“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer
I remember the first time I actually thought about operating my own business; it was a very scary thought.
I didn’t have role models in my family to ask for guidance. None of my friends owned a business. Yet there we were, frustrated with the way our lives were unfolding right before our eyes.
When you lose three jobs in three years to corporate downsizing, you have to start questioning things. When traditional stability is no longer stable, you have to begin looking for different paths. And so we did.
Have you ever had that life changing moment yourself?
Maybe you’re happy with your current job; until one day you aren’t.
Maybe you’re happy with your lifestyle; until you no longer are.
Or maybe you’re happy with the job, until you see things in a different way.
That’s the way it pretty much goes, right? Things are running along perfectly, you’re doing your own thing, until one day this creeping feeling comes into play that tells you things aren’t the same. Something’s changed. What worked in the past no longer works. You may have hit a speed bump, taking the wind out of your sails just a bit. And you know the only way to move forward is to stretch and move out on your own.
No matter if you recognize it immediately, or it takes weeks or even months to notice the change, once you see it, you can no longer move along the path as you’ve always done before. You look at things differently, and so the things that normally brought joy and fulfillment to your life no longer do so in quite the same way.
And that’s just the beginning.
Because in so many ways, no matter what you do for a career, it can never even begin to match what you will do as an entrepreneur. It isn’t remotely the same, and nothing you can do will ever prepare you for the process.
It’s a 24 Hour Thing
When they say being an entrepreneur consumes you 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year, you live it, breathe it, sleep it … they aren’t kidding.
So why would anyone want to do that?
Because of the rewards of doing it all yourself!
- It may be about making a difference – your difference – in the world.
- It may be about being able to bring something new and unique into the lives of people that you would never have been a part of in any other way.
- It may be a calling that you know you have to fulfill.
However you define it, however it hits you, you know becoming an entrepreneur is the only way to move forward from here.
How do you become an entrepreneur when you’ve never done it before?
Nobody Is Born An Entrepreneur
How come it is that we always assume that if we don’t have something and someone else does, there are character traits that make it so? Nobody is a “natural born salesperson” or a “natural born leader”. We’re all born into the same world and have to be taught the skills necessary to do what we choose to do. If you are being called to break into the entrepreneurial world, you simply have to educate yourself on how to do this the best way possible.
Find Someone Else Who Is Doing It Too
If you have a child, you’re familiar with the “eye roll”. One little eye roll says “I’ve heard it all before and I’m not buying any of it”. If you have an idea and have stated “nobody else is doing it”, remember the eye roll. No one may be doing it quite the way you are thinking about doing it, or have the flair you are putting to an idea, but I’m willing to bet there are people and businesses out there playing in the same field. Find them and see how they are doing it. You’ll learn a lot.
Look For The Lifestyle Too
Maybe you want to be a “insert your field here” but you don’t want to play by traditional rules. You have a personal training business, for instance, but you don’t want to be limited to an income stream based on one client every hour of the day. You want weekends off. You want Friday’s off to head to the beach. You need Monday’s to take care of your aging mom. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean a 24/7/365 “job”; it means deciding your lifestyle first and incorporating what you do to work with who you want to become.
Look Towards Other Fields and Niches
When we first started up a wedding photography business all those years ago, we could find gazillions of photographers who specialized in wedding photography. But very few of them had a comprehensive website to use as a portfolio (this was mid 1990s). So we looked to the Internet gurus who were out there and promoting other businesses, learned and tweaked what we found, and entered the marketplace in a new way. How can you take ideas from different industries, and use them to tweak your own idea?
The 50/25/12/6/3 Rule
Okay, maybe this isn’t a “true rule” that you’ll find online if you Google it; lets just call it “Lori’s Rule”. The point is you need to get over the concept of “I’ll do it when it’s perfect”. Life moves too fast in today’s world to ever shoot for perfection. Instead, get your concept to an acceptable point, then release it and see where it goes. Move forward with things that work. Get rid of things that don’t. Tweak it. Test it. Change it. Delete it. And never be afraid to throw it all away and start over again doing something new. Your goal should always be to make it better, find other ways of improving it, and working towards “perfecting” it all the time.
Why Should People Care?
People care about one thing – themselves. Okay, they actually care about themselves doing one of three things – making more money, having better relationships, or losing more weight. But lets face it, if you can’t grab someone’s attention in just a few seconds and give them the ultimate reason why they should care about what you do or what you have to offer, they won’t hang around long enough to ever find out more. Tell me why I should care about what you do in one sentence or less. If you can make someone way “wow”, you’ve found your “care”.
The Good Will Come With The Bad
One moment you’re on top of the world, having the best day of your life. The next day the mud will come slinging in, hitting you from more angles than you thought possible. The bigger you grow, the more variance you will have between the good and the bad. It’s a fact. Because the more you put yourself out there, the more things can happen, the more they WILL happen. It’s hard to experience good or bad if you’re always doing the same old things over and over again. And lets face it, as an entrepreneur you will never be sitting around doing the same old things. There’s publicity to gain, marketing to develop, a product to perfect. And just when you figure out one piece, the rules change. Or technology grows. Always remember, the more you grow, the more you’ll experience the good and the bad. And you can’t experience the good without experiencing the bad occasionally as well.
You’re Not The First and You Won’t Be The Last
You’re not the first to wonder how to set up a tax license, how to create a business card, or find a client that will love what you do. Success leaves trails that are easy to follow if you just look for them. If you are sitting in your house or office contemplating your next step, the best thing you can do is get up and walk out. Go to a networking group. Join a chamber of commerce. Find a Meetup for entrepreneurs. DO SOMETHING. Start telling people the one thing you are trying to do more than anything else, and you’ll quickly will find someone that will say “I’ve done that, you should talk to ____”. And you’re answers quickly will come.
No Matter How Hard You Try, You Won’t Be The Same Person 1 Year From Today
If you truly have a great idea that would be a great business, and you do all the things I’ve listed above, you’ll quickly expand into someone bigger than you are today. When I turned in my notice to quit my job, I had no idea that I would ever be able to turn my $50,000 business into a quarter million dollar a year business in under two years.
It doubled and tripled in size again and again. But it could have easily have gone the other way.
And I’ll be the first to admit, every single year wasn’t always the easiest to live through. There were months when “sweating for cashflow” was an understatement. I almost made myself sick thinking about how I was going to pay the bills.
But that was all part of the learning process. And I wouldn’t trade it now for anything.
I know I can survive the good. And I know I can survive the bad. It’s a part of who I am.
I didn’t take the easy way, and I didn’t get advice from the people closest to me back in the days when I decided to make the jump to entrepreneur-land.
But I’m eternally grateful I did.
What’s going to happen to you in one year if you decide to make the jump?
You’ll have successes. You’ll have failures.
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry.
You’ll celebrate. You’ll question your sanity.
But you’ll quickly determine that THIS is the way to truly live. Is there really any other way?