If you’re going to switch to any kind of self-employment or try to start your own business, one of the most fundamental skills you will need is reducing risk.  Quitting a steady job to pursue your own business is financially risky, so you need to take steps to reduce that risk before you take the plunge.


One way you can reduce risk is to create your business in a market that is already proven to make money.  You don’t need to innovate and come up with something incredible that has “never been done before.”  These kinds of ideas are exciting, but also very risky, because you don’t know if people would be willing to pay money for them.  It’s much safer to imitate a business that already exists.

You should imitate other businesses because they have paying customers.  Think about it: if someone is in a certain business, it is because they have paying customers that are keeping that business afloat.  If customers were not willing to pay, it would have gone out of business a long time ago.  Imitating a proven business ensures that you are tapping into a market of customers that are willing to pay for your services.

But why would we need another business that’s already been done?  Well, how many pizza restaurants do you have in your town?  How many burger joints?  How many laundromats?  You can probably think of several of each of these.  Don’t be afraid to imitate a business and compete with it.

…and Differentiate

How do you compete with the businesses you’re imitating?  By differentiating.  Find some way to make your business better.  Stand out from the crowd.  If you can do a better job than your competitors, you will win customers and keep them.

Here are a few ways you can differentiate your business from your competitors:

  • Better products
  • Lower prices
  • Better customer service
  • Wider and more creative advertising

If you can differentiate with these factors, you will stand out from the crowd and customers will keep coming back to you.

I hope you see now that there is no need to innovate. Brainstorming new, creative, and innovative ideas is a lot of fun, but implementing them is risky.  When your self-employment job – your livelihood – is on the line, you need to pick safer courses of action.  Succeeding is much easier if you enter into a market that is already proven.