I’m getting excited about the workshop that Barbara Winter and I will be facilitating next weekend in Las Vegas. The attendees have some phenomenal business ideas and we’ll be working through what’s been holding them back so they can make those dreams happen now.
I’ve heard from a several aspiring entrepreneurs who said they wanted to join us but had scheduling conflicts. They all said the same thing. “I have this great business idea but don’t know where to get started.”
Here are a few tips to help you begin working on your dream business.
- Research people who have already done what you want to do or something similar.
Read their blogs, study their websites, listen to podcasts and read books by people who are doing what you want to do. Not so that you can mimmic them but so that you can learn from their journey and do your own version and share your unique gifts.
- Talk to people who have been successful at what you are trying to do or something like it. Ask what mistakes they made in the beginning and what they learned in the process. Most entrepreneurs love to share. We don’t see start-ups as competition but complimentary. When I meet a new self-employment guide, I take note of what qualities they possess that I do not and will frequently refer a client to someone who I think might be a better fit. By connecting with someone who has already done what you want to do, you may not only gain a mentor but a friend who you can do some co-operative projects with as well.
- Don’t let the things you don’t know how to do keep you from beginning. A smart entrepreneur admits what she doesn’t know and recognizes that learning is a life-long pursuit. You can always outsource or barter the skills you lack or don’t enjoy performing.
Or partner with someone who has complimentary gifts.
- Hire a coach or consultant to guide you. Be careful to find someone who has had their own business, not someone who was trained as a business coach but never started a business. Don’t worry about certification. What matters is that they have learned by doing and can share their experience with you.
- Attend seminars or workshops with other entrepreneurs. You’ll learn from the facilitators and the other attendees will share resources and valuable insight with you. You’ll find your tribe and source of ongoing support. (We still have a couple of spaces left. Find out more HERE.)
- Start with baby steps. Even if your dream is big, start small. I’m not an advocate of the 5-year plan because I believe your business will evolve in ways you can’t even imagine now. It’s great to have a vision of the big goal but it’s easiest to make it happen by taking small steps every day.
What first small step can you take today to move forward toward your dream business?
Do you have so many ideas for starting a new business that you have trouble focusing on any of them?
Do you have so many ideas that you have trouble focusing on any of them? If so, you have a lot of creative company. This past week, I’ve spoken with each of the attendees of the upcoming Inspired Livelihood Obstacle Busting Mastermind.
Every one of them had more than one idea, some had many.
“I have too many ideas” is a common complaint of creative entrepreneurs. Being an idea generator is a gift but it can have you running in place if you aren’t able to effectively launch any of them because you are too scattered. It is absolutely possible to run several businesses successfully but just like juggling oranges, you have to start with what you can handle and add more as your confidence and competence grow.
I helped each of the attendees choose one idea to start with and we focused on fine tuning the vision of what that one business will look like. When they show up at the workshop in Las Vegas, we will focus on making that one idea a viable business. Once that business is running and they are seeing profit, it will be easier to launch the next idea, and the next. It’s kind of like when you have a baby. You give that first your undivided attention. Then, when that first child is a couple of years old and you’ve kind of got the hang of that parenting thing, you’re more able to parent a second. Maybe add a few more? Imagine if you gave birth to all your children at once? You’d be like the old woman in the shoe, right? Well just like kids, you shouldn’t launch all your ideas at the same time.
If you’ve been sitting on a few projects or business ideas for awhile and haven’t been able to make any of them profitable, you are probably suffering from “refusal to choose” syndrome. But you know what? You did choose. By choosing to try to do them all, you’ve chosen to dilute your energy and get nothing done, right?
I know this first hand because the last several months, I’ve been thinking about several new businesses I want to launch. I’ve done research and some initial steps on all of them but mostly been ineffective moving forward with any of them because my attention was too scattered.
Then a few weeks ago, I realized something. If three months ago, I had chosen to focus on just one new project, I’d now have it successfully launched and be starting on the next. Instead, I haven’t launched any of them.
If you’ve been sitting on several ideas for the past year and feel frustrated because you’ve launched none, I’d like to offer you a challenge. Give yourself permission to put all but one on the back burner. Not forever. Just right now while you get that first one crystal clear and moving forward. Try it for three months. Remember, you aren’t neglecting the other ideas. You are just giving each idea the attention it deserves. Once that’s rolling, spend three months on your next idea. Imagine where you’ll be at the end of the year if you do that. You’ll have launched four new ideas successfully.
Do you need some guidance and support birthing that first idea? If so, check out what Barbara Winter, best selling author of “Making a Living without a Job” and I are doing to help a small group of aspiring entrepreneurs break through the barriers and start their dream businesses NOW. Find out more HERE
Because a longtime dream of mine has been to develop a program to encourage and educate young people’s interest in small business startup, I am always interested in new leadership and entrepreneurial programs for youth.
There’s a current trend that makes absolutely no sense to me, particularly in the present economy. Most of the “entrepreneurship” programs I read about for young people are preparing then for a successful college “career” and to be leaders in the corporate world. These classes, seminars and workshops are marketed as preparing a student to give her the competitive edge on college applications and a strong resume for job searches.
Why would we want our future leaders to be well prepared for a life of employment? Doesn’t it make more sense for the brightest young people to be encouraged and prepared to create their own ventures, to be business leaders and employers rather than ideal employees?
Another trend I find interesting is the push to “think big”. While it’s promising that the future leaders of our country are being encouraged to think globally, and have empathy for and interest in other cultures, I hope that this one-world vision isn’t intimidating or discouraging for the young people who are more comfortable with local or regional goals. We need for them to know that their community involvement and contributions to local economy and causes is of equal importance and value. And let’s not forget how many big things start with baby steps.
I’m a huge proponent of starting small and I know that often that’s the secret to making big things happen. If all our future leaders are encouraged to conquer the world and immediately seek “positions” with huge international firms, who is going to be the community advocate? What about the bright young people who are all fired up about a local situation. Don’t we want to encourage these kids to drive change at the community level rather than making them feel that only huge global efforts will have any impact?
Many school districts around the country have a community service requirement and high school students frequently will find their calling coincidentally through this experience. I’d love to see it taken a step further and rather than all of these kids being steered toward careers as corporate executives, a follow up course offered on true social entrepreneurship. It’s time to get these young people thinking about how they can create their own livelihood and make a difference in their communities.
Do you know of any programs in your local area that is encouraging youth to drive change through small business? Is this something you would support in your community?
It’s my intention to bring such a program to different areas around the US and I would love to hear what is already being done and where the need is greatest. As always, please feel free to post your comments.
I heard something today from a friend who I’d previously thought of as a creative entrepreneur. He’s an ad guy so you’d just assume he’s an idea machine, right?. I complimented him on a print piece I’d seen and asked where the inspiration came from. His answer shocked me. He fears running out of ideas. It’s a concept I can’t even fathom, though I’ve heard it from many corporate creatives. Don’t those who make a living by convincing with words and images have a steady stream of inspiration? Not always. While we do get ideas in our sleep and in solitude, if you hang out in your own head all the time, eventually, you become a desert. You’re creative juices dry up.
As my mentor and friend Barbara Winter commented on the adman’s fear of running out of ideas, “That’s scarcity thinking. He doesn’t know that inspiration must be nurtured.”
And that nurturing takes different forms at different time for different people.
When my sister Pam moved to Nashville at 23 to pursue her songwriting career, she signed a contract to spend every Friday in a publishing office on Music Row cranking out lyrics. I couldn’t imagine how she cold be creative in that environment. It’s always been a puzzle to me how employees who have to be creative on demand find inspiration sitting in an office building. . I thought about where my own inspiration came from for paintings and realized it never happened in the studio. That was just where I went to implement.
Think about songwriting. How may lyrics are inspired by new love, lost love or betrayal? The experience that trigger those emotions don’t happen in the cubicle. Creativity, like friendship, needs to be nurtured to thrive, and that nurturing can be both internal and external.
That nourishment for me comes from walking on the beach, though the redwoods or driving on the open road. The ideas flow continuously. The colors, textures and motion feed the idea bank. Not all ideas are born in solitude, thought. In fact, I find watching travelers in airports to be a red hot creative spark. A conversation with a stranger can be a great jump start for inspiration. Visit a preschool class or a farmer’s market and you can’t help but find ispiration. And of course read. A lot. Read about people who’s lives look nothing like your. Have a conversation with a five year old. And an eighty five year old. Watch a foreign film the first time through without reading sub titles.
My favorite, and the most powerful recharger of all is a live workshop. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there’s nothing like the charge you get from being in a room of people with curiosity, enthusiasm and passion. It’s not just about exchange of information. When you put ten entrepreneurs in a room together, the creative energy is palpable. That’s why the concept of a mastermind is so powerful and I’ll be talking about that in future posts.
Even if you’re someone who requires frequent periods of solitude, which I do, you owe it to your business and your art to put yourself in a room with people who “get” you. Not a huge informational conference although some people do find those stimulating. ( I find them so draining and go into information overload quickly. It takes me days to recoup.) I’m suggesting you go to an interactive, live meeting of creative minds where everyone benefits from the exchange of ideas,feedback, brainstorming and problem solving.
Where do you find inspiration? Out in nature, while traveling, on a crowded subway, at a lumber yard? Of course you’re invited to share your sources of inspiration. We’d all love to know what makes you tick .
My story is more about where I came from than where I am now. I don’t for a minute believe that I’d be who I am had my dad not been the oldest child of poor Russian immigrants, with the responsibility of supporting his mother and siblings at fourteen.
The last time I saw him, shortly before he died, my dad gave me a cherished gift. He told me Read more