Yaneek Page | Making money from your motor vehicle
QUESTION: I'm an aspiring artiste/songwriter/producer who is interested in business. I'm currently working but it's not sufficient to meet my needs. I want to start my own business because I'm not financially strong. I have a lot of ideas brainstorming that I greatly would want to try and start. I have a small car that I have been repairing. It's taking most of my funds but I have the intention of using it for business purposes, as in to do sales work or charter work. I'm wondering if I should continue to fix it even though it's straining my pocket. I honestly do need some advice on how to go forward.
BUSINESSWISE: Stop fixing the car and straining your pocket until you have made a decision on which business you will start and have completed financial projections that show when you will likely see a return on every dollar spent on fixing and maintaining that motor vehicle.
I am going to walk you through how you would decide between using your car for 'sales work' or 'charter work', but first let's take a step back and consider what you really want to do with your life.
Based on your query, it seems that a career in music, which can enable you to live comfortably and enjoy financial security, is your ultimate goal. Music is clearly your passion and likely where you have considerable talent and strengths. However, none of the businesses you're considering are related to your hopeful career or can advance your dream.
What seems to be happening is that you are eager to earn more money, you have a car at your disposal, and you want to put the vehicle to work. The problem with this approach is that you're getting ready to hustle without plan or reason and may end up losing your investment, wasting time and putting yourself in serious debt, which I'll explain under choosing between sales work and charter work.
SET SMART GOALS
If the goal is a music career, I recommend creating a three to seven-year plan to achieve two or three short- or medium-term SMART goals - SMART being an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant to your Vision and Time-bound. So, just as an example, instead of a vague goal like 'I want to have a successful career in music', a SMART goal would be 'to become a sought-after songwriter for established local gospel artistes and earn an annual income of at least US$60,000 by May 2021'.
The more specific you become about what you want to do, who you want to serve, the quality you plan to deliver and how much you plan to earn is the better your chance of creating a credible plan to achieve it. The magic is in the details.
To strengthen your career planning, I strongly suggest evaluating your talents by taking a personality/strengths profile test. There are several you can do online for free or for US$10-$30. Then make a list of the earning opportunities that are aligned with your talents, interests and market demand.
Next, detail the education and training you need to build skills, talents in the key areas, experience needed, possible networks, organisations and connections that could help. Take the time to watch YouTube videos on life-mapping, personal goal-setting and visioning, which are great methodologies for helping to achieve career and life success.
Finally, try finding a mentor with experience in the music industry. Even if you can't get the ideal prospect to commit to a structured mentoring relationship, find creative ways to engage and get guidance - like following him/her on social media and building a relationship where you can ask questions, study their journey, get tips, insights, and so on.
SALES OR CHARTER WORK
By now, I hope you will seriously reconsider whether hustling your car will achieve your ultimate professional and personal goals. If it does, then choosing between using your car for charter or sales will require an evaluation of the market potential, financial viability and requirements for each vis-a-vis your own needs, strengths and available resources.
Because you need more money and don't have the luxury of time or a security blanket if you fail, you should consider the option with a ready, immediate market.
Using the car to experiment with selling goods like clothes, jewellery, hair, chemicals, etc - which people commonly do - is not a ready market. In fact, you will need to invest in stock, find and service several individual customers, manage credit, and subject yourself to the risk if being robbed of daily cash sales, among many other concerns. The simplest example of a ready, low-risk market is a prospective contract for sales deliveries on behalf of a company, or a prospective contract to transport staff for a company or organisation. It's where you have willing, ready and reliable customers you can lock in to with long-term agreements who will pay you consistently.
I'm pushing you towards charter rather than sales to minimise the risk of failure, cash flow and problems. If you do decide to use your vehicle for hire or commercial purposes, remember that requires a different road licence and insurance coverage. To learn more about the requirements, consult the website of the Transport Authority.
- Yaneek Page is an entrepreneur and trainer, and creator/executive producer of The Innovators TV series.