We’re all different

I’ve talked about looking for the right business for you in terms of your money and your aspirations to make more money. But we all have different preferences in terms of what we do day by day and how we want to live our lives, and this too will influence what type of business you want to go with.

Let’s think this through

Introvert versus extrovert

We’re all at a different place on the spectrum between introversion and extroversion, and this can be change over our lifetimes. I’m definitely more introverted than I was in my twenties, but a lot more extrovert than when I was a child. This can be an important factor in how we want to spend our time – introverts need their space and can’t cope easily with lots of people around all the time, and extroverts will go a bit crazy if they are stuck in their spare room with just the computer for company. If you’d like to know more about the differences, especially how it influences our work, I recommend Susan Cain’s book Quiet.

I’ve tried to bear this in mind when putting together the recipes, so you’ll see that some of them are particularly recommended for people who enjoy their own company, and some are definitely more suited to extroverts who really enjoy networking and face to face sales. This doesn’t mean that you can’t run a e-commerce business like the subscription boxes if you’re an extrovert, you just need to make sure that you’ve getting your fix of other people elsewhere in your life. If you’re an extrovert you might want to go into one of the businesses with a partner, to provide that company and stimulation. And you can still be a connector if you’re an introvert, but you need to make sure that you give yourself some recovery time after a bout of face to face networking and concentrate on the all important organisation of your leads and using email to follow up with people you’ve met personally.

It may well be worth while doing some self discovery by taking an MBTI test and seeing whether you come out as an introvert or extrovert, and getting some other insights into your personality type at the same time. This can be really useful in working out what’s important to you in a business, how comfortable you are with risk, and what role you tend to play in a team situation. The test also gives you some recommendations for careers to choose and careers to avoid, and you can extrapolate from these to some of the business recipes.

I’m an ENTJ, if you’re interested

Your time resources

The amount of time you have to put into a business is even more important than how much money you have. You can always get more money, but there are only 24 hours in a day.
One of the exercises I do with my mentoring clients is often to work out how much time they have to spend on their business, and work out what kind of business they need to develop from this. These are the kinds of patterns I’ve seen from this.

Busy parent

People with young children have less time to spend on their businesses and therefore need to be especially mindful of how they can be very organised and productive. Graham Alcott’s book How to be a Productivity Ninja is very useful here, and helps you be more organised with your home life as well.
You have to weigh up how much time you want to spend on the business as well. I’ve known quite a few fathers in particular who have regretted spending too much time with their business while their children were tiny and missing out on those important moments. Sometimes it’s better to expect to spend less time in the business, and to make sure that you’re prioritising the right things in your life. That doesn’t mean you should expect slower growth, you just have to work in a different way to make space for your children.
And other times, I’ve met people (usually the mums this time) who have regretted not starting their business earlier, when the children were small, because it would have given them a head start on building up the business, even if they’d only had a few hours per week to get started.

Pretty much all of the recipes can be run as part time businesses, at least to start. And it’s definitely better to get started now, rather than waiting for little Freddie to go to school, or go to university, even if you don’t have 8 hours a day to spend on the business.

Health problems

This can affect your time as well, and you need to be able to arrange your business to take account of the ebbs and flows of energy if you have health problems. Don’t try to be super woman, it’s your business and you get to design it as you want it. Being self employed is a great option if you have health problems, you just need to be able to delegate more and manage your client’s expectations about deadlines better than the rest of us.

Semi retired or don’t want to work full time

Sometimes we don’t want to work every day of the week, or we want to work towards a point where we can shut up shop to take more holidays or leave at 4pm every day. Some of the product businesses are great for this as you can build the product with 6 months of super effort and then reduce your hours once you’ve got the business up and running. The online business recipes are also great, because you can be more flexible about the hours you work and only take on jobs that you want to do. The online businesses also lend themselves to delegating tasks to other people, leaving you free to go swimming or write your novel from 9am to 12pm.

It’s not just the amount of time you have that might be different to the regular folks. It might also be that you want to live a different lifestyle.

Digital nomads

Being location independent or working from anywhere used to be just for the coders and techies who could plug in their laptops in Thailand and get a days work done before going to the beach at 2pm. Now, people are running all kinds of businesses from all around the world, and their customers don’t necessarily need to know where they are.
If you’re interested in a digital nomad lifestyle, then don’t just look at the online business recipes – take a look at some of the others and think about how you could set up that business with a team of people in different countries, or with a team in your target country, while you co-ordinate operations and do the marketing from your various AirBnB flats around the world. Mish Slade’s books on working from anywhere are particularly useful and inspirational here.

Health nuts

People tend to assume that setting up a new business will be all consuming, and not leave time for the other things in your life. But if you’re training for a triathlon, or love to do your yoga class every day, you can definitely work this into all of the businesses here.


Maybe you were the unpopular kid at school. Maybe you don’t fit in to your world right now. Running your own business allows you a degree of freedom over your lifestyle that a regular job often doesn’t give you space to enjoy being a bit different.
Again, don’t just think about the online businesses that allow you to hide your identity behind your brand and your computer – work out what you really want to be known for and go out and create something great. And it’s amazing how much more tolerant people are of a different lifestyle if you have a successful business and some good money coming in.

Photo credit – Diversity by istolethetv, from flickr on a creative commons licence