Wanna Start A Business? Move from being the product to the customer to the creator

It’s the #StartABusiness Challenge… lol. It isn’t. But you should be asking yourself, “Why should I start a business?” Or, more importantly, “Should I start a business?”

That is something that no one should be answering for you, but you. And, in a 2017 world where starting a business is just as easy as coming up with a horrible idea to start a business, no one is going to stop you.

But…

I will help you start if you’re ready.

Before we get to that, let’s consider something that is happening to each of us in business every day. Fair warning, this isn’t meant to get you rich.

You are being sold

A while ago when social networking sites starting popping up (circa MySpace & Friendster) I said to a friend of mine, “if you’re not the customer, you are the product.”

Those words are still true today.

While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all seem to be the best place to spend time online, they are all collecting your behavior and putting a nice little price tag on it. Add Google to the mix and you are being tracked with every character you type and every photo you snap.

You are not anonymous.

And, advertisers love it.

Never has it been so easy for someone to show you their product or service because now they know exactly who is looking for it. The big online sites can take your history and use it to predict your future spending and interests.

This isn’t to scare you, it’s the world we live in. But, you can find ways to exploit it to your advantage.

How to move from being the product to the customer

Even when you sit down at your doctor’s office and say, “it hurts when I do this,” the response from your doctor has totally changed. Gone are the days of, “well don’t do that,” and in are the days of, “I have a new drug for that.”

I hope those aren’t the exact words your doctor uses but the sentiment is there.

Doctors are pitched daily with new drugs from pharmaceutical companies. When the doc prescribes the new meds they get to track how it works because you will certainly be back with a report.

You are the product from the doctor to the pharmaceutical company.

You can become the customer by refusing fad drugs and asking for actual science behind the medicine. Interestingly enough, doctors have a habit of prescribing stuff not because of actual science, but because there is a profit in it and you feel like you should leave their office with something to justify your visit. Take some time and read sites that review doctors.

Take some time and read sites that review doctors.

Similarly, advertisers pay billions to Facebook and Google to get in front of you; billions. The job of these networking platforms is to build a place where they can keep your attention long enough to show you another ad. Radio and TV did the same thing.

But, once you are attentive to how your behavior is being tracked, you can model the behavior that you want the trackers to see and thereby hack the system.

How is that valuable?

I do it all the time. I change the things I look at and the websites I visit just to see what the powers at be will show me. I do it because I’m curious. I change the information in my profile that the social networks pester me to complete.

I want to be less of the product and more of the customer. I would like some say in what I see. And I want it on my terms.

Plus, I own a business. I’m advertising on these platforms, too, so I want to be a better product so I can be a more informed customer.

I’m gaming the system and using it to my advantage.

Offline too

Every time you get a free sample you are signing up to be the product. You are giving someone permission to serve you to their true customer. The person that has leveraged them to bring their product to the masses.

There is nothing wrong with that, though.

It is how business has always been done.

So when you ask, “Why should I start a business?” Or, “what are the advantages?” I will say this.

You already are a business. You have a personal financial economy that you support and are working to operate at a profit.

It is important that you understand that.

Fix your mind so you can move from being the product to the customer.

Then, shift from being the customer to the producer.

Your business interest

Both a serviced based business and an employee are selling the same thing; time.

Your time is valuable even if not to you. Someone has determined the value of your time to their company and are willing to pay you for the value that you bring to each hour.

My question is, “are you limiting yourself?”

I’m not suggesting that everyone quit their job and go become a self-employed entrepreneur.

I am suggesting that there is a lot that we don’t pursue for a variety of reasons.

And, I do encourage you to consider it.

The blog you’ve been considering writing or that home based bakery. What about the fitness classes you considered teaching or exercising your bookkeeping skills?

The customers are out there. I am a likely customer for some of the things you have been sitting on.

Are you going to bring it to the marketplace?

I will help you

In next week’s article, I will introduce some things to consider when starting a business, how online business may fail you, and the tried and true process for starting a side business.

Until then, consider where you may be the product and not the customer.

And of course…

Let’s be better; together.

Rashad

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@rashadpleasant

@rashadpleasant

I am Rashad. I'm an entrepreneur with over 15 years of cultivating relationships, chasing ideas, and over delivering on promises. I want to share some of the things I've learned along the way with you. Hopefully, it will inspire you to define and achieve your personal definition of success.