How to start a business – the ridiculously simple step by step guide

Last week I was teaching 50 people how to find an idea they could make money out of and turn it into their own business. And I realised that far too many people would love to do the same thing but don’t know how to take the very first steps.

So… I created a 2 minute video to show you every step you need to start something to make you money without a job.

Check it out now:

What’s stopping you following these steps?

Leave a comment and let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help…

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  • Rosa

    Great little vid, such good common sense advice that people often forget!

    John, please could I chat to you about using your content on our website –

    We have a lot of content for those who are already on their way, but we are missing content for those who haven’t started yet (I get a lot of people approaching me who simply have a concept and don’t know where to go next, who just need that extra bit of love- perhaps one of your 30 days challenges could help?!?).

    We push out to 11,000 people and I think we could create a great partnership working together, please could you email me on

    Thank you!

  • johnsw

    Hi Rosa. Would love to! I’ll send you an email…

  • You’re going to love the vid interview I did today with my grandma – creative entrepreneur for over 50 years and when I asked her what she would recommend to people that want to make money out of doing what they love she looked at my blankly and said ‘well…what do you mean ‘how do they do it?’. Just do it. Make something, sell it’. She didn’t even get why I was asking HOW do you do it. To her it seems so simple. I think we over complicate things. So this video is bang on. x S

  • Georgie St Clair

    I have two major areas that hold me back. 1) as my mum says, I have a butterfly mind. I’ve got so many ideas and flit between them but never settle for long on one. The other 2) lack of time. I’m a full time mum of 3 with my youngest being 9 months. A hubby that has his own business and now we’re moving house. It feels as if the only spare moments in the day are the ones for sleeping!

    I totally agree with the sentiment in the video, it’s just never that easy. I’m still trying though!

  • johnsw

    Hi Georgie. Yes time does present a challenge. As for choosing an idea, you can do each one in turn. If you flit between them all you’ll do nothing!

  • Jenni

    Hi John,
    Great video, my issue is taking on too much so that my dream remains a dream because it does not get the space it deserves to fly – I am decluttering my schedule as I type.

  • Gemma

    Great video I am trying to work out how to turn my love of academic research into a actual business that doesnt rely on scholarships or govt support. I actually really enjoy deep research and writing and you tend to enjoy things you are good at. I have thought about writing books but i dont know if i am really at that skill level yet.(re cal newports talk on mastery and enjoying what you love) Im trying to work out a way i can capitalise on this skill set out of or in combination with the academic environment.

  • Gianni

    buonasera John, piacerebbe anche a me insegnare agli altri di fare un lavoro che piace ed essere pagati per farlo ! anche insegnare a giocare a tennis mi piace molto, organizzare eventi sportivi e sociali ! Grazie Signor John!!! Gianni

  • Lila

    I love your simplicity John <3

  • Heather

    I literally love an idea i have one day, then wake up the next and think, “how on earth did i even think that had potential!”…and then repeat. I’m also stuck with the idea of starting small. I think i need to focus on teating my ideas first on others and maybe i’ll refine my idea that way. I’m ambitious but indecisive in equal measures!! Best wishes, Heather x

  • Shivam Dhruva

    Hi John, i am from India, and am facing a lot of problems in getting my idea to the market. The problem i face is politics, i never know when my idea is out there with a different name. I need a proper guidance in bringing my idea to the market if you could help me out. Thank You.

  • Sally

    I’m struggling to find something that people want AND I like doing.

  • emm

    I’ve been small-scale self employed doing different things over the years–translation work, silver wildlife jewellery, sushi-making–but each has been so labour-intensive and time-consuming for ilttle money. It’s hard to see how I could scale up to make a decent income…

  • damo

    HI John, how about if you only really love doing 1-2 things and the market place is flooded (photography & filmmaking) you push and push for years and can’t even get people to return your calls. The dilemma for me is to rise above the mass-market. Cheers.

  • johnsw

    Good plan, Jenni

  • johnsw

    Try brainstorming a whole load of options that would fit Gemma. And meanwhile, start a blog on a topic that interests you – see where it takes you.

  • johnsw


  • johnsw

    That’s pinball thinking Heather as I call it in my book. Pick an idea and turn it into a 30 day play project and see what you can create.

  • johnsw

    Can you something about the idea? Have you create a prototype yet?

  • johnsw

    What have you tried so far Sally? Don’t think it out, play it out.

  • johnsw

    Artistic endeavours are tough – there are too many people willing to work for nothing or very little. It can be made to work though if you are determined and throw everything you have at it.

  • Heather Tosh

    Thank you very much for the response John. That’s it exactly. I wonder if it’s common amongst scanners…I’ve just bought the book and love the concept. I intend to pencil it in the diary for next month : ) thanks.

  • johnsw

    Some things like translation work have been commoditised – people will often hire the cheapest competent person.
    Find a way to create something a little more special by doing something that best uses your talents and skills

  • johnsw

    Yep – a big problem for scanners. You’ve got produce stuff, not just have ideas.
    Join us on the 30 Day Challenge in November!

  • Shivam Dhruva

    Yes i have created a prototype of it…. i could mail you the concept and idea…..

  • johnsw

    It sounds like you might be being overprotective of your idea. Unless it’s a product you’re going to patent, that’s usually a bad idea.

  • Lilac Cottage

    Great stuff John: simplicity works every time

  • Deepa

    Hello John, firstly I love this website!So I tried my 1st business idea out last year – quit my (horrid) job and taught dressmaking. It’s not for me,I’m more of a film geek and book worm, but it was a fantastic experience – I learnt heaps and it’s still a fab idea if you have the skills. I have a new idea, but I keep reading negative statements about the industry and this is from pro’s in the game – it keeps throwing me off. I want to get into rare books (I love poetry and Indie Graphic Novels)… rare books on these, film and even the occult would be fun and I want money from it too, so I don’t have to spend eternity trapped in an office! I need to invest in some training and guess I’m worried it won’t work – are rare books not a way to go ( apparently the internet is killing the industry), or should I stop reading those articles? People shunned my 1st business idea until I started getting custom (!) and a website that went to the top of Google, but this is a whole new sector and I would be starting at the bottom, which is fine – I’m willing to graft it if I can believe it will work. Sorry for the essay and thanks any advice would be awesome!

  • johnsw

    Hi Mandeep. A few thoughts for you: Great that you’ve already had a go at one business idea and done a good job of it by the sounds of it.
    Re the rare books, it depends what you’re doing around them. If you’re really determined there might well be a way to make money out of them even if most people don’t – though it might be harder/longer to get to the point you’re making a full time income.

    Re the training, do you really need it? There is a often a way to do find an idea you love without investing in training up front.

    I wonder if there is a Minimum Viable Product you could create very soon (and very cheaply) to prove that what you want to do can make money?

  • Mandeep

    Thanks and you are right, I don’t really need the training. I already have a degree and know how to research for free!I have been doing a lot of brainstorming as well and have come close to an idea of web/rare books and my fav genre – may not make me rich, but it will deffo open new doors and be fun! Thanks again 😀

  • johnsw

    Great! I suspect graphic novels in particular are a good niche to play in