If I had known how much chutzpah it would take to build and create the momentum for my business, I might never have started. I think that’s true for so many worthwhile quests. Like having children. The most challenging, difficult, bring-you-to-your-knees endeavour, and also the most fulfilling and meaningful. It is in the innocent not-knowing that our greatest courage lies.
There are so many things I wish I had known, that I have learned through the process. It’s my personal quest in life, to learn through active participation, and then to share what I learn. So I thought I’d share with you my 3 best tips for starting a business when you have no idea where to start.
ONE | Begin with what’s in front of you.
So many people are looking for their passions and purpose in some distant, faraway concept. I know because I did it too. My “work” couldn’t possibly be an extension of me, could it? Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what it should be. Something that flows out of you so naturally that it doesn’t feel like work. Your work doesn’t necessarily have to be something you feel incredibly passionate about or give you a sense of purpose, in my opinion. What it does have to do is meet you at the intersection between all your skills, your personality traits, and what the world really needs right now.
Still unsure? Answer these 3 questions in your journal:
— How do I want my work to feel?
— What do I want the world to know?
— What do I love to do?
Get really clear about your intentions for your work and life. Get really clear about the legacy you want to leave behind and impact that you’re hoping to have on in the world. Figure that out first. Then think about all the things you love doing. A friend of mine loves plants. So she became a teacher at a college teaching teenagers about ecological agriculture. Another friend of mine loves food and photography. So she started a guided food photography tour business. You get to take pictures of food, learn how to take better pictures of food, eat food and tour around a city you’ve never been to before. Genius! If you do this, then you’ll have a roadmap. You’ll know the point you’re trying to make. You’ll know what your destination is supposed to be.
Now, you can reverse engineer it.
TWO | Learn the skills, then do it your way.
Before I began my business, I was devastatingly and hopelessly convinced that I was no good at business. I just didn’t believe that my brain functions in a business-y way. Looking back, I wonder why I even started, until I remember that I had determinedly decided that this was the only way for me and that there was no plan B. I am so grateful for past me for feeling the fear and diving in anyway. I digress… I was right, in a way. My brain does not function in the linear, sharp, inflexible, patriarchial way that I thought business had to be. I am more creative and intuitive and feminine in my approach. And, as it turns out, I am actually really quite good at business!
Yet, I still needed to learn systems and processes, like what to actually include on my website and what marketing means and how to use it and Woah! all the business things that felt so huge and scary and overwhelming. I took $2,000 and invested in myself and my big, beautiful dream to work for myself, doing things I love. You could begin with my course The Heartful Biz to get started.
I learned all the foundational tools and skills that allowed me to build the structure of my business and then tweaked them to suit me and my style of working.
THREE | It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
The single, number one thing, that has given my business momentum is the relationships I have cultivated. Relationships are everything. Not just in business, but in life. And especially in business. You might want to have an online business, but you still have relationships to build, and a bond of trust to nurture with people who are going to invest in you and your products or services.
This means putting yourself out there: starting conversations with people on social media posts and stories, writing emails to strangers, doing workshops, speaking at events, talking to random people in public places about the work you do, offering free webinars, doing free calls, starting a podcast or putting yourself forward for podcast interviews, nurturing the community you already have while also putting yourself in front of new people. Anyone could be a lead to generate more income or grow your audience.
The other relationships you want to acquire are a community of your own: people who can support you, cheer you on, bounce ideas off, share the highs and lows of your journey, and encourage you to keep reaching and growing. The first two years of my business were so lonely because I just did it all by myself. As soon as I gathered a small community of women who were doing similar work I felt inspired and so supported, I wish I had reached for my “people” sooner.
If I had known those 3 things right from the start, it would have been so much easier to get started. Instead, it took me a few years of experimenting to get there. Hopefully, they will help you.
Also, some extra rapid-fire tips:
- be patient
- be you and keep showing up with integrity and authenticity through all the ups and downs of life and business
- be realistic with your time, it’s an ongoing learning curve and process that never ends, you never really arrive
- remember to forecast your income and projects so that the money and the work keeps coming in
Around here, we do things a little differently...
Sign up to join the 6,000+ subscribers to my popular love-drenched notes sent directly to your inbox.