Where to start

“I want to do something creative on the side but no idea yet.” Creativity is for everyone, and we all have an innovative side, (yes you do, think about your last creative problem solving!) and it is actually not that difficult to find your edge. Use the following easy steps to dig deep into a side of you that you might not know about, which can be turned into profitable income streams.

Your life journey

It might sound like your resume, but this is something even more personal and holistic.

“Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.”

~Harry Callahan, photographer

Think about how you were brought up, any difficulties you’ve overcome, along the way of your teens, adult life, career, etc. Write them all down in bullet points. It’s almost like putting yourself as Super Mario, with a map of all the hurdles and obstacles on hand after you played the game. There are a few that you would remember most, because these are the proud moments or you have gone through the most difficult times but you overcome them. These experiences are all different for each of us, and they are the most valuable to us. For example, if you’re married, think about your wedding planning and organisation. It took a long time to arrange EVERYTHING according to budget and meet all the stakeholders’ expectations (ahem… this is the most important part especially for a traditional Chinese wedding), but you did it!

From this list, you can find an overview of your strengths and experiences – list them out on a sheet of paper. As most of us might already know what we are good at, we often overlook the most valuable experiences we have been through. Don’t skip this step. Complete the list and keep it for use in the later steps.

Things you enjoy doing most

Imagine you have 3 extra hours on a Saturday morning – what would you do? Read fashion magazines? Paint? Or yoga? List out at least three things you enjoy doing the most. Don’t be shameful to put “scrolling IG/FB/Pinterest” on the list, just be truthful to yourself at this moment. Nobody is judging you unless you start doing that yourself.

What advice do you give to your friends?

We all give a different impression to people around us. My friends always come to me for advice on business developments and relationships, because they know what I have experiences in, or they simply think I can share some useful information with them. How about you? What kind of advice your friends ask you for? Fashion styling? Best restaurants in town? Investment tips? List them down.

Sizzling hot pain points

Now you’ve got your list of potential ideas, let’s get into the minds of those who would kneel and beg you for advice. Put yourself into their shoes and imagine what they would do in their urgent situation, take the wedding planning case as an example – I am the bride-to-be, and I only have 2 months left to the wedding day, but seems I still have a lot to arrange! With this panic attack, I would:

These subjective assumptions will need to be backed by in-depth researches in places where these target audience hang out both online and offline. For instance, forums, associations, networking groups, or wedding expos and wedding sites in this case above. Drill down to their complaints and their REAL reasons why they are “in pain”. One easy way is to apply the 5-whys technique invented by Japanese industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, Sakichi Toyoda. Get to the gist and record all on paper afterwards. Is the bride-to-be in huge pressure from her parents’ unreasonable requests on the wedding guests arrangements? Do the bride and groom-to-be have unresolved disagreements on the budget and plans?

This list is your holy grail – if you had the experience, how could you help this frazzled bride right now?

Your immediate solutions

This is where we come in as creativepreneur, offering creative solutions to those in need. Take out the lists of “Strengths & Experience”, “Top 3 enjoyable things”, and “Advices to friends” you did earlier and link them with the pain points. Do you find any matches? These are the demand (pains) and supply (your solutions) chart to be pinned on your desk.

Continuing with the panicking bride example, there are numerous ways to help her immediately with my previous wedding and event planning experience:

  • a holistic checklist of things to complete, with different tiers based on importance
  • Breakdown of to-do items in a weekly calendar for the coming 2 months
  • List of local vendors with price and photo references
  • Invitation and event design service (your Pinterest board comes in handy for client’s style reference)
  • Private consultation with the couple-to-be and immediate wedding planning service

These are just a few ideas I came up with in 3 minutes. If you understand your potential clients’ biggest fear and problems, it will come in natural for you to brainstorm solutions.

Would they pay?

Let go of your inner fear of “charging people of something I don’t think I’m good at” – as an individual, we all have gone through different stages of experiences, and this knowledge is invaluable for those who are just starting. Remember, you are good enough to teach the new comers who are in need of help. We are providing solutions to what these people are yearning for. Selling doesn’t need to be sleezy like adding a “BUY NOW!” button on all pages on the website. We are offering immediate solutions for those who are willing to pay for convenience or assistance, the same way we pay a cab driver to get us to our destination.

Grace Chan

Designer, sales, marketer, side project aficionado, and part-time entrepreneur. Join me here to learn how to start and build a profitable creative side-business and automatic income streams.
Grace Chan

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