Going from Employee to Entrepreneur

“What business should I start?” — That’s a question I get asked A LOT from people fed up of working in a traditional 9–5 job.

Kudos on your desire to take control of your own job security, but that’s the wrong question to ask.

See the world has changed and while there has never been a better time to start a business, it’s also never been harder to get a customer because personal problems are abundant and trust has been eroded.

The “build it and they will come” mentality no longer works 99% of the time. The other 1% is another story and involves chasing greatness — not building a business.

So for those of you already in a job and are thinking about starting your own business, here’s the right question to ask using an Entrepreneurial Mind:

“What problem can I solve?”

This is an entirely different focus to “I’ve got skills in X and people need that so I’m going to start a business.”

This is a much easier way to sell your products / services. All you have to do is approach people who have that specific problem and DEMONSTRATE how your products/services solve that problem for them.

And you should test your idea out even before you start your business by building/creating a MINIMUM viable product/service.

If people pull out their wallets and buy from you, then you know you have a viable business. If they don’t, then it’s back to the drawing board.

An Example of Business Failure — Avoided

I’m working right now with a retired accountant overseas (let’s call her Sally!) who wants to start a business teaching spoken English. Sally believes she can make a lot of money because there are plenty of other spoken english classes around — so it must be in demand.

Sally already spent a lot of money finding a suitable premises and fitting it out as a classroom. She then came to me to help her with marketing. When I asked her about her value proposition and her target market, all she could tell me was that she was teaching spoken english to anyone who wanted to learn.

So I told her to get 3 potential students and ask them a bunch of questions to gather what problems they had. She said she couldn’t do that because that’s not how things worked in her country. “I have to advertise and then I will get hundreds!”

So Sally went ahead and spent some more money and ran some ads.

No one came. No one inquired. No one cared.

Sally was heartbroken. She’d spent so much money already thinking this would be amazing but in the end it didn’t work out. She felt like chucking in the towel and trying to find a job instead. But then she thought no one would hire her because of her age.

So Sally gave it one last shot and tried what I suggested. She found some students and asked them about their challenges and desires with regards to learning English. Their answers were pure gold and Sally found out a tonne of useful information that we then used to build her a successful marketing campaign. We focused on solving student problems and her first class got booked out within a few weeks. Also based on the insights we gained, Sally discovered an additional revenue stream by offering English tuition to school children as well. Now she’s able to recover her startup costs quicker and reach profitability sooner.


This is the essential nuts and bolts of how to use Entrepreneurial Thinking to start a successful business. There’s a lot more depth to the topic but if you follow the steps outlined in the pic below you’ll definitely be ahead of the business failure curve. And if you want more ideas on this topic join my FB Page where I share stories, insights and techniques to help you develop your Entrepreneurial Mind.

Please share this post with anyone you know thinking of starting their own business. I hope it stops them from wasting precious time, money and energy and gives them the best possible chance of success.

Nothing but success to you,


Like what you read? Give AJ Kulatunga a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.