Christmas may be over.
But your chance to realize your dream of self-bossing may just be starting.
It definitely was for Josh Trees.
Josh’s light bulb moment came in 1997 when he launched a business installing holiday lights.
In three short years, We Hang Christmas Lights saw a net profit of about $138,000!
Here’s how Josh did it – and as you’ll soon learn, how you can too.
The biggest reason we either never start a business or launch one only to quickly peter out isn’t a lack of money or time.
The reason dreams die is because we give up too soon.
When I started the Changing Course newsletter 25 years ago I made a little money – very little. It took at least five years before I made enough to live on.
Josh told The Penny Hoarder that he likely lost money his first year.
But he didn’t give up.
Success requires patience and PERSISTENCE.
Recognize That Most Problems Are Just Opportunities in Disguise
You desperately want to follow your own work road.
So one day you come up with a great new business idea.
You’re super excited… but then your mind jumps to all of the potential challenges.
So you abandon your idea and with it your dream.
Look, there’s going to be challenges with any endeavor. It’s called life.
Fortunately, most problems are nothing more than an opportunity in disguise.
Let’s use the Christmas light installation business as an example.
What kinds of things would worry you? How about…
Is there a really big need for holiday lighting?
It’s a great question. No matter what the business, you should first consider, is this market likely to grow or shrink?
Baby Boomers are aging. Families are busier than ever.
That means the demand to hire younger people to take overhanging lights and other formerly do-it-yourself jobs will only increase.
It’s a seasonal business, how will I pay the bills for the rest of the year?
Did I mention Josh made six figures in year three?
Two decades later his residential and commercial light hanging business appears to be more than booming.
If the potential to earn six figures works for you, then you can work hard during the holiday season and enjoy a less hectic pace for the rest of the year.
Or you can have a different business in the off-season.
Then again, who says lighting has to be a seasonal business?
Christmas will always be the busiest season for lighting.
But there’s plenty of year-round opportunity to do wedding lights, outdoor party lights, indoor special events, and landscape lighting.
No way I want to be up on a ladder!
Who says YOU have to be the one on the roof? That’s what hired workers are for!
Besides, there are plenty of other things you can do like… marketing, operations, customer service, and of course, depositing those big five-figure checks from installing lights at malls, businesses, and other big commercial jobs!
How will I find and keep reliable workers, especially seasonal ones?
As for finding installers, Josh already figured this one out for you.
All you have to do is connect with local landscaping, roofing, pool or solar installers, tree trimmers and seasonal companies that often lay off help once it turns cold.
Since valued seasonal workers are more apt to stick around if they know they have work year-round, it’s a win-win for you, these business owners and the workers themselves.
And to retain his workers, one of Josh’s students incentivizes them by adding an extra $1 per hour each week that they stayed on through January when displays need to be taken down.
Did you catch the “student” part? More on that in a second.
I have no idea where to begin.
With this or any business, you don’t need to know where to begin. You just need to know who does, and learn from them.
Fast Track Your Dream
Josh says one reason he didn’t make money his first year is because he made lots of costly mistakes including throwing money away on cheap lights.
The reason he made six figures two years later is that Josh learned from those mistakes.
Which is why today, Josh is also in the training business helping others avoid those mistakes so they can make money more quickly.
After all, once you figure out how to make money in whatever business, you’re now in a position to help other people fast track their dream by teaching them what you know.
That’s what I did.
In 2006 I started teaching other entrepreneurially-minded people how to get paid to brainstorm.
Today I’ve shown over 300 people from 19 countries how to be an “outside the job box” career coaches who can connect the dots between what a client loves to do and how they can make money doing it.
Josh went one step further and created an entire association.
Today, in addition to offering 2-day business start-up trainings in cities around the US, the Christmas Light Installation Professionals Association (CLIPA) hosts an annual conference for their growing ranks of dues-paying members.
How are students doing?
The first year investment in lights and other equipment means some students will start out breaking even and then build from there.
One early student saw significant growth.
Roofing contractor Jeff Krall says it would have taken a couple of years to learn how to do things like light rooflines, wrap trees, or make his own extension cords.
But thanks to the CLIPA training, Jeff learned this and more in a couple of days.
And it paid off.
In its first Christmas season, Jeff estimates his company, American Holiday Lights, served around 30 customers.
Soon his several dozen employees were lighting that many houses in a single day.
With an average price of $1,400 to $1,500 per house – you do the math!
It’s worth repeating, growing any business requires effort and patience.
But being willing to invest in the right training from the start can make a world of difference.
Obviously, installing Christmas tree lights isn’t the right business for everyone. Still, the three core lessons remain the same:
- Set realistic expectations of how quickly your business will generate revenue and don’t give up when things aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like. Effort and persistence are the cornerstones of all success.
- Recognize that most opportunities come disguised as problems. Make a list of the potential challenges you may face in your new business. Then generate ways each challenge could be met.
- Education remains the best way to fast track your dream. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
You can read a book or subscribe to a magazine in your niche (be sure to peruse the ads for clues as to how other people are making money from this interest area).
Or to grow even faster, you can invest in an in-depth how-to course.
The bottom line: There are unlimited ways to make money doing what you love.
You only need to take the first step.