Being an entrepreneur does not require any special skills, superior intelligence or bags of experience. The only thing that separates people who start a business from people who don’t is just that, they start!
For 15 years, I dreamed of having my own business. My husband and I would chat obsessively about ideas over dinner but my salaried career and then my children meant I never actually did anything concrete. That all changed two years ago when I made the decision to start, going from idea to the shelves of Liberty London, while being a mum of 3 young children and a housewife. It can be done and the only thing stopping you are self limiting thoughts like “where do I start?”
It’s almost impossible to imagine how you get from a dinner conversation to a real life business. It’s like standing at the bottom of a mountain. You look up, warily, and think you’ll never reach the summit but you head off, step by step, taking rests along the way and eventually you make it to the top. When you look back down, you can’t believe how easily you did it. Starting a business is just the same, you look at where you are now and you can’t imagine making your first sale. There’s just too much to achieve and it’s overwhelming.
“I’m living, breathing evidence that anyone can do it. There’s nothing special about me, I just started doing”.
Here are some guiding thoughts to keep in mind when you ‘think’ you’re not capable:…
Ditch the business plan
Do the basic maths but don’t stress over the detail. Of course you need to know if you can afford to start the business, budgeting all the elements required to launch before you decide to go ahead, but that’s all you need. Don’t stress about forecasting and projections, you’re not about to be grilled on Dragon’s Den. Getting bogged down in numbers is a sure fire way to put you right off.
Do a little bit of work every single day
Nobody has enough time to start a business, you either have a job or you’re a mother and even if you have neither of those it’s amazing how we can fill time and feel we have none to spare. In fact, those with lots of time struggle the most to get their heads down to work. Give a job to a busy person and it will get done straight away, give it to someone with lots of time and they’ll leave it until the last minute. Remember writing dissertations or essays at University? If we’d written just one paragraph a day, for the given time period, it would have been done on time with minimal stress. Instead, we knocked back coffee and ProPlus for an all–nighter the day before the deadline.
On a good day, do a couple of things you’ve been putting off – like calling someone (makes me cringe every time) or populating your excel spreadsheet. On days where you feel less motivated, do some internet research – look at your competitors or search for suppliers, set up some meetings or read up on ‘admin’ tasks like company taxation (yawn).
Don’t aim for perfection from the outset
Aim for good enough. I’m not saying launch a shoddy, ill-conceived and badly executed idea, but don’t try and make it perfect because;
- You’ll never be happy and it won’t see the light of day.
- It’s easier to lose sight of the bigger picture if you’re obsessing over tiny details.
- Even if you think it’s perfect, someone else won’t. It’s subjective and relative so there’s no such thing as the perfect product/service/article.
My approach is to “aim, fire, range” – adjust as you go along, learn from everything and make changes to the next iteration. The mere act of starting will trigger a chain reaction.
This quote from William Hutchison Murray from ‘The Scottish Himalayan Expedition’ inspired me to act:
“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now”.
I assure you it’s absolutely true. Since starting my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve met people and things have happened that I would never have imagined possible. You generate energy when you create something, people are drawn to it and want to help. You learn so much through doing and experiencing which feeds your creativity, making you better and more confident.
So, what are you waiting for?