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How Do You Find and Sort Through Opportunities?

Metzge

New Contributor
Apr 12, 2019
9
6
17
NW Washington
rocfeathermedia.com
Despite the subject being written as one question, I'm really asking two.

First, I like to think I'm pretty good at spotting opportunities; I know the basic math of "problem + demand for solution + I am/can be capable of providing solution = viable opportunity" and have a list of them yet haven't acted on any yet. Granted, I've been busy... I work with different clients for content writing, have two of my own websites I design, development, manage, and create content by myself, and just finished writing and editing my own book and am now in the process of formatting it for self-publication. STILL, I'm curious about this in particular: how do some of you find your own entrepreneurial opportunities? Do you also keep a list? If so, what kinds of information do you keep for each opportunity?

Now, while finding opportunities is pretty easy, it's sorting out which ones are the best ones to go after that I struggle with. Most of my expertise is in writing and for most of my career as a writer, I've always relied on client contracts to get paid. The pay's good, sure, but I can't detach my time from my money completely which keeps me tethered. And prior to the book I'm 95% done with, any "passive" income is a couple dollars a month from ad revenue off my two sites (one is about game theory and design as well as applying that knowledge to one's own life success; the other is my motivational/business coaching site geared towards helping people find the jobs they want, start their own freelancing careers, and highlighting other people's processes). The ROI is virtually non-existent though I feel like I have all the ingredients and am on the cusp of something. When it comes to either of my sites, my gamification audience says it's interesting, unique, and the posts I have are useful and fun to read; my freelancing motivation site audience (a few of which are also converted clients) say that I inspire them and say a lot of things they wish they had the courage to in their day jobs (for example, my latest post was "Why 'That's Just The Way It Is' Is Bullshit" to give you a taste for my tone).

To clarify my question here though: how do you sort your opportunities and find the best ones? How do you know which ones are useful and which ones are nonsense? And if you act upon an opportunity and find yourself stuck yet your gut's telling you it's a matter of fiddling around with the formula because you've got all the right ingredients... how do you figure out what to do next?

I know this is a pretty loaded post. Admittedly, this is my first real post beyond my introduction and I'm a little intimidated being surrounded by other awesome, ambitious people. I just hope I don't seem silly or stupid in asking something that might have an obvious answer. Lately, I've just been feeling like I'm spinning my tires yet I can't help but feel I'm on the right track. Just curious if any of you have any insight.
 

NMdad

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Aug 6, 2017
423
810
312
New Mexico
You might want to create a simple spreadsheet to rate each opportunity/idea on a handful of factors, like:
market size
  • does it meet CENTS criteria?
  • probability of success
  • estimated cost & estimated hours required
  • estimated 12-month return or revenue
  • WWFD? (What Would a Fastlaner Do?)
Even a simple & quick analysis like this is helpful, since you can quickly filter in/out opportunities.
 

Metzge

New Contributor
Apr 12, 2019
9
6
17
NW Washington
rocfeathermedia.com
You might want to create a simple spreadsheet to rate each opportunity/idea on a handful of factors, like:
market size
  • does it meet CENTS criteria?
  • probability of success
  • estimated cost & estimated hours required
  • estimated 12-month return or revenue
  • WWFD? (What Would a Fastlaner Do?)
Even a simple & quick analysis like this is helpful, since you can quickly filter in/out opportunities.
Ahh, a useful tip. Is that what you do?
 

NMdad

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Aug 6, 2017
423
810
312
New Mexico
Ahh, a useful tip. Is that what you do?
Correct. Right now, my bread-n-butter is consulting (i.e., a bunch of active projects, for which I'm in the process of delegating more of the work), and 1 side project. I decided on the side project using simple filters/ratings like that.

As others have advised, it's best to be monogamous with your business--in other words, don't start 20 things and expect to be able to focus on them all. So, use a simple decision filter to identify the opportunity with the most potential, as well as something you're interested in. Even if it fails, you can use what you've learned for the next project.

And remember: the path to success is paved with failures. NOTABLE! - How many Business Failures did you have before success?
 

Metzge

New Contributor
Apr 12, 2019
9
6
17
NW Washington
rocfeathermedia.com
Correct. Right now, my bread-n-butter is consulting (i.e., a bunch of active projects, for which I'm in the process of delegating more of the work), and 1 side project. I decided on the side project using simple filters/ratings like that.

As others have advised, it's best to be monogamous with your business--in other words, don't start 20 things and expect to be able to focus on them all. So, use a simple decision filter to identify the opportunity with the most potential, as well as something you're interested in. Even if it fails, you can use what you've learned for the next project.

And remember: the path to success is paved with failures. NOTABLE! - How many Business Failures did you have before success?
Good points all. Given my work on two websites I own, the book, and then writing for about eight different clients, I rationalized it as monogamy falling under the one job "freelance writer." Which might be true though that's still so many projects. Just, my passion is creating content which is why I have my own websites so I can freely do so; the client work is my current bread-and-butter until the websites start making their own money (they don't do so passively but they're useful in attracting clients and building my own authority, both as far as someone worth listening to as well as technical stuff like SEO and search authority). The book, provided it does well, is my first real attempt at creating a passive income stream; the articles I write for my websites could become that too but traffic is still so low that ad revenue isn't there, nor do I control much of that. Ideally, I want to create enough passive income where I no longer have to do client work -- not that I don't enjoy working with others, but like I mentioned, it tethers my time and money.

That said, once the book is finally published, I want to start investing more time in shorter ebooks, either still in the non-fiction vein or try my hand at fiction writing. So maybe I already have enough on my plate. I guess I just don't want to fall into the whole sunken cost fallacy, wasting time getting something to work when there's other things I could be doing -- even if what I'm currently doing checks off most/all of the boxes of CENTS.
 

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