A little Scrappy reality check….knowing whether or not you’re ready and prepared to start a business is a good place to be. Ignorance is not bliss in the case of entrepreneurship.
#1: Are you a reality or fantasy entrepreneur?
Gut check: Do you really just love talking and dreaming about starting your own business, or does your passion go further? Have you taken concrete steps to building a business? Even something as simple as brainstorming business ideas?
Your answers to these questions are critical. Time to have a real heart-to-heart with yourself.
We all have dreams. Some are lofty. Some are realistic. Some are doable. Some, well, are just dreams (and we know that). Heck, there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy. Wink. Wink.
I sing in the shower and dream of hitting the stage with The Eagles. Not happening, but a girl can hope… (and, for the record, never give me a karaoke mic and expect to get it back).
But, dreaming about starting your own business and actually starting your own business are two different beasts.
Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart or for sissies. It’s a LOT of work. It’s a HUGE learning curve. It can be MASSIVELY frustrating and OVERWHELMINGLY scary. I’ve had many an ugly cry on my path to entrepreneurship.
But, on the flip side, creating your very own successful business is WONDERFULLY satisfying. It’s INCREDIBLY rewarding. It’s a TON of fun. It’s WILDLY amazing. I celebrate wins everyday.
The experience is life-changing in the best way possible. Really loving what you do and having the chance to control your destiny is worth every ounce of effort (and ugly cry).
So, are you a reality or fantasy entrepreneur? No right or wrong answers, but uncovering your truth will set you free…and, I suspect, likely on a path to entrepreneurship. You’re Scrappy. I can tell.
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#2 Where are you right now?
Oh, it’s possible to start a business at any age or place. That’s exactly what the Scrappy Frontier is all about – using your life smarts and skills to create an amazing business at any time.
But, present circumstances are important to consider. Timing is everything, right? (So is location according to my realtor husband, but that’s another conversation).
Sure, life is always happening and unexpected stuff happens. This is something we deal with daily in entrepreneurship and life, but starting a business when BIG things are happening may not be the best timing.
For example, I don’t recommend starting a business and simultaneously moving across the country. Keep your sanity in tact. Move first, then launch.
Are you at a place right now where you can put aside a 3-5 hours a week (minimum) working on your business?
Are you in a place right now where life is going somewhat smoothly?
If not, you may want to wait until what ever dust is keeping you occupied settles. Starting a successful business takes everything you’ve got.
#3 What are your primary goals for starting your business?
This is where it starts getting a little tricky. People often WANT their own business, but they’re not clear on exactly what they want FROM the business.
Getting clear on your goals is CRITICAL before you start. I could share all sorts of inspirational quotes about goals, but the bottom line is if you have no idea where you want to go, you can’t get there.
A few questions:
- Do you want your business to replace your full-time paycheck (aka, ditch the 9 to 5)? Or, is your goal to create supplemental income?
- What’s your main driver? Location and time freedom? Be able to take fabulous vacations? Pay off your house?
- How much do you want to work? All in? 20 hours per week? 3 months a year?
- How much do you want to earn? Are you dreaming of BIG bucks? Want to match income you made at a job? Would love to bring in just a little bit more each month?
These are important questions to answer. Don’t skip them or decide to think about them later. Thinking about it later will come back to bite you in the butt. Trust me on this one (Yes, another conversation and blog post).
#4: Idea Overload
I get it. You have visions of sugar plum fairies and lots of business ideas in your head. Of course you do. You’ve got time under your belt. Life smarts. You’ve done stuff. You’re good at a lot of things. You love a lot of things.
But, you MUST get clear on which ONE idea you’ll start with. Commit to it. Validate it. Refine it. Love it. Sleep with it. Eat with it. Talk about it. Breath it. Work it.
Going with more than one idea out of the gate is sure disaster, like trying to ride two horses at the same time in the Kentucky Derby.
Can’t be done. At least not well.
Still can’t wrap your head around going with just one idea? Look. You don’t have to marry the idea – just commit long enough to know three simple, but critical facts:
Are you in love with the idea? (aka, can you envision yourself jumping out of bed everyday at the prospect of getting to work on your incredible idea?)
Will people buy your idea? (Business 101 – if nobody will buy it, it’s a hobby).
Will your idea get you to your goals? (Remember #3? – this is where the rubber meets the road.)
If the answer is NO to any of the above questions, ditch the idea like lousy blind date. Slip out the back door. Arrange for the ‘fake’ emergency call. Get out.
Move on and try on the next idea.
Only marry your idea once you can say YES to the three critical questions.
I don’t want to sound harsh, but there’s a lot of bullshit out there about making lots of money fast. In fact, according to Facebook you can make millions while you sleep. I’ve seen the ad dozens of times. Even bought a few programs if we’re confessing our sins…
We know the reality. We know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We’re smart and Scrappy cookies, right?
But, how much of a commitment is starting a business? Well, a lot and then not so much.
Like many things in life, if I had known how much time, effort and emotion it would take to start my first business I may not have made the leap. Fortunately, my universe has a way of shielding me from such thoughts so I typically leap and then look.
Ugly truth: 99% if new businesses fail because they never launched (person crapped out before starting) or they lost stamina (they weren’t in for the long haul and they ran out of breath during the race).
Now, let’s define A LOT. Go back to your goals (There’s #3 again, rearing its head).
If you just want to bring in ‘a little more each month’ this will require far LESS effort than if you want a 6 figure business within a year (probably not a realistic goal, truth be told).
Remember when I suggested you needed a MINIMUM of 3-5 hours a week to work on your business. Honestly, this is just to get you started. This is the idea refinement and validation phase. The foundational phase.
Once you launch, you’d best have as much tine as you can carve out to get your business out there and growing. I’d say during the launch and growth phase, be prepared to give your life over to your business – if you’re serious about building a successful business.
Now, let’s define NOT SO MUCH.
We know things get easier. We learn. We develop systems. We get more familiar with what we’re doing. Things eventually take less time.
Also, once your business is growing you’ll invest in delegating tasks so you can work smarter and more quickly.
The reality is starting a business is a lot more work than the gurus will tell you. Telling you how HARD and LONG and CHALLENGING it will be doesn’t sell, so the gurus sell magic bullets and we buy.
We humans like the easy route.
But, here in the Scrappy Frontier we’re practical about these things. Pretending there won’t be work and massive commitment needed is just ridiculous.
Instead. We make a plan. Work the plan. Launch successful businesses. We’re committed.
Are you committed for the long haul?
#6: Say Good-bye Your Comfort Zone
I’m keeping this one short and sweet. If you prefer eating at the same restaurant every Saturday night, wearing the same exact outfit, because it’s ‘comfortable’ and the people know you like spaghetti you might be need to pursue options other than entrepreneurship.There is nothing comfortable about entrepreneurship.Click To Tweet
Every day is a walk outside the comfort zone.
Launching a business is more exciting than all get out, but it’s also chalked full of the great unknown. If you’re not prepared to take a walk on the wild and uncomfortable side everyday you might consider another route.
Staying in your comfort zone is not an option when starting your own business.
#7 Does the idea of having your own business keep you awake at night?
Another shorty. We’ve already talked about the commitment, the effort, and the stamina you need to launch a successful business.
Let’s get a little mushy, too. You’d better be IN LOVE with your business (again, that’s why you want to kick the tires before you marry it).
I don’t have kids, but I imagine starting a business is a lot like having a child. Children will frustrate you, tax you, exhaust you, infuriate you and test you, but at the end of the day you love them. You can’t wait to see them and be with them.
Being IN LOVE with your business will make the hard days easier and the great days even more fantastic.
That’s it in a nutshell.
7 Things You MUST Consider Before Starting A Business
Here’s that FREE cheat sheet again, in case you missed it.