Want to find your dream business? All you have to do is connect the dots!
But which dots?
Traditional career coaches are all about helping clients find the perfect job-job.
So they work with dots like skills assessments, personality profiles, resumes, and job search tools.
But, if you want to do your own thing then you need to connect a very different set of dots.
Over my two decades at Changing Course, I’ve come up with some 60 potential dots.
Once you know what to look for, you’re able to quickly make that all important connection between the things you like to do and ways to turn those interests into income.
I’m going to share some of the dots I used to turn a 53-year-old change seeker named Roy on to a fun and potentially lucrative business idea.
And you can use these same dots to discover your dream business too!
Or you can just steal one of the many ideas you’ll find here!
Step 1: Identify the Dots
The “What Do I Want My Life to Look Like” Dot
I’ve talked about my signature Life First-Work Second approach to career planning before.
In a nutshell — Roy doesn’t need a new job… he needs a whole new LIFE!
After spending most of his career in IT, Roy is burned out on spending 40-plus hours a week sitting at a desk and staring at a monitor.
But it goes beyond just working in tech.
Roy does what I call “head work.” And now he’s eager to find a way he can work with his hands.
He mostly wants to work on his own. But Roy is also open to working with a partner.
The Happiness Dot
Roy has lots of gifts and interests.
Among them, he enjoys being handy. He can get lost tinkering in his workshop or garage.
The Experience Dot
Let me be clear on this one.
Lack of experience or a track record should never be a barrier. There are ways to acquire both.
That said, turns out that while he was in the military Roy used to supplement his meager salary by repairing and selling used washer/dryers to other young families on the base.
Step 2: Look for Ways to Monetize
The Opportunity Dot
This is where you take the known dots above, and connect them to one or more income-generating opportunities.
Opportunities come in the different forms. It could be…
- a problem, complaint, or threat
- the desire to work with or otherwise cater to a particular demographic group
- a particular interest or hobby
- a personal experience or crisis
- a growing or shrinking trend – BINGO!
The Enormous Trend in Vintage Restoration
As Roy and I talked, I instantly thought of a company out of northwest Georgia called Antique Appliances.
The company does a thriving business restoring vintage stoves and refrigerators from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Some of the appliances are ones they buy, repair, and sell themselves.
However, most of their work is done on commission by clients looking for refurbished appliances that will fit in with their period home or business.
The All Important “Money Dot”
Some opportunities hold the potential to generate more income than others.
That’s why before you begin any new venture you need to do your homework.
A great place to start is to see what other people are charging.
At Antique Appliances I found this 1930 Frigidaire 2-door selling for $12,000!
And this 1951 mint green Chambers stove is priced at $7,800.
Coincidentally, I once rented a house with a Chambers stove just like this one only white.
I LOVED that stove – especially the griddle!
When I moved out my landlord wanted to take it to the dump.
I was so upset I paid to have it carted to my new house, stored it in my garage for a few years, then sold it for a couple hundred bucks.
Somebody got a great deal on that one!
The Demand Dot
Ok, so we know people will pay thousands of dollars for a restored appliance.
But is there really enough market demand for Roy to jump in?
Another visit to Antique Appliances and I learned that as of April, the company had approximately 159 antique appliances under contract for restoration.
The wait for gas stoves is two years and for electric ones, a year.
And if you want to get your vintage refrigerator restored, you’ll have to wait 36 months!
Knowing this, do you think Roy – or anyone who loves working with their hands and has a willingness to learn a new skill – would be wise to get in on the vintage appliance trend?
Other Vintage Restoration Opportunities
Appliances aren’t the only way to cash in on the restoration boom.
And if the prices they’re pulling in at Steel Vintage in the UK are any indication, vintage bicycles present a great opportunity as well.
(If you really want to dig deep into the vintage bike world, check out this list of resources courtesy of The Ann Arbor Bicycle Show.)
Once you settle on a product, Craigslist, eBay, garage and estate sales, old barns in rural areas are all good places to either find or advertise for vintage stuff in need of repair.
Not Just for Men
Bailey Sisson is one of three mechanics at Nova Motorcycles vintage repair shop up the road from me in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
According to her bio, after growing up in a family of machinists, “she realized she wanted to be a mechanic professionally when she discovered the art and pleasure of making things work perfectly.”
Adding that Bailey, “…has a strong desire to leave things better than she found them.”
And check out this You Tube video about Carlita Belgrove AKA “The Stove Lady” in Yonkers, New York
After 30 years in business Belgrove Appliances must be doing something right!
Look for “how to” books
I couldn’t find one specifically on appliances… which itself presents an opportunity to team up with a restorer to write one.
But there are books on repairing vintage and other items.
If you’re open to exploring possibilities, go to Amazon and type in: How to repair vintage [leave the what part blank] – and see what comes up!
Look for “how to” videos on You Tube
I didn’t find any training videos that take you soup-to-nuts.
But there are some shorter ones where you can pick up some tips.
Or see if you can find other sites like PopMachines.com where they post photos that break down the restoration process one stage at a time.
There are lots of magazines out there that cater to the vintage and antique markets:
Join the club — literally
Sure their website looks like something out of the 1980s… (Another opportunity?)!
But what matters are the how-to manuals and other benefits available to members of the Old Appliance Club.
Apprentice with someone
Years ago a local bookbinder named Bill Streeter used to take on apprentices.
Every three months another student would happily plunk down $3,000 for the chance to learn from a master craftsman.
Go to school
Better Yet… Start Your Own School
You don’t need to be handy to cash in on the vintage restoration craze.
The biggest challenge for Roy – or anyone who needs to learn a new hands-on skill – is lack of experience.
But remember, problems are just opportunities in disguise.
Are you organized?
Do you like setting up events or programs?
Have a background in education?
Are you a go-getter who likes to make things happen?
Any of these things position you to partner with an existing company who likes the “idea” of establishing a training business but doesn’t have the time to make it happen on their own.
Or just hire one or two people who know the repair end and start your own.
Let’s say you charge $5,000 tuition.
All you need are 40 students a year and you’ve got yourself a nice little $200,000 a year business!
Remember, changing course starts with a great idea… and the willingness to act on it.
FREE OFFER: Need Help Connecting the Dots to YOUR Dream Business?
Do you have no clue what it is you even love to do?
Or, do you know what you love to do, but have no clue how to make money doing it?
Life is short my friend.
Click here now to discover more about how my surprisingly affordable Outside the Job Box brainstorming session can help you.
Be among the first three people to schedule your consultation and you’ll receive my inspirational ebook – a $19 value!
So, if you’re ready to take control over your time and life and work at what you love – give me a call!
And, if you liked this article… please share the love!