Don’t start your business – there are a million reasons not too!
Did you know that I started my (now) successful skin studio from the dining room of my Chicago apartment?
I would barricade my boyfriend into the living room and ask him to be very quiet for an hour while I conducted a full-on relaxation facial in the other room. It was totally not legit, and I was happy for any small amount that people paid me for my services.
If you didn’t know the outcome of this story, it could sound like a rags to riches fairytale, or quite possibly a star example on the “100 ways not to start your business” list. But this post is less about the outcome and more about the process.
When I started my business, I had a serious career, no “investors,” and quite frankly no idea that I was starting a business. In my head I was just getting better at my skin skills, making a little extra cash, and biding my time until I got the hell out of Chicago! Each month I would take small steps to formalize my “business,” but I kept it in the “hobby” arena for a few years before I set my sights on success.
This post has one point:
1. If you think too long and too hard, there are a million reasons not to start your business … but if you are ever going to start, you need to start SOMEWHERE.
I’m about 99% sure that when I started my “business” roughly 4 years ago, if I had known what the heck I was doing, I wouldn’t have done it at all!
I would have outlined a detailed plan about why it didn’t make sense to start a business. I would have focused on the fact that I had a decent-paying job in a different profession, that I would have to spend too much of my “free” time building this business, and that it was dumb to essentially give up my evenings and weekends for the next however long.
As you see, this list could go on and on. I simply would not have ever started.
Thank god I was just “playing with my hobby” right? That’s what I told myself … and that’s what got my crazy business started (this thinking may not get your business too far … but it is enough to get started, and that is essential).
In “Refuse to Choose,” Barbara Sher talks about how our primitive and powerful defense mechanisms equate everything new and unfamiliar as a survival danger. New things = danger. So how do we ever progress and try new things if our mind (by default) tries to prevent us from doing so?
Barbara suggests that you start by:
1. Creating a Backward Planning Flow Chart – In this chart, you start with the end goal and fill it in backwards with the steps that come before each goal.
2. Highlighting any fears that arise during specific flowchart steps – If you find yourself getting VERY uncomfortable or getting the sense of really wanting to quit at any step along the way, check in and pinpoint what is causing this. What fear thought just came to your head that is causing this discomfort? Once you identify this, it is much less scary!
3. Set a REAL deadline with built-in accountability – This could be a person or group that you have regularly scheduled sessions with, or a deadline for a project that you announce to all your best friends (I bought a house and had a housewarming party two weeks later … this was accountability to get my house in order quickly).
Here is the thing: there is only so much time and space to analyze all of this in our heads … at some point we must act.
Don’t get caught up in over-analyzing each detail. Pick one project and decide to try it on for size … if it doesn’t fit, try something else. Not every interest has to be your next great business idea, and not every project will end up suiting your current business, but you will never know if you don’t try. As Barbara says, “Start Small, Start Now.”
I once had a successful male entrepreneur friend of mine say to me “Go big or go home.” This was two years into starting my business. Something about this statement rubbed me the wrong way, but it also gave me a little kick in the butt to take my biz to the next level. If someone had said this to me starting out, I probably would have never started. I wasn’t ready to “go big,” but I knew I was ready to start something.
So what are you ready to start? Is it a project, a business … a project within a business? I would love for you to share your next project, what your first action step will be, and how you have built-in accountability!