The 5 Things you Need to Know About Starting a Business
It was never my dream to run my own business. I didn't start this business out of passion or drive to be an entrepreneur. I started it out of necessity. But I still wish I'd done it years ago.
The Myth of Business Ownership
There's a myth out there that you have to be a certain kind of person to own a business. That entrepreneurs have a particular entrepreneurial spirit and like putting themselves out in the public sphere. Or you have to have such a great idea or invention that you can get venture capital. Or that you have to love the hustle and drive and be willing to spend every waking moment on it. These myths and so many others are what kept me from ever seeing myself as a business owner. But, here I am, running my own business and loving it.
It turns out what you need is to know your why. Simon Sinek makes it clear just how important this is in his book Start with Why and it's as essential for your tiny little one-human business as it is for the big guys, if not more. Once you've established your why, you then need a solid foundation to build on, an eagerness to learn from mistakes, and a lot of patience and persistence.
You don't have to be an extrovert, or be good at marketing and sales (yet), or know precisely what you want to do. You simply have to be able to figure it out as you go, enjoy the process of learning, be willing to experiment with failure, and, most of all, have the desire to become someone more than who you are today.
Following and Breaking Rules
The idea of becoming something more is what draws me in. I followed the rules just enough to become successful in my old job. But I'd also broken a few along the way. When I realized having my own business was another step away from all those silly rules that never served me in the first place, I was all in. I knew that breaking free from those rules was the only way I could become more of the person I wanted to be.
Of course, there are plenty of rules in the world of solopreneurs too. There are rules for how to set up a coaching business, how to run an online course, how to run Facebook ads, how to build a following on Instagram, and how to write a proper blog. But here, the difference is that those rules are made to be broken.
And that's what I love about owning my own business. I get to decide what rules to follow. I get to run experiments and try new things. And the only people who matter when it comes to feedback are the people I care about helping most; my current and future clients.
My 5 Things
When I first started my business, I didn't know what I was doing. I was just winging it. I did all I could to learn from others who had gone before me, and I tried nearly everything I saw others were doing because it seemed to be working for them. But I quickly learned that there wasn't just one answer to how to start a business. And what worked for someone else wasn't guaranteed to work for me.
There are many different paths. And that's probably why so many businesses fail. People expect there to be one path to follow, and when that path doesn't work, they throw in the towel.
At this stage of my journey, I've learned to live by a few new rules of my own. And, now that I look at them, I realize these rules would have served me when I was an employee too.
1. Don't wait for proof. Seek it out.
We all want assurances that we're making the right decisions and taking the right steps. But the biggest mistake you can make is to wait around for that proof to show up. We must seek out evidence that we're making a difference and making the right choices. Gather data, not testimonials.
2. Listen to your gut/heart/inner mentor.
There's a voice inside trying to help you out. It usually gets shouted down by your inner critic, but if you learn to tap into your own inner wisdom, it's gold! Advice and guidance from others can be extremely useful, but only if you weigh it against your own instincts and experience. Gather information but ultimately follow the advice of just one person, you.
3. Nobody knows what they're doing.
We all experience imposter syndrome. Everyone questions whether they know enough, have enough or are enough. Even Beyonce! But they don't let it stop them, why should you?
4. Don't fake it 'til you make it, do it 'til you master it.
Faking it is for people who don't know their why. But your reason for creating this business is strong. So work on mastering your craft in service to your mission and to the people you want to serve because that's how you become the person you're meant to be.
5. Don't just be you; be evolving.
There will be times when you'll think, "but that's not who I am," and it will be a reason to hide from doing what's necessary. And at other times, you'll be talked into getting out of your comfort zone only to discover that particular discomfort wasn't right for you. You must navigate the tricky balance of staying true to you while continuing to get uncomfortable and grow. Get ready to make mistakes along the way because that's the only way you'll become who you're meant to be.
If you've been frustrated by following the rules of your job and want to see what life is like in the solopreneur world, then hang out with a few and find out. Don't know any? Hi, I'm Camille, and I'm a solopreneur. Nice to meet you! There, that's one!
If you're already a solo- or entrepreneur, excellent! I'd love to hear what made you get started or what's your why?
And, if you have questions or doubts about whether you're cut out for this life of business ownership, don't be too quick to judge. I never thought I'd be here, and now that I am, I love it. All too often, I hear people say that they could never do what I do because they aren't that type of person or don't have it in them. And, while it's true this isn't for everyone, I see far too many people dismiss the idea before they even know what it takes and what it has to offer in return. Anyone can do this. It's not rocket science. It's all about your why.