Have you ever made something yourself? Is there anything that you made when you were young? Have you made something yourself recently?
I suppose the key question really is: do you want to make something yourself?
You see, not everyone wants to make something for themselves. Yet, there are people now who are realising that by making something they may be able to ensure a future income for themselves. But this doesn’t mean that you can come up with anything. It does mean, however, that you need to come up with something that will have an advantage or benefit for a specific market niche or segment.
I have had the privilege of visiting many morning markets around the country and I’ve been amazed by the startling products I have found. One retired man came up with a line of skin care lotions that is as good as anything that you can get manufactured by the giant corporations. Another makes the most fine quality smoked process meats and other delicatessen items. Yet another, a sculptor, is making “cradle dolls” that are exquisite and fetch anything from R500 to R3,000. On a recent visit to a market I discovered that one man had come up with a kitchen sink vegetable board and basin that you can’t get in shops. This is a convenient, easy-to-use product – and it’s doing well.
These are just a few of the physical products that people who want to make things for themselves have started. Others are coming up with ideas to make what you could call “intellectual” products such as services. You just need to look at what is happening online to see how young people have come up with apps for smartphones (think of what’s impact Uber is now making). I would even consider starting a kindergarten as an “intellectual” service that you have to make yourself.
I recently came across an example of a teacher who has just retired and wants to get a kindergarten off the ground. But here’s the rub: she has tried but not got it going. So, because of her financial circumstances, she has to go teach delinquents at a rough school in a very rough neighbourhood. She is hating every minute of it but it doesn’t seem that she is putting enough energy into developing her kindergarten. Let’s hope she will.
You might say it’s difficult to come up with something of your own. Yes, it can be. But if you have the right tools, methods and processes, it can be within your reach. Find the best such training materials, advice and coaching and you too could come up with something of your own. It may not be financially viable at first but if you keep at it it may grow into something that could provide a handy little income for you. But, as they say, whatever you do, you must have passion or fire for it.
Disclaimer: I have started five small businesses, one of which failed and the other four which ran successfully.