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If you set up your own business, where did your idea come from?

(33 Posts)
Turnedouttoes Mon 29-Jun-20 21:00:15

Just that really. I’m totally unfulfilled at work right now and have lots of skills which would be great for running a business which lots of people keep telling me I should do but I have no idea what that business would be doing! I’m not creative so couldn’t really sell anything I’ve made and equally don’t really have a profession like accountancy or legal services.

Not looking to steal ideas btw, just curious where your idea came from and what led you to start up on your own.

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bobbikato Mon 29-Jun-20 23:34:39

Don;t know if this helps as in same boat.
but i did run a sucessful antique biz for years,it was not an idea as such but came about from selling a relatives house contents,this was before internet and before oxfam got too big for their boots .
We started by getting a pitch at an antique fair and while there got asked if we would take a look at someone;s estate - having a large van helped as alot of people just want stuff out of the way.
Years later i found myself with a little shop and book full of collection dates to buy stuff,then ebay comes along and people no longer need me .
i never made much money but managed to pay my way .

otherwise advise wise they say look for a gap in the market - something which people want and suss out how you can make a profit and especially look at what can go wrong .

ideas i have thought of lately ( feel free to pinch them ) are ...
Really nice " meals on wheels " service - most of these serve pretty crap food at high prices .
Nice deserts delivered alongside people take-away treats - again lots of ben n jerry ice cream on offer but a nice apple pie and custard ?
No way - unless you order from Gordon Ramsay .
Wheelie bin cleaning service for a set price - most people do not want to clean these bins( making a mess ) but if you have a large van and jet wash you could collect and clean elsewhere .

Turnedouttoes Tue 30-Jun-20 11:50:10

Hahah I love the idea of the wheelie bin cleaning service, very original!

That’s really sad about your antiques business, you’d think people would much rather buy something like that in person that from eBay. Although I guess the ease with which you can buy all sorts online nowadays means lots of independent businesses are priced out of the market which is sad

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mindutopia Tue 30-Jun-20 12:28:21

Dh has a business. He was in a similar position, employed but in a really unfulfilling role with co-workers who were all miserable and hated their work.

He basically made a list of things he liked to do that he could make and sell (so a creative business - I'm not remotely creative, but this obviously works if you are). One he had more experience in and enjoyed more, but he looked into the costs of the start up and raw materials and what people were buying these things for, and there wasn't much of a margin for profit. The other he had less experience with, but raw materials were cheap and people were spending a lot of these items. He looked into start up costs (equipment and space). Ran all the maths and decided it was worth a go. It's a very niche market though with a lot of high end sales.

But 7 years later, he's very happy, makes about 8x what he made in his crap office job. He did have a business degree though so knew what he was getting himself into.

I think the main thing is that it needs to be something you enjoy, that you are relatively good at (enough to do it like 60 hours a week to start while you are building up), and that is something 7000 people aren't already doing in your area. I also think that social media marketing is key, so wise to take a training course in it or read a book or get some advice.

mintich Tue 30-Jun-20 13:20:41

I'm always interested in where ideas come from. Whether it's a passion or just something you thought would make money

EatsShootsAndRuns Tue 30-Jun-20 13:28:18

My business idea was dreamed up during an idle evening of drinking wine. 7 years later it's still good. grin

mintich Tue 30-Jun-20 14:32:03

@eatsshootsandruns was it a wine business?

MuseumOfYou Tue 30-Jun-20 15:05:17

We live in a 400 year old house with no light pollution in the absolute middle of nowhere. We had a couple of slightly spooky things happen and it occurred to us it would make a good ghosthunting venue. We're good cooks and like entertaining and suggested to the ghosthunting company that came to check out the venue that we could combine with them and offer supper etc for their guests. Anyway, we had second thoughts about the idea of ghosthunting just in case it disturbed something or other but loved the idea of cooking for paying guests.
So we got the kitchen inspected, did our food hygiene courses and now run an occasional supper club, as well as the usual day jobs.
It doesn't make an enormous amount and it's very labour intensive but it's great fun and lead to us appearing in a TV cooking competition last year.

EatsShootsAndRuns Tue 30-Jun-20 16:30:41


was it a wine business?

Unusual canapés and premium party nibbles hand prepared and delivered to the door. It did slump on lockdown but we've got orders coming in again now. smile

Turnedouttoes Tue 30-Jun-20 16:36:05

That sounds like a fabulous business @EatsShootsAndRuns something much more exciting to offer drinks guests than a bowl of kettle chips!!

@MuseumOfYou I love the sound of a supper club. I’d love to come for a dinner and spooky tour!

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pinesofrome Tue 30-Jun-20 16:37:54

I'm waiting for someone to invent a wheelie suitcase that goes up and down stairs - I'm fed up of carrying my case at tube stations.

Turnedouttoes Tue 30-Jun-20 16:41:24

That’s a great idea! I remember going on holiday with my dad when we were very young and being given strict instructions to wait at the bottom of stairs while he lugged our suitcases up and down them as we were too little to lift them

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TorkTorkBam Tue 30-Jun-20 16:44:35

It doesn't have to be innovative. Sometimes you can set up a great business just by running someone else's better.

For example, where I live someone took part time work at the grocers then took it over from the owner who wanted to retire but wanted to make sure it got passed on to someone who would love it. This person worked a day or two a week at a few places before buying the grocers.

A friend runs a team of specialist tradesmen. He is not in their trade. He just knows how to organise, seek out big business contracts, do accounts, schedule people, etc. The tradespeople are happy, he is happy, business is booming.

Rubyandsaphire Tue 30-Jun-20 17:13:41

If you like caring some kind of bespoke befriending service /cleaning/basic diy/taking people out. I'm disabled and definitely think there's a gap between social care and NHS that needs filling. Also I'm young I don't want to go to a day centre for the elderly, I can't get out independently so someone that you can build a relationship with would be nice.

Turnedouttoes Tue 30-Jun-20 17:28:30

I had thought about something along those lines @Rubyandsaphire as I used to be a nanny but always dismissed it as it’s not scaleable unless you set up an agency for it but maybe that could be a good idea. I know my grandma would love to pay someone just to take her out once a week when family aren’t always around.

I know a guy who runs a service for the elderly/disabled where he basically does their shopping but it’s all bought in bulk so much cheaper than him going to the supermarket and he seems to be very successful

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mintich Tue 30-Jun-20 17:53:46

@eatsshootsandruns what part of the country are you in? That sounds like a great idea!

Letsgetthishousesold Tue 30-Jun-20 17:59:13

Definitely doesn’t need to be an innovative invention type business.

Lots of businesses are just someone offering a service and competing against other people to be the most popular for this service.

My OH has a business of the above description but still works full time while it gets off the ground and he gets to the stage it pays enough to leave his job.

Something like cleaning - you just need to get the clients to make it pay and it’s a business.

Turnedouttoes Tue 30-Jun-20 18:21:15

Does he do the service in the evenings then @Letsgetthishousesold

That would be the ideal scenario, something I could initially do evenings and weekends and then scale up to eventually leave my job

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Letsgetthishousesold Tue 30-Jun-20 18:39:45

Just on a Saturday mainly but the odd evening too.

FourForYouGlenCoco Tue 30-Jun-20 18:51:21

* Lots of businesses are just someone offering a service and competing against other people to be the most popular for this service.*

This is me, although we don’t really compete as demand is higher than supply where I am. We just do what we do and do it very well.
OP, I stepped into a breach - used the previous owner’s service, found out she was leaving/closing down, convinced a friend to go in halves with me, bought it off the previous lady for a pittance, and off we went. We both had relevant (but not direct) previous experience of the actual service, but no business knowledge whatsoever. Been going a year now and we’re doing brilliantly and loving it - Covid has hit us a bit financially, but we’re ticking along ok and already picking up again so it’s all good!

BetterCare Tue 30-Jun-20 19:00:32

If you have some money to invest book a session with a coach. That is what I specialise in with my clients. Or join a business membership group.

If money is tight then find Business Groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.

James Altuchers books Choose Yourself and Choose Yourself Guide to wealth are all about ideas. Both of these books have been an inspiration to me.

Get inspired by people who have done it, listen to podcasts, watch innovative people on YouTube and don't doubt yourself. If there is something you are really good and you love then it can be turned into a business.

jess3817 Tue 30-Jun-20 19:56:53

I'm a self employed cleaner. I worked for someone else for 2 years and my neighbour asked me to clean for her, she recommended me to someone else etc etc and I've been working for myself just over a year now. Really happy now as was not happy at all before

mintich Wed 01-Jul-20 10:12:10

Not self employed but most of the people I know who are, haven't done anything new. They have just picked a service/business and made it better!

fourquenelles Wed 01-Jul-20 10:49:39

Pet taxi. I have 3 ogs but on't rive. Normally I walk my boys to the vets but if they hurt their feet, backs etc I am at the mercy of lovely neighbours as the local pet taxi service is booked such a long way in advance.

Also there is a secure field that I'd love to take my boys to for an off lead romp but again I have no transport. I'd be willing to pay over the odds for such a service.

fourquenelles Wed 01-Jul-20 10:50:14

Oh and the "D" key on my laptop sticks!

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