’s an affiliate link) and point the nose of your idea down the runway and let’s see if it has wings?

Get in touch

Need help getting clear on your nebulous ideas and how to let them fly? Then book a free 20-minute session with me and we can talk about how we can help you make your ideas fly. Upward Spiral Coaching