We all think of starting something fresh each January, whether it’s a diet, a savings account or a new business. There are tons of ways to lose weight and save money, but where can you get input on how to find your new venture? It needs to be something that makes you happy. You want to start something you’ll enjoy. And, you want to reinvent your life with a new business venture that you feel passionate about. How do you even begin to figure out what that looks like?

I’m here to help. First, you’ll need to get a notebook. This will be the place where you’ll keep your findings. At the end of the following exercises you should have a really good idea of where your interests lie. This will guide you to the kind of business you’d like to start.

Your first assignment is to journal your time for a week. I’m not talking about doing the laundry and picking up the kids, I’m talking about what you find yourself doing when you have free time. Where do you spend blocks of time that aren’t devoted to ordinary everyday tasks? What are you doing when you are really happy?

Exercises to Help Find Your New Venture

Next, do some imaginary introductions. If your best friend were introducing you to a stranger at a party, how would she complete the following sentences?

This is my best friend who makes the best_______________.

She is the greatest person if you need someone to _______________.

I really love her______________.

How she ______________ is amazing.

Here are some examples:

“Her perennial gardens are beautiful.”

“She makes the best lemon chicken ever.”

“She helped me clean out my garage in one afternoon.”

“She is so good at putting together photo books.”

In your notebook, write down how you’d be introduced. Do you notice a trend? Is there something that you’re really good at, but had never thought about as a business venture?

The next assignment is to imagine what you would do if you were given one hour, one day, a full week – with no commitments. What would you do? Where would you go? What would you want to share with others? Would you go to the gym, take a yoga class, bake a cake, plant a garden, take photos, start a blog about travel, redecorate, go antiquing? Write down your dream day or week. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, what would you rather be doing? There is no limit here. If your dream is to be a television host, write that down. There may be a venture in your bigger dreams.

Now, on to creating your wish book with photos. Collect magazine clippings. Gather your favorite magazines and cut out things that you like, speak to you or make you happy. Gather things you’d like to work on. If you prefer, go on Pinterest and create some boards. Look at home, health, fitness, travel, and food magazines or whatever you like to puruse. Chances are, the kinds of magazines you have around you point in the direction of your venture.

Take note of what TV shows you like to watch. Do you find yourself watching cooking shows, exercise shows, travel shows? What feeds your soul? Write about it in your notebook.

Answer these questions

  • Is there something you do that always garners compliments?
  • What talent do other people envy in you?
  • What do you enjoy most?
  • When do you feel most fulfilled?
  • What did you enjoy doing in college, high school, and grade school?
  • What career intrigues you? What do you want to learn more about?
  • What activity or hobby makes you feel energized?
  • What do you envy? Who do you envy? Why?
  • Was there a part-time job you had that you loved?
  • What five things do you want to do before you are 75 years old?
  • What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?
  • Is there something you love to do that you want to turn into a career?

Fill in the blanks

I feel so great and energized when I’m __________________________.

I’ve only done it a couple of times, but I love to ____________________________.

Everyone around me tells me I make a great __________________ and should sell them.

When my friends need help with ________________, they come to me.

In a local talent show, my talent would be ____________________________.

If I were the star of a TV show, it would be about __________________.

Now, your creative juices should be flowing, your notebook filling up, and new ideas germinating. There are no wrong answers, too few answers or too many. Just keep journaling about what makes you happy, what you enjoy doing, what fulfills you, what energizes you, and what you can’t you get enough of.

See What You Have Discovered

After completing these tasks in your notebook, you will have discovered quite a bit about what you are good at and what you love to do.

Summarize in your notebook what kinds of activities make you happy, where those activities take place and who you are with. What do you already do that others would pay you for? All of this information will help you find your new venture. Look at what your notes and answers point to. A clear focus on a particular area should be developing. This is the start of your business development plan for the new year.

Reinvention is so exciting!

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About The Author

Holly Hurd

Holly Hurd is the founder of Venture Mom, a website devoted to covering moms who have their own businesses. Holly has interviewed hundreds of moms with their own ventures, making her uniquely qualified to speak on entrepreneurship for the small start up. Her website offers a free newsletter every week and regular posts featuring the mom created products and services. The VentureMom Shop showcases and sells the products and services of many of the moms she covers. When she was only twenty-five, she was featured in Futures MagazineUSA Today and in Fortune’s “People to Watch” column for her exceptional work managing her own fund on Wall Street. She has put her life experiences to excellent use by creating Venture Mom to support mom-owned businesses.