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What Exactly Is An Off The Grid Business?

This article is part of the “Off The Grid Marketing: How To Succeed At A Home Grown Business” series.

It was morning on Thanksgiving Day.  My family was gathered together in the living room, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was playing on the television. Spread across five tables in the room were packaging materials and piles of videotapes (this was in the days before DVDs were common). Each of my five children was helping package the videos. Every kid was doing something different; one was putting the tapes in the package, one was putting the postage on, and so on. My children, now grown, still talk about that day as one of their fondest memories. It’s one of my favorite memories, too.

Why is this memory so special? Because it was the moment I realized I was growing my very own business. We had produced this product together as a family. We chose something we were personally interested in and we worked together. Most of all, throughout the process, we spent time together as a family unit.

The product, by the way, was a videotape series aimed at teaching basketball players and other athletes how to jump higher. For a family of rabid basketball fans like mine, it was the perfect product to develop. The response to it was better than I had ever imagined.

I know many of you reading this have the desire for something very similar. We all want to spend more time with our family, and more time being involved in our children’s lives.  One of my greatest passions is for Christian parents to have more exposure to their children day in and day out. Now, more than ever, a home business is a great way to do that.

Why now? Just take a moment to look at the world around you. We are living in one of the most challenging economic climates in decades, if not a century. How many people do you know personally that have lost a job in the last year? Many of us have friends and family who are newly unemployed. Some of you may even have experienced it for yourselves.

If you’re like most people, you’ve certainly thought about being your own boss before. But for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. Now is the time to take your desire and turn it into an “off the grid” business while earning a good income for your family.

I refer to a home business as an “off the grid business.” Why?  The term off the grid simply means to live in a self-sufficient manner without having to rely on others for your survival and success. An off the grid business means being able to provide for yourself and not having to depend on others for your income.  Owning your own business also means you, and not your boss, control your time. When you’re not punching a time clock every day, when a home business is a natural part of your family life, you get to spend more time with those you love and care about the most. You also have the joy of building something meaningful together as a family.

Of course, successful endeavors don’t just happen by themselves. Real, hard work is required. Developing your own off the grid business isn’t an overnight process. But it is an extremely rewarding, family-centered way to earn an honest income.

What makes for a successful business? First and foremost, your passion must drive your success. When I created the set of tapes on how to jump higher, I didn’t simply pick a random topic. I chose something that I was interested in. Steve Jobs was passionate about computers. Milton Hershey was obsessed with formulating a smooth eating chocolate. Ben and Jerry, buddies since junior high school, started with a correspondence course on ice cream making and parlayed their love of the frozen treat into a household name. Thousands of other entrepreneurs with less well known names have been equally successful.

But even that’s not enough. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean everyone else will be. In fact, people may have a need for a product but if they don’t want it, nothing will convince them to buy it. (Just ask any life insurance salesman.) Desire must be strong in the market. Here’s how I got the idea for my videotape series. I was watching a school basketball game with my daughter Tracy and a friend of hers named Garth. At one point, I turned to them and asked, “What would you guys give to be able to dunk a basketball?” Tracy wasn’t particularly interested, but Garth exclaimed, “I’d pay $500 to be able to dunk a basketball!” I knew right then there was a business idea in there somewhere; I just had to figure out how to make it work. That chance conversation changed my life. Just one idea could change yours, too.

In the coming weeks, we’ll talk more in depth about finding the right business idea, how to spot trends, how to market your business, and more. I hope you’ll tune in.

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