From people who are in all stages of business ownership. Some are dreamers wanting to leave their 9 to 5, while some have taken the dive and had varying levels of success along the way. Some are still waiting for their first client to arrive.
I don’t have a magic formula.
I don’t even know if I did it the “right” way.
What I can tell you is I’ve consistently hit and far exceeded my income goals and I’ve spent less than $50 in advertising.
I’ve broken down some things I’ve learned along the way here.
Your First Three Steps
“The best laid plans of mice and men oft’ go astray.” You can plan forever. Just keep planning and planning but the longer you miss the action step the longer you are hung in limbo. You can’t plan your way to experience. So get it done.
I did my due diligence in researching fields that would complement my expertise and experience. Once I got the idea I acted immediately. I decided on a Friday, I launched my website on Tuesday, and I had my first client the following Friday.
Now maybe you don’t need to act quite THAT fast. But seriously. What are you waiting for? There will always be a reason to wait, to procrastinate, to research a little more.
There is someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Find them. Soak up every ounce of brilliance they are willing to share. Read their blog, listen to their podcast, find out what they are doing right and emulate that. (Note: there is a difference between emulating and COPYING. Don’t be a copycat. No one likes that.)
When I started out I found Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants (CAVA) which is FULL of amazing resources. CAVA linked me with Elayne Whitfield, and Reese Ben Yaacov. Both of these wonderful women have been great resources for me. I also found Chalene Johnson, Chris Ducker, and some other entrepreneurs and listen to their business advice about what has or hasn’t worked for them.
Find your expert.
Figure Out Who You Serve
This was tough for me. Because I can help everyone. I believe this to be true. However, marketing to “everyone” is a really expensive, and ain’t nobody got dollars for that.
Once I figured out that I had to market to a specific person and that I would be more effective that way. I got it. I figured out the nitty gritty of my Ideal Client Avatar and got down to business. I figured out where they hung out and I started hanging out there too.
I could go on and on about the first 100 steps I took but I won’t. Start with these three and just get some momentum.
I won’t insult your intelligence and pretend this has been all sunshine and rainbows. It hasn’t. I’ve made some mistakes and wasted time, energy and effort. I’m happy to also share THOSE with you so you can avoid the pitfalls I’ve already taken for you.
Don’t Let the FOMO Take Over (Fear of Missing Out)
Don’t buy every course along the way. As many useful and wonderful training experiences I’ve taken, I’ve taken just as many (probably more) that were utterly useless and a waste of time and money. Look into the “experts” you are choosing to follow and make sure they truly are the experts they claim to be. Be responsible over your investments.
If you make a mistake speak up and make use of any money-back guarantee they may offer. If there are no refunds available chalk it up to buying yourself a life lesson and don’t scrimp on checking into these things anymore.
You don’t need to be trained to do something you already know how to do.
Don’t Listen to the Naysayers.
Within your own head or ones outside of you. Neither of them have any idea what you are capable of.
Surround yourself with positive and like-minded entrepreneurs. Things are bound to get rough. You are going to have moments, days, weeks, of doubt and you need to have people that you can call on who will help you dust yourself off and keep going. I live on social media. I have a few Facebook groups that I love for keeping me going, as well as Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur community.
Don’t Fall for the Lifestyle Success Stories
You know, the ones we see on Instagram and website banners. Blazing smiles and beaches for miles. While achievable – don’t think this is going to be easy.
This isn’t a day or week of hard work and then the Benjamins just come rolling in. There are times where you won’t want to do anything but work on your business, there are other times where you might want to do anything but, and both times you might find yourself starting at the dark side of 2am.
Be prepared for this to consume your time. You’ll have to get really clear on your priorities and become disciplined at managing your time. This will come more easily for some and not for others. You know who you are. It’s harder to “screw the man” and put off till tomorrow what you need to do today when you are “the man”.
Most importantly, give yourself permission to fail. Once you’re not afraid of failure achieving success is easy. I had a friend recently tell me she thought I was brave for launching my own business. I never considered myself brave. And while that was nice to hear (thanks Aleata!) I hadn’t really considered that there was anything to be brave about it.
A quick Google search gives me: Brave; adjective: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
I see it in others clear as day.
So keep on keeping on. Get started today. Buy your domain. Update your LinkedIn. Take the first step.
I believe in you.