Know Thyself

Januar 13, 2014 8 mins to read

The Restart is based upon creating opportunity, since most often you’ll find yourself stuck in a situation where there’s no obvious way out. Restarters find their own ways and create opportunities where there was no opportunity before.

You have to find your own way through the struggles by empowering your individual strengths.

Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: „What do I want to do for the rest of my life?“ Do that! I promise you can monetize that shit! If you love Alf, do an Alf blog. You collect smurfs? Smurf it up! – Gary Vaynerchuk

It took me a few months to uncover what I’m really passionate about: enriching peoples lives by using technology.

In my job I was just using technology, what made me somewhat happy. But only since I started my online business I’m feeling energized when I’m getting out of bed. In fact, I’m writing this at 5am in the morning after 5 hours of sleep, because this is work I can’t not do.

Over time I understood that being employed is the fastest way to blur the awareness of your strengths.

Most often you’re working on projects you’re not passionate about and thus you’re not aware of your passions in everyday life. You subconsciously loose track of your true passions.

For your Restart you’re going to build an online business. It’s a challenging process that won’t be easy. You’ll encounter situations in which you’ll question this whole process and in which your comfort zone tries to pull you back into a job.

Maybe you’ll follow the Restart 101 on the side while being employed, maybe besides studying for a degree, maybe while you’re unemployed.

In any case you need to bring your personal passions into play, because you’ll want to build an online business that supports you in the long term.

That’s why you need to be absolutely clear about your strengths, passions and interests. Focusing on these will bring drastic changes to your life:

  1. Working on a business built around your passion won’t feel like working.
  2. Building your business will make you feel energized, even though you’re spending your free time on it (until you can replace your paycheck).
  3. You will be enthusiastic all day, because you know that you’re building a new opportunity based upon your passion.

As you’re building a business on the side, you need to love what you sacrifice your free time for. Passion is the key to consistent action. And if you do one small step towards your goals everyday, you’ll get there.

Analyzing Your Expertise and Skills

To successfully do the Restart, you need to become known as expert in your field. People don’t buy from people who aren’t accepted as experts, that’s why you’re going to become one.

Don’t worry, it’s not that hard when you’re passionate. Experts are defined to be one single step ahead of the target audience. Just one step. Normally you already are an expert in the fields you’re passionate about.

Over time I understood how to uncover people’s individual passions and interests. The upcoming exercise will help you to find your passion quickly, much faster than the months it took myself.

These questions give you a first insight on your strengths.

  1. What can you do better than most other persons in your environment?
  2. What activity makes the time fly by and makes you truly enthusiastic?
  3. What do you love to do?
  4. What do you want to become good at?
  5. What would you do, even without getting paid?
  6. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
  7. What goals do you want to achieve in life?

Take your time to answer the questions. There is no need to answer all questions at once if you’re not able to. It might take you a few minutes, but it can also take hours.

After you answered the questions, take a look at your answers on the next day. Are those answers still correct or did you get new insights over night?

The first time I did this exercise took me a few hours, because I just didn’t understand what made me happy, the job made all my passions blurry and I had to uncover them one by one.

Imagine a situation where you are in your element, doing things that you love, surrounded with people who make you happy. What are you doing in this situation?

This exercise is important because it’ll serve as foundation for your online business. Passion is what drives the successful entrepreneurs and what differentiates them from mediocre business people.

Your Restart will be based around your passion, so make sure to be totally honest with yourself.

Finding a Business Opportunity

Knowing your passion and fields of personal interest is important, but it’s not enough to successfully build an online business that supports your Restart.

You need to find a business opportunity, to serve existing needs that aren’t served yet or that you could serve better than existing businesses.

This took me another few weeks and it can be a real pain not to know whether you’re climbing a ladder that’s reared against the right wall. The uncertainty of building an online business without knowing that the opportunity exists can be devastating.

Over the timeframe of a few weeks I learned this exercise to get a first insight whether my skills fit an existing market and whether it’s a good idea to put more effort into building a business around my passion.


Competition shows that businesses are existing successfully in a market, it’s validating a market. So competition isn’t bad, but a sign that you can earn money.

  1. Do businesses exist in the field you want to target?
  2. What type of products are sold successfully?
  3. How do buyers benefit from the products sold?
  4. Could you differentiate your business from existing ones?

I don’t recommend entering a market with no competition, because it’s likely that you’re not the first human on Earth having that skill you want to build your business around. Most likely somebody else already tried and failed because there was no opportunity in the market.

Serving a Need

After you see competition in your market, it’s time to analyze the customers needs. There’s only one common denominator for profitable businesses: they solve people’s problems.

The more people you can serve, the more money you can earn. Sounds easier than it is, so let’s have a look on customers needs.

  1. What problems are existing products solving?
  2. What advice are people asking for in forums or on social media?
  3. What kind of problems are publicly aware in your market?
  4. Do you have the confidence that you could create a product solving existing problems and needs?
  5. Can you create products that are better and/or different than existing products?

Everyday Life in Business

Building an online business is only one side of the medal. The other is the daily business.

How would you feel running your business day by day? You need to be comfortable in the daily business, otherwise you’re just switching from one treadmill to another.

  1. What would your daily routines look like?
  2. What kind of clients will you have and are you happy to deal with them?
  3. What tasks are related to your business that you’re not passionate about?
  4. Will you need investors and will you be able to keep them satisfied by delivering promised results?
  5. Will you enjoy running your business for the next 5 – 10 years?
  6. Can you leverage other people’s strengths to grow your business?
  7. Is your business scalable or are you limited by the time you can work?

The Next Steps

This post should give you an insight on your personal strengths and the market that you can serve.

We’ll explore the market in more detail in the next post, for now it’s important to focus on your passion and skills.

Don’t bother if you’re not sure how to monetize your strengths, we’ll cover that later. Just ensure that you at least know your strengths and that you’ve found a topic to build your online business around.

If you’re struggling with defining your skills, shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to get you unstuck.

4 Comments on “Know Thyself”

  1. Oh brother, all those situations where the f*cking comfort zone kicks in…I experience them every day. Yet I know that each time I pushed myself away, I got the best out of my life….

    You know Jan, technology, blogging, and trying to help people give me energy and motivation as well. This is what we do with passion. This is what we are built for. And if this is the way we can get the best of us and help others, then let’s do it. Let’s work smart and be passionate.

    Let’s try to make a change!

    1. Jan Koch
      Januar 14, 2014

      what you say really goes into my heart!

      The comfort zone really is challenging in everyday lives, but that’s a part of being a Restarter and growing yourself. When people are aware of their comfort zone (like you and me) they have the awesome chance to build a lifestyle they never dreamed of, because they simply go further than others and experience more.

      I agree that we are built to influence people with he help of blogging and technology. In fact, the more I think about technology, the more I get convinced that humanity needs more education in using computers to enhace our everyday lives. Technology is a tool that we still learn how to use and to understand.

      I’m getting lots of emails and feedback from people who learn from my resources and the ones I’m sharing, so I think we’re already making a difference. Let’s make this difference even more and reach as many people as we can!

  2. Yes, let’s be an inspiration for one another! 😀

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