You mean, it’s all there?
Yes, it may all feel like a big jumble with many strings hanging out here and there, with no clear beginning, nor end, but it IS all there.
No, you are not an expert in all the things you need to do to get your business off the ground and manage it on a daily basis. But you are an expert in YOU. And you ARE your business. You know exactly what you want to achieve, you know exactly what you want it to look like, you know exactly how you want to change people’s lives. You’ve seen the need, you’ve seen people’s pain at not being able to find a solution to a problem and you know that YOU have the answer.
How do I get it out?
So how on earth do you get started? First, you need to get everything out of your head. I’ve already written about brainstorming and mind mapping. They are fantastic exercises for a brain dump. Whether you use sticky notes and a table or a wall, or sheets of butcher’s paper, doesn’t matter, just get it all out of your head.
What do I do with it?
Then, begin with the end in mind. You know how it looks when it’s finished. You know how it works. You know what it does. Visualise it in as much detail as you can. Write it all down. Or draw it. Or create a visual diary, or a vision board, or make a model. Creating something that you can touch and feel will give you a feeling of progress, of accomplishment. It will start to tame that huge jumble in your head.
I’ll need a plan, won’t I?
I like to work backwards from my goal. I’ve written about my planning process here. As you do this, you will probably keep asking yourself, “but how?”. This is good. It’s another indication that you’re making progress. You’ve dealt with the what and now you’re getting into the how.
But I don’t know how!
Exactly. Now it’s time for research. Look at all the steps in your plan and figure out what you don’t know. Get professor Google working for you. Join some Facebook groups, start networking in person, start making connections. You’d be amazed at the richness of your own personal networks. If your friends don’t have the answers, someone they know will. Look out for free business events run by your local council or chamber of commerce. There is probably a business incubator somewhere near you, offering free advice and mentoring. Look them up.
Free webinars are another great source of learning. Yes, they often try to sell you something at the end, but the information you gain in the process is invaluable. Most of all you learn how to sell using webinars!
Check out MarieTV. They’re short weekly videos, each delivering a business gem for current and new business owners. Through your research you will find business gurus who resonate with you and those who don’t. Subscribe to the mailing lists of those who do and take advantage of their free offers, blog posts and newsletters.
Consider further study. Do a short course, or an accredited one. The Certificate IV in Small Business Management is great for small business operation basics. Download my free guide to starting a business in Australia, in the side bar on the right.
If you’re in Australia, you may be eligible for the NEIS program which includes training, a monetary payment and mentoring, check it out here.
Attend conferences, seminars, information sessions and networking events. If you can find free ones – wonderful, but don’t be afraid to invest in some good quality training or a fabulous conference – you are investing in your future.
Now I know too much!
I know. All that information can be overwhelming, lead to self-doubt and even cause a learning addiction. You can get to a point, where you’ve heard the same piece of information in five different ways and from five different people and you just don’t know what to do.
Pick the approach that best resonates with you. You will feel it in your heart and in your belly. You will know that this feels right. And then, take action. Learning can be a great thing, but sooner or later you are going to have to pause and make things happen. Get that logo designed, set up a Facebook page, build a website, contact a supplier. Start making your products, start writing blog posts, start putting together your workshops.
But my THING needs more work!
Don’t wait until you have it all perfect. Imperfect action is better than inaction, so just do it. Put it out there. Be vulnerable. Your website will change and evolve, so just publish it as it is. Your products will change and get better, so just start selling them. Your book may not be 100% perfect, but get it out on Kindle anyway. One thing we know for sure is that things will change.
Are you sure I can do this?
I started this adventure with a personal blog. I had no intention of starting a business, although maybe I had dreams of writing a book. Along the way, I learnt about running a business, completely by accident. I met people, I went to conferences, I went to workshops, I built business relationships. Yet all this time, what I really needed to know was already inside me. I wanted to run a business MY way, with MY values, with MY ethics. I wanted to do the THING that I was good at and that I enjoyed. It took a few false starts for me to realise what that THING was. And it may be the same for you.
You may not already know what your THING is and that’s OK. You know there is something inside you that needs to get out. Start the process. Start thinking, start writing, start doing. It will come to you.
Always remember, you ARE your business. No matter what you learn, how many business gurus you listen to, always be authentic in how you do your THING. Be you.