Lesson 1: Find your passion and expertise through skills, abilities and knowledge

In today’s lesson, you’ll examine what skills you currently have and how you can use these skills to develop a strong foundation for your business.

 

We know you're just getting started, but this lesson needs you to dig deep. The more honest you are with yourself, the more you’ll get out of this.

By the end of this lesson, you’ll have a good sense of your knowledge, skills and abilities, which you’ll be able to bring to any business.

Let's work together to answer these three questions:

  1. What are you an expert in?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What is the problem you're trying to solve with your business?

 

Identifying your knowledge and skills

Knowledge is the building block for success and will help you bring value to any business you create. Skills and talents can include what you’re naturally good at, as well as abilities you can develop through experience and training. Knowing what you’re great at, and your limits, is the first step to developing your business idea. These are skills you can bring to looking after your business and not necessarily the business itself.

business-woman

Take this example:

Meet Kelly

Kelly is a developer but she is also good at baking. Not only does she love making people happy through her baking but she also can use logic skills and time management from being a developer and transfer those over to everything else she does. Upon starting a baking business, Kelly knows where her skills lie and knows how to use them effectively to build a successful business around them.

Skills fall into one of three main categories:

  • Knowledge-based skills
  • Personal traits
  • Transferable and functional skills

Activity 1: Learning from the past

Let's start by doing this skills audit worksheet. Print it out or download it and highlight which skills you’ve used in the past. Then make a note of all the ones you've truly enjoyed.

It’s also important to identify the skills you’re lacking but will need to develop your business – but more on this later. Hopefully, this activity gives you a clear idea of the different skills and abilities you’ve used in the past. It is something you can add to and reference in the future.

A great way to see where we're going is to analyse where we’ve come from.

Everyone was a child at some point. Maybe now you're a parent. Or you're a gardener. A baker, an electrician, an artist, a gym junkie or fan of TV or books. No matter what you are, you're still a student. Because you're always learning new skills.

Each of these roles comes with its own set of skills. For example, as a parent you may have developed time management, budgeting and delegation.

As a university student, you’ve developed skills in learning, communication and working to deadlines.

If you’ve ever volunteered, you’ve likely displayed active listening skills, planning skills, and money handling.

In the past, you’ve probably moved towards what you’re good at. Other influences are what people around you do, and what you’re expected to do for work. Now’s the time to think about what skills you’ve gathered throughout that time.

Activity 2: Focus on the roles you’ve had

Following on from what you've learned in the last activity, think back to all the roles you’ve played in your life, whether it’s through your past work experience, volunteering, and other life stages.

For this exercise, download the worksheet and fill the two colums in as much as you can:

You might notice a slight overlap in some of the roles you’ve previously performed and the ones you’ve done well. This is a great starting place to find where your business fits in the market so you can use your skills effectively.

Other useful questions to ask yourself:

  • How long are you prepared to develop your skills and business idea?
  • Are you under any time constraints?
  • Are you under any financial constraints?
  • Are you looking to monetise your hobby?
  • Are you looking for autonomy or freedom?
  • Are you interested in following your passion, building your current skill set or developing an entirely new set of skills?

These questions, and the answers you give, will all lead back to why you want to create your business in the first place.

You don’t have to know all the answers straight away. But it might be a good idea to have these questions in the back of your mind in the next lesson.

What springs to mind when you think of ‘business’?

Some people think of it as working at the restaurant of their choice, others think of working from their home office. Let’s run through the main options and see what appeals to you:

  • Part time, temporary and contract work
  • Self-employment (either through a home-based office or co-working space)
  • Remote work (you can carry this out from anywhere, including another country)
  • Location-based work (i.e. You need a kitchen for baking)
  • A mix of these

Again, these answers will help you focus on building that foundation for your business, piece by piece.

Now with all that in mind, ask yourself again:

  1. What are you an expert in?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What is the problem you're trying to solve with your business?

Do you have some clearer answers this time around? If so, that's great!

book-open

In the next lesson

We'll take you through brainstorming techniques and narrow your focus. By the end of next lesson, you’ll be able to answer what issues you’re trying to solve for your customers, and if people are willing to pay for you to solve their issues.

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