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What I’ve learned so far looking for business ideas

mk001

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May 9, 2018
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I quit the practice of law, and will be starting some sort of business (I mentioned this in my introduction when I joined). I was a criminal defense lawyer, and the transferable skills I have, that I can think of, are persuasive argumentation, analytical reasoning, and problem solving (I’m great at solving other peoples problems, less great at solving my own, and I’m still having a difficult time figuring out what to do).


What stuck out for me in Unscripted, is Easification. Right now, being a lawyer is an easified business (although there is a high barrier of entry). As a business, it pretty much sucks because of the sheer number of lawyers out there, and the limited supply of work. And it’s a slowlane business. It was hard to decided to ditch it, because of how difficult it was to attain, but I said screw it, I only have one life to live and I’m not making a decent income anyway (many legal secretaries actually earn more than attorneys. Go figure). Don’t believe the media puff pieces of how well off attorneys are with their high median income. The stats are bullshit. I bought into this garbage before deciding to go to law school.


Talking about bullshit: I see the same thing while searching for business ideas on the web. They seem to breakdown into the same categories: (including non-businesses)


  1. Dropshipping- open a Shopify website and drop ship items from AliExpress.
  2. Sell on Ebay
  3. Sell on Amazon
  4. Design and sell T-Shirts on the various platforms
  5. Mechanical Turk
  6. Be a transcriptionist
  7. Drive for Uber or Lyft
7. Freelance writer - white a researched blog post of 1000 words for $10


Sure, selling on Ebay or Amazon could be very profitable, if you have a creative way of making it work, but for the majority, I would guess they follow the standard template and fail. Plus, I wouldn’t trust either of those platforms that can cut you off at any time.


What’s worse is I see mainstream publications writing puff pieces of how fantastic these businesses are (and yes, they call a lot of these non-businesses, businesses). They either need to meet a listicle deadline, or some “entrepreneur” convinced them to write an article about their huge success, and yes, they also sell an online course. Also, most of the entrepreneur podcasts are guilty of this - they’re in it for the affiliate revenue from the guru’s course (the “entrepreneurs” almost always have a course to sell).


What I’ve learned looking for business ideas: Don’t look for business ideas. Create my own business ideas. Look for information that may spark business ideas. Don’t search Google for “business ideas”. Whatever will actually work as a business won’t be obvious. Don’t have a business (or freelance job) that depends solely on any platform (Amazon, Ebay, Upwork, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).


Unscripted talks about some of these things, but it feels different when you see it for yourself and almost get suckered into some of it, even after reading the book.
 

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Napoolion

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Yeah, searching for business ideas directly is a bad way to go, you just land on pages where people want to sell you some crap.

Last tip what helped me a lot was to search for problems in feeds, for example search in twitter: 'is there an app' or any other popular site and you will find a lot of gold.

With 3-4 hours I found like 5 good ideas, I picked one what reasonated with me the most. Create options, choose the best.
 

eliquid

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I would disagree and say the idea is a bulk part of it, more so than the execution.

I compare it to when people say, don't dwell on the decision during a life change.. just live life day by day. That might work if everyone knew how in the end to make a good decision and they could just wait it out, but sadly most people don't know how to make a good decision even if they wait it out and think about it for a long time. The end result won't be good because those people have poor decision making skills to begin with.

That's the same with ideas. Just because you have one, acted on one, or think to yourself it is good with X amount of what you think is proof, doesn't mean you should have acted on it, or that it is in fact a good idea. ( same with decisions ). It could just end up being a mediocre idea that gets you by for now, or one that pays your bills for you and lets you live month to month. But that doesn't equal a good idea.

Also, you might want to work towards what aligns with you, so your ideas and projects work better for you.

Don't get tripped up on the title, this post below is about setting values, goals, and aligning projects with who you really are: Not Fulfilled? Depressed? Maybe You Need An Alignment
.
 
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Jaden Jones

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Service based industries and brick and mortar businesses never seem to get the attention they deserve. Look for a need to fill locally, fill it and look to expand. Chances are good the same need exists in other places.
 

Private Witt

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Service based industries and brick and mortar businesses never seem to get the attention they deserve. Look for a need to fill locally, fill it and look to expand. Chances are good the same need exists in other places.
Good tip on filling locally first then expanding. Is my current model and has gone really well and going into a second state soon.

Also Id say looking at your own passions is a great place to look for ideas for business.
 

GoGetter24

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As a business, it pretty much sucks because of the sheer number of lawyers out there, and the limited supply of work
I'm interested to know why I concurrently hear and observe the following:

1. Lawyers can bill at $350/hour. Some bill at $1000/hour or higher. "Doctors and lawyers". A law firm partner make $1M/year. "Barristers" (which my UK friend tells me means a court-lawyer) live in the rich parts of London. Lawyers earning millions from a suit.
2. Lawyers get paid nothing and have to work long hours. The market is saturated with lawyers. It's a crappy underpaid job.

Mind telling me how I can be constantly hearing those two polar opposite positions at the same time?

What’s worse is I see mainstream publications writing puff pieces of how fantastic these businesses are
Yes and part of it is deliberate misinformation. By broadcasting that shit, no doubt in exchange for some kick-backs from the corporations it benefits, it forces down the cost of labor.

Uber, for instance, worked out a great way to pay people less than minimum wage, not have to pay their insurance or benefits, or pay for their tools: just call them "independent contractors" and then advertise the hell out of the "gig economy" and how that's cool, hip, "work when you want" etc. It's not robbery if you bamboozle someone into a raw deal. It's not fraud if you use vague phrases and smiley people in ads, and put everything else in the fine print.

The other part is precisely because of that "1000 words for $10" gig you mentioned. Most of what's written and read on the internet now is completely fabricated and uninformed random garbage, on the level of funneling the typings of monkeys through grammerly. People are paid for words, to "produce content" to hopefully bump the domain up a view places on Google, not to have the slightest clue what the F*ck they're talking about.

And the worst part is it's the same even for free typings. Most people in forums follow the rule: "the more confidently they talk about something, the less they know what they're talking about".

To cap off this rant, let's funnel it into a business idea:

Shit-weeder
Shit-weeder is a machine-learning powered and human-augmented service for weeding out the mountains of shit that is 99% of the internet, leaving only accurate, valuable, true, informed, educated, useful, non-misleading content.

Shit-weeder plugs into your browser of choice, and erases from existence the following:
  • All of the mainstream media
  • Any online comment written by any of: a retard, troll, monkey-typer, ego-tripper, douchebag, political wingnut, drone, and so on
  • Any comment purporting to be advice that's from somebody who either: hasn't followed that advice themselves, doesn't know what they're talking about, or is a lying retard manufacturing a false persona on the internet due to psychological defects
  • Any website that has ever had, currently has, or is in the process of installing, a popup
  • Any content that was paid to be written by the word
  • Any blog article that is sponsored
  • Any list that is viewed by sequentially clicking the next page
  • Anything written or produced by anyone who's ever made a dumb face in a YouTube video thumbnail in attempt to get more clicks
There's your business idea. Would comfortably pay $100/mo for that service.
 
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Andy Black

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Service based industries and brick and mortar businesses never seem to get the attention they deserve. Look for a need to fill locally, fill it and look to expand. Chances are good the same need exists in other places.
Yep.

On that note...

@mk001 ... what about generating leads for lawyers? You know the vertical better than most, and you’ve said there’s a lot of supply for the demand.


EDIT: You may find both the radio interviews in my signature relevant and helpful.
 
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Eisenstein

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I'm interested to know why I concurrently hear and observe the following:

1. Lawyers can bill at $350/hour. Some bill at $1000/hour or higher. "Doctors and lawyers". A law firm partner make $1M/year. "Barristers" (which my UK friend tells me means a court-lawyer) live in the rich parts of London. Lawyers earning millions from a suit.
2. Lawyers get paid nothing and have to work long hours. The market is saturated with lawyers. It's a crappy underpaid job.

Mind telling me how I can be constantly hearing those two polar opposite positions at the same time?
Maybe I can answer this. Indeed, this is possible and reality. It's because lawyers are not always paid per hour but they receive a share of the value in dispute. So, if your clients are wealthy (e.g. companies) and the amount in dispute is high, the lawyer earns a lot more. In this case, this is not slowlane anymore, I think (since your salary is detached from time). Lawyers working in the fields of commercial, corporate, bankruptcy, bank or capital market law receive an above-average salary because of that. In contrast, attorneys specializing in social law tend to earn little.
 
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eliquid

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I'm interested to know why I concurrently hear and observe the following:

1. Lawyers can bill at $350/hour. Some bill at $1000/hour or higher. "Doctors and lawyers". A law firm partner make $1M/year. "Barristers" (which my UK friend tells me means a court-lawyer) live in the rich parts of London. Lawyers earning millions from a suit.
2. Lawyers get paid nothing and have to work long hours. The market is saturated with lawyers. It's a crappy underpaid job.

Mind telling me how I can be constantly hearing those two polar opposite positions at the same time?
I didn't know if this was sarcasm or really asking. But I'll take the really asking angle....

It's the same as anything:

I hear all the time SEO is dead and that no one makes money with SEO and that it's too saturated, but yet I know guys doing very very well in SEO.

I hear selling on Amazon is dead and too saturated and no one makes money because people are getting ripped off left and right, but then again I know guys doing millions just fine.

Carry that convo to anything in life and I do mean ANYTHING and you have the same thing.

Some lawyers pick the wrong niche and location ( or don't know how to run a business ) and can't get by, others come out smelling like roses...

With ANYTHING in life, you have winners and losers

.
 

Sebastya

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I hear all the time SEO is dead and that no one makes money with SEO and that it's too saturated, but yet I know guys doing very very well in SEO.

I hear selling on Amazon is dead and too saturated and no one makes money because people are getting ripped off left and right, but then again I know guys doing millions just fine.
.
Newspapers/TV/radio aren't dead.

Not sure how SEO/Amazon could be...
 

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404profound

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sh*t-weeder
sh*t-weeder is a machine-learning powered and human-augmented service for weeding out the mountains of sh*t that is 99% of the internet, leaving only accurate, valuable, true, informed, educated, useful, non-misleading content.

sh*t-weeder plugs into your browser of choice, and erases from existence the following:
  • All of the mainstream media
  • Any online comment written by any of: a retard, troll, monkey-typer, ego-tripper, douchebag, political wingnut, drone, and so on
  • Any comment purporting to be advice that's from somebody who either: hasn't followed that advice themselves, doesn't know what they're talking about, or is a lying retard manufacturing a false persona on the internet due to psychological defects
  • Any website that has ever had, currently has, or is in the process of installing, a popup
  • Any content that was paid to be written by the word
  • Any blog article that is sponsored
  • Any list that is viewed by sequentially clicking the next page
  • Anything written or produced by anyone who's ever made a dumb face in a YouTube video thumbnail in attempt to get more clicks
There's your business idea. Would comfortably pay $100/mo for that service.

hmmm...

How to Create and Publish a Chrome Extension in 20 minutes
 

Banduzo

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Aug 31, 2015
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I'm interested to know why I concurrently hear and observe the following:

1. Lawyers can bill at $350/hour. Some bill at $1000/hour or higher. "Doctors and lawyers". A law firm partner make $1M/year. "Barristers" (which my UK friend tells me means a court-lawyer) live in the rich parts of London. Lawyers earning millions from a suit.
2. Lawyers get paid nothing and have to work long hours. The market is saturated with lawyers. It's a crappy underpaid job.

Mind telling me how I can be constantly hearing those two polar opposite positions at the same time?
If you're not high up in law firms or don't have your own law firm, you do make good money, but you do not make the rate you bill. You could bill a client $350/hour for your services, but that money goes back to the firm not to the lawyer doing the work.

So when you are just starting out as a lawyer it probably is a crappy underpaid job with lots of competition until you make it ahead.
 

Skwab

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 23, 2018
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I quit the practice of law, and will be starting some sort of business (I mentioned this in my introduction when I joined). I was a criminal defense lawyer, and the transferable skills I have, that I can think of, are persuasive argumentation, analytical reasoning, and problem solving (I’m great at solving other peoples problems, less great at solving my own, and I’m still having a difficult time figuring out what to do).


What stuck out for me in Unscripted, is Easification. Right now, being a lawyer is an easified business (although there is a high barrier of entry). As a business, it pretty much sucks because of the sheer number of lawyers out there, and the limited supply of work. And it’s a slowlane business. It was hard to decided to ditch it, because of how difficult it was to attain, but I said screw it, I only have one life to live and I’m not making a decent income anyway (many legal secretaries actually earn more than attorneys. Go figure). Don’t believe the media puff pieces of how well off attorneys are with their high median income. The stats are bullshit. I bought into this garbage before deciding to go to law school.


Talking about bullshit: I see the same thing while searching for business ideas on the web. They seem to breakdown into the same categories: (including non-businesses)


  1. Dropshipping- open a Shopify website and drop ship items from AliExpress.
  2. Sell on Ebay
  3. Sell on Amazon
  4. Design and sell T-Shirts on the various platforms
  5. Mechanical Turk
  6. Be a transcriptionist
  7. Drive for Uber or Lyft
7. Freelance writer - white a researched blog post of 1000 words for $10


Sure, selling on Ebay or Amazon could be very profitable, if you have a creative way of making it work, but for the majority, I would guess they follow the standard template and fail. Plus, I wouldn’t trust either of those platforms that can cut you off at any time.


What’s worse is I see mainstream publications writing puff pieces of how fantastic these businesses are (and yes, they call a lot of these non-businesses, businesses). They either need to meet a listicle deadline, or some “entrepreneur” convinced them to write an article about their huge success, and yes, they also sell an online course. Also, most of the entrepreneur podcasts are guilty of this - they’re in it for the affiliate revenue from the guru’s course (the “entrepreneurs” almost always have a course to sell).


What I’ve learned looking for business ideas: Don’t look for business ideas. Create my own business ideas. Look for information that may spark business ideas. Don’t search Google for “business ideas”. Whatever will actually work as a business won’t be obvious. Don’t have a business (or freelance job) that depends solely on any platform (Amazon, Ebay, Upwork, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).


Unscripted talks about some of these things, but it feels different when you see it for yourself and almost get suckered into some of it, even after reading the book.

Congrats on quitting all together - that's tough to do and a huge step. I'm a Dentist and in a similar boat. I think when you've been focused for so long on getting into law school, law school itself, and then starting your career and growing in it - it's hard to imagine doing anything else - you're stuck in this bubble. Certainly your creativity takes a hit - I know mine did. And my passion for so many things in life was sucked out of me through out the process.

I agree with others in that you don't want to Google "business ideas" and hope to stumble across something valuable. I would start by scanning the threads in this forum and see what others are doing - see if anything peaks your interest. I would also look into your former profession and see if there is anything outside the box of being a traditional lawyer that you can add value to in the form of a course, a book, consulting - anything that could generate some income.

I hear so many lawyers complain about the system - are there any particular problems that you can solve that would add value to others? Is there anyway to help other lawyers have clients funneled to them? Is there anyway to manage or streamline the paperwork process that you can pass along to others in the form of a software? Or is there a way to help lawyers who also hate the profession transition out of it?

These are the things you want start your search - seek out a problem that needs a solution and is that solution something that is marketable? Scalable? Try something, see where it leads you - assess and adapt.

Good luck - it's tough and I look forward to seeing your progress!
 

Rabby

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Good job avoiding the sunk cost fallacy and doing what you want to do. Your skills and legal knowledge will be helpful, whatever problem you end up solving.

Sad how looking for business ideas just leads people into the hole of worse kinds of jobs. Sometimes the direct approach leads in the wrong direction.

Trap to avoid: persisting as the center of the business. Even when you knoooowwww not to do this, it can work just like the "business idea" search. One minute you're trying to figure out why you don't have enough time to do anything, the next, instead of remembering that your job is to build tools and repeatable processes and externalize your work, you're instead reading productivity tips and downloading time management apps and filling your own calendar with work. Don't fall for it!
 

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