How To Come Up With Online Business Ideas When You Don’t Have A “Passion”

JillBlog13 Comments

How To Come Up with Ideas for an Online Business

So peep this…

When Josh and I first started talking about starting a business together back in 2012 I was staaaa-RESSED over it because I didn’t have a “passion” I wanted to build the business around.

Don’t get me wrong, I had interests, but nothing that really stood out to me as a clear winner to start a business around.

And since errrrr’yone online says stuff like “follow your passion” and “passion over profit” it threw me through a loop because I figured “well if I don’t have a passion, then I guess that means I can’t start a business’.

Have you ever thought that to yourself?

It sucks, right?

I mean, we see all these entrepreneurs preaching passion and when you’re not feeling lit up by one particular thing it can cause you to tailspin into a spiral of self doubt and “what ifs”.

I get it.

And I’m tellin’ you…

That’s not the ONLY way to build a business online.

In fact, you can come up with online business opportunities around damn near anything these days.

Don’t believe me?

Keep reading.

How To Come Up With Online Business Ideas

So let’s keep it real…

This whole online business space has become insanely noisy over the past few years. Which means it’s full of people taking a firm stance on the subject of “passion” and how it’s a must-have if you want to start a business.

But here’s the thing…

I didn’t have a passion when Josh and I started our first business together, which was a skincare site, btw.

And while I found it stressful to step outside of my comfort zone and start a business that was NOT fuelled by a passion, that stress was really just a byproduct of what others were saying online.

I also found that once I started getting into the whole process of building a business, I realized that my “passion” was the process of building businesses.

I loved the thrill of it…

The ups and downs that come with it…

That feeling of “fuck yes, I did it!” that washes over you when you figure something out that’s been stumping you…

And that sense of accomplishment you get when your brand starts resonating with an audience.

However, I wouldn’t have discovered that unless we had just started the business….passion or no passion!

Fortunately, Josh does not buy into the whole idea that you MUST have a passion to start a business.

*prayer hands*

So what can YOU do to start a business if you don’t have a “passion” and how do you even come up with an idea for one?

For starters…

Get Clear on Your Target Industry

One of the biggest positives of not having a passion to base your business around is you’re not all wrapped up in an idea that may not work just because you feel aligned with it.

Why does that matter?

Because it allows you to take a more objective approach to the research side of starting your business and nix ideas that don’t show much promise.

So how do you get clear on an industry to target?

Try this:

Do a Braindump

Sounds sexy, doesn’t it?

Here’s what I mean by a braindump…

In order to start coming up with online business ideas, take out a sheet of paper, or you know, open a Google Doc and list out everything you’re interested in or enjoy doing.

These could be things like:

  • Baking
  • Coupon cutting
  • Playing guitar, drums, trumpet…hell anything!
  • Figuring out new gadgets
  • Homeschooling your kids
  • Working out
  • Playing with your dog
  • DIY home projects
  • Cooking healthy meals
  • Babysitting
  • Roadtripping
  • Juicing
  • Exploring your local area
  • Crafts
  • Sports
  • Yoga
  • Planning date nights
  • Creative writing
  • Hiking

Hell, anything!

The key is to get specific and list out anything that remotely interests you.

And don’t stress out if you don’t L.O.V.E these topics. This may be your first business, but it most likely won’t be your last.

What I mean is…

As you get into the process of building and growing your business, new ideas will start popping into your head and you’ll start discovering new things you didn’t even know you had an interest in!

So what do you do after you’ve created your list of interests?

Go Broad with Your Interests

Now that you’ve listed out all the specific activities you enjoy doing, start grouping them together into broader categories.

So using the examples listed above, I would start looking for common themes amongst all the interests that belong under a larger, more general industry.

  • Baking
  • Coupon cutting
  • Playing guitar, drums, trumpet…hell anything!
  • Figuring out new gadgets
  • Homeschooling your kids
  • Working out
  • Playing with your dog
  • DIY home projects
  • Cooking healthy meals
  • Babysitting
  • Roadtripping
  • Juicing
  • Exploring your local area
  • Crafts
  • Sports
  • Yoga
  • Planning date nights
  • Creative writing
  • Hiking

I’m sure you can tell by the ones I’ve bolded that the overarching niche that stands out in this list is HEALTH.

From there?

Identify the Trends

Now that you’ve identified your main general niche, we’re going to use that broad topic (ie. the health industry) to again get more specific and list out the different sub-niches under the main category of health.

So for example, in the health space you could list things along the top of the spreadsheet like:

  • Juicing
  • Weight loss
  • Working out/exercising
  • Supplements
  • Meal prepping
  • Dieting
  • Women’s/Men’s health
  • Nutrition

Once you have your spreadsheet filled out, it’s time to starting running some smart searches.

Here’s how you do that:

  • Open up a Google search
  • Pick ONE of your sub-topics listed under your main interest—I’m going to use “weight loss” for this example
  • Compose your search like this: weight loss “trends”

What this will do is only display results from sites that are aligned with your topic (ie. weight loss), but also have the word “trends” listed somewhere on their page.

Then once you’re redirected to the results page, click on “search tools” and then in that small dropdown menu choose “any time”, wait for the dropdown menu to appear and then choose “past year”.

From there, open up the relevant articles and start listing down the different trends mentioned and mark it down on your spreadsheet under that sub-topic.

For example, two that popped up for me and piqued my interest were “veganism” and “probiotics”. I also happened to notice a mention of “essential oils”.

I would add these under my sub-topic list and then continue to flush out my spreadsheet until I had at least 5 potential trends under each sub-topic.

Once you’ve got that done and dusted, head on over to Google Trends which we’re going to use to see how each of our potential keywords are actually trending.

What I mean is, are they moving in an upwards direction and worthy of our continued effort?

Or are they fading out?

To do this, copy and paste 5 keywords (max) per search.

For my search I used: veganism, probiotics, essential oils, yoga and sugar as my 5 keywords to test and this is what I found…

 

As you can see “yoga” and “sugar” both display an upwards trend and so I would go back to my spreadsheet, bold the winners, erase the others (or move them to another tab) and run another trends report using 5 more keywords based on your smart searches.

That way you’re not just sitting there with 2 options, but instead have the ability to uncover a wealth of potential sub-niches to dive into.

Of course if you spot any trends that were on the upswing but have since taken a dive, you can remove those from your spreadsheet too.

Once you have a list of at least 10 hot trends you can move onto the next step…

Validating Your Idea

Alright, so now that you’ve got at least 10 key trends identified, it’s time to run a simple validation test to see the best online business ideas that stand out to you and which you should cut.

Obviously there is more than one way to validate an idea, but to keep things simple I’m using the idea validation process Josh uses inside our course, Idea Inspiration.

To start, create yourself a Idea Validation Spreadsheet that looks like the one you see below.

how to know if your idea will make money

Not into making your own? Steal this one and make a copy for yourself to fill out.

Once you’ve got that ready, do this…

For each trend you’ve listed, rate your overall “passion” or interest level in it, with 10 being your highest level of interest.

Based on my own interest in “sugar” and “yoga” I would assign a passion score of 7 to sugar (as I quit sugar and love how I feel) and a 5 for yoga since I like it, but I’m not crazy about it.

From there, you then assign a rating based on your skill level for each trend.

So again, using “sugar” and “yoga” I would give myself skill score of 8 to sugar (because I only slipped twice in my pursuit to give up sugar) and a 6 to yoga as I haven’t had a regular practice in nearly 3 years.

The next step then is to validate it based on money, or the potential for profit in each trend.

Here’s how we do this…

Inside our course, Idea Inspiration, Josh walks you through a lesson on the 14 most profitable industries online.

And since I know the health niche is the second most profitable industry listed in that lesson, I would assign a score of 13 (out of 14) for that column.

Doing a cheeky calculation that gives me a score for “sugar” of 28, with 34 being the absolute highest score you can get in this exercise.

Want to know what the other 13 profitable industries are and where your idea may fall in that list?

Snatch up your FREE video lesson (ripped straight from inside Idea Inspiration) that will walk you through the 14 most profitable industries online (examples included!), use it to help you fill in that third column and let’s see how many online business ideas you can validate and use to inspire your hawt new brand!

how to come up with online business ideas

  • Great stuff, guys! Y, I tell folks to “follow your curiosity” – what I consider the most essential skill in business! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-most-essential-business-skill-john-chang?trk=mp-reader-card

    • Glad to hear you dug it, John!

    • Josh Stanton

      Happy you liked it mate!

  • Ana

    Wooooow!! Thanks a lot Josh and Jill for the amazing content! It was very useful to me.

    • Josh Stanton

      Glad you got a lot out of it Ana.

  • Susie

    Hey guys- Idea course has no content – signed up yesterday and had content but today no bueno. 🙁

  • Glen Sorensen

    Excellent! THANK YOU. I have struggled with the passion argument, too. I have sat thru countless webinars wherein that ‘passion’ was ALL they could talk about, and not one word about WHAT to do or HOW to do it, or WHEN…or WHY do it this way. I like systems and processes, and am totally amazed that there aren’t better automation tools for that for your small- or direct sales business.

    • BAM!! So happy you found your way onto this page then, Glen 😀

  • Michael Staudt

    I retired recently and I’ve really been racking my brain about a business. I don’t have a particular passion to anything which has made it more difficult. I’ve a better perspective on how to think about a business and a niche now. Thanks.

    • Josh Stanton

      So happy to hear it helped Michael!

  • I think people tend to overthink a niche then just get confused.Is this a good niche? is it profitable, is it too competetive……………..in the end fear of failure sets in.

  • Rob Powell

    Hey Jill, love this article! I love the style (very chatty) bit also the content. Really important to know that you don’t need a pre-existing passion to succeed in online business. As you say, it can be the passion of running an online business, rather than the subject itself. I also totally agree with you: too much ‘passion’ could blind someone from being objective about the business potential. Thanks!