How to launch a business in 30 days

Thinking of quitting the 9-5? Here's how to kick-start that business idea before the end of the summer...

Thinking of quitting the 9-5? Here's how to kick-start that business idea before the end of the summer...

Over 50% of Millenials aim to start their own business, and the good news is that it's no longer seen as the big risk it was for our parent's generation. So what can you do to transform that pipe dream into a reality without going broke? Best-selling author and founder of The Ideas Lab, John Williams, has led over a thousand people through his strategies to quickly launch something of their own. His new book Screw Work Break Free about getting a business off the ground in 30 days flat is out now.

Here are his 7 tips for lunching a money-making venture in a month.

ONE: The secret of the killer idea

Stop hunting for the perfect business idea. Instead, look for something you are willing to try out for 30 days in your spare time.

Brainstorm everything you could do that seems exciting and that could use some of your skills and experience. Include any ideas for products or services you really wish existed.

Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under white pants. She cut the feet off her control top panty hose and invented Spanx.The product went on to make her a billionaire.

TWO: Think big, start small

No matter how big your vision, whether it’s a chain of restaurants or to change the world, you need to start somewhere. Think about how you can take the very heart of your idea and get something out into the world in 30 days.

If you want to open a restaurant, there’s no need to sell your house. Create one great dish and invite pals round to your home to taste it. If it’s a hit, you can move onto a food stall and later a pop-up restaurant.

THREE: Ditch perfectionism

Don’t worry about the perfect logo and website at the start. Focus on doing the thing people will pay you for: win your first project, run your first event, write your first article.

Make it as good as you can, but remember it’s just version 1.0. Mark Zuckerberg wrote the first version of “the Facebook” in 30 days at university (and it looked nothing like Facebook today). Get something out there then keep improving on it.

FIVE: Make some money!

Forget the elaborate marketing plans for the moment. You should be able to win your first sales from within your own network.

Saskia Nelson took a course of mine to develop her business ideas around photography. She decided to focus on dating profile photos, and photographed her first test client for free in exchange for a testimonial. Her client was so delighted with the results she recommended Saskia to her cousin and provided her first paying customer. Hey Saturday was born. Now Saskia has four other photographers working for her and has been featured in the national press.

FOUR: Stand out from the crowd

There will always be competition for whatever you want to do. That’s OK. You can enter a crowded market by ‘super niching’ your focus to a very particular market or very particular problem you can solve.

Be willing to take a stand and make a strong statement about what you believe in – whether it’s your passion for ethical recruiting or your hatred of ‘health snacks’ full of sugar.

SIX: Spread the word

Once you know your idea works then you can start to spread the word. We’ve had enough of people on Instagram showing off their dawn yoga poses in an attempt to manufacture their own brands. Be real, and instead of promoting yourself, promote the idea you want to spread.

Jody Day noticed that women who were childless not by choice (like herself) often felt alienated. She wrote a blog post about her own experience and it quickly attracted comments from women all over the world. A journalist picked up her story for The Guardian and Jody’s mission went viral. She ended up creating Gateway Women and supporting millions of women around the world. SEVEN: Decide when to leap What’s the minimum you can survive on in a month? When you can make that from your new business, you might be ready to quit your job! Then you can scale up from there and take it as far as you want to go.

John Williams' latest book Screw Work Break Free: How to launch your own money-making idea in 30 days, is published by Vermilion. Download a free chapter at

Andrea Thompson
Editor in Chief

 Andrea Thompson is Editor in Chief at Marie Claire UK and was recently named by We are the City as one of the UKs top 50 trailblazers for her work highlighting the impact of Covid on gender equality. 


Andrea has worked as a senior journalist for a range of publications over her 20 year career including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Channel 4, Glamour and Grazia. At Marie Claire Andrea is passionate about telling the stories of those often marginalised by the mainstream media and oversaw a feature about rape in the Congo that won the title an Amnesty Media Award. She also champions women's empowerment, sustainability and diversity and regularly chairs panels and speaks at events about these topics. She sits on the committee of the British Society of Magazine Editors where she acts as Vice Chair and looks after Diversity and Inclusion. She regularly mentors young women from under represented communities trying to break into the media industry.