YOUR EARS!!! Your ears are the single most underutilized research tool and THEY. ARE. FREE. Listen when people talk!!!
Guess what? People LOVE to complain. They complain about absolutely everything. In those complaints lie some of the best business ideas. I work in an environment with literally hundreds of unhappy attorneys. I used to, and still do to an extent, loathe the amount of whining and daydreaming I heard. I used to just pump music through my earbuds at ridiculous levels to drown out the sound of people wallowing in their underacheivement. Then I started listening. I realized that many of the people that annoyed me the most had dreams and just couldn’t figure out how to reach them. I started hosting “get your shit together” planning & accountability sessions and realized I had a real thing. I became an office resource for people who were starting business or law firms but need a little marketing help or someone with a good eye.
Content creation can be a bit of a struggle for me. So, I started asking pointed questions about my coworkers’ struggles and LISTENING to and recording their answers. I use the information to create content. I elaborate on their questions through blog posts. I’m also using that information to compile an ebook for new businesses.
Listening to the needs of others validates your ideas. So often, we as creatives come up with these brilliant ideas for businesses but there is no NEED in our market. So guess what, we “fail.” Observing the repeated complaints of others takes the guesswork out of knowing where to locate your audience. THEY ARE IN YOUR PRESENCE and that is half the battle.