6 Tips for Brave Women Starting a Business From Scratch
The journey of starting my own business began a long time ago. For years I had thrown around the idea of working on my own. I had come up with a few different ideas and had even written a couple of business plans. I come from a family business, and I felt that throughout my career what I really thrived on was when I created new ideas, grew departments, and mentored employees. I loved the company that I worked for, but I also longed to have something that was just mine.
Many of you may be struggling with starting your own business as well. The thought of lacking structure in daily life, not knowing what is the best route, and, ultimately, the possibility of failure can be scary! Sometimes you need you to take a step back, look at yourself and where you are in your career, and ask yourself if you are happy with where you are. If not, it may be the right time to take that step to starting your own business.
About a month ago I walked away from my full-time job and dove into building my own fitness-consulting brand. Every day is a new challenge, but in some ways it feels like exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I didn’t have a neat and tidy plan when I started, and I still do not have it all figured out, but what I do know is that I was more prepared than I thought I was. Here are a few of tips that may help a fellow new business owner in getting started.
- Ensure that you are still financially stable. Create a simple Excel sheet of those must-haves that you need to get started, as well as how much income you need monthly to ensure that your bills are covered. This will allow you to put in perspective if you can begin to build your business immediately or possibly if you should begin working on it part time and slowly build toward full time. Also, make a list of contacts you feel will be useful in your journey. You may be able to score a side gig that allows you to bring in some cash that will allow you to spend more time building your business.
- Find a coach. Essentially you want to have someone who is going to help not only in the creation process but also someone to hold you accountable. Think about someone who is in a similar field with more experience to whom you look as a mentor. You want to ensure you find someone who can both support you and also give you feedback when needed. You also want to bring some validity to what you are doing, and hiring a coach is a way of admitting that you are serious about making this dream a reality and not just something you talk about to friends and family. You will also find it helpful to have another perspective – someone else’s thoughts and ideas – on your business goals.
- Plan your days. You will probably feel overwhelmed as you begin the whole process, so taking the time to map out your days will alleviate some of that stress and ensure that you are keeping your priorities in order. Use Sunday night to outline the week and ensure that you are moving all of your bigger goals forward. I recommend investing in a book or two centered on goal setting and inner success. I think of myself as a pretty goal-oriented person, but it was good for me to take a step back and think long term about what I wanted my life to look like, what I wanted to create, and how long it would take for me to get there.
- Network. This term gets thrown around quite a bit, so let me define what I mean by this. Everyone needs help getting started no matter what his or her background is. Aim to meet with one person a week who can help you grow your business. First make two lists of contacts. The first list should include people you have helped (professionally) and the second should be a list of people you feel would help you. You will probably find that quite a few people wind up being on both lists. Review each person’s background and reach out to set up a time for coffee. As a good rule of thumb, choose individuals in similar fields as well as individuals in fields you know less about. Start with just a few contacts; more than likely those people will put you in touch with others. These meetings can be via phone as well to save time. These meetings will allow you to get some different perspectives and learn about things you never considered!
- Be humble. This may seem like a strange tip, but you must be humble. Sharing your ideas with others and having others open your eyes to things you hadn’t thought about can be challenging for anyone. Be okay with not knowing everything and that your plans and goals will probably change. That is all just part of the journey. You are taking an enormous step by choosing to work for yourself and with that comes quite a lot of learning. Being humble allows you to take advantage of every opportunity, allows you to be okay with extra work and time, and allows you to grow daily.
- Build a brand. A few years ago, I was able to meet with a successful woman from my industry who had her own TV segment, had published books, and had run her own studio business. She gave me the great insight of asking me if I wanted to create a brand or create a product. I knew deep down that I wanted to create my own brand. Remember that starting your own business is more than just selling a product or a service; it’s building the “you” brand. That’s the fun part of building your own business – it becomes building your own brand.
I know that I have a long road ahead of me, but waking up each day and knowing that all of my energy is geared toward my own goals and successes is exhilarating. Know that you will not be able to figure it out all at once. Trust yourself and your end goals. Most importantly, be ready to learn about yourself. Working for yourself will literally teach you about yourself, and that is a pretty cool thing! Get ready for an adventure!13