So you have this idea. It’s something that’s been mulling around in your mind for some time. You really like it, think it would work, but have never set out to make it happen.
Maybe it’s a book you want to write, or a business you want to start. But regardless of your mental plan, so many things are holding you back.
Why is it that so many of us get stuck in this silly rut? I know so many friends and loved ones that don’t follow through on ideas that could turn into passions. I won’t act like I’m any better. I’m an ideas person. I like to come up with new schemes and think about what “could be”. Any of you can ask Mike just how many different ideas I come up with for my business any given week and the answer will make your head spin. But you know what’s different about the people that make a difference and have something to show for it? They follow through. Plain and simple.
So how do we go about connecting ideas and concepts? How do we make sure that our thoughts come to fruition and actually turn into something? How do we turn those business plans into business achievements?
Let Go of Self Doubt
Hands down, the absolute first thing you have to do is let go of self doubt. No one is going to believe in your work if you don’t believe in it first. Do you think Oprah got to where she is by being shy about her ideas? Ha! Be proud of your ideas! Flaunt them.
I think one of the silliest things I did at the beginning of this business was keeping it from my personal life. Granted, I’m happy I built a following that wasn’t just my parents, but when I finally decided to share it with friends, everyone’s reaction was the same: “How long have you been doing this? Why didn’t we know about it?” I then felt silly for NOT showing anyone. You’ll be surprised the support you can get from friends and loved ones. Sometimes that can be enough affirmation that you should keep going.
Plot It All Out
Sit down and figure out just what it will take to make your idea a reality. This may take quite a bit of research to really find the best method and make sure you are on the right track. If you are starting a blog, start researching what it takes to be self hosted, find a theme, do everything that needs a bit of setup in advance before diving into the content. If you are starting a business, study the business models of others in your field. See where they go to get their ideal clients.
Make sure that financially you can successfully start from scratch. Some people don’t realize the amount of money you can just put towards a quality website. And the successful bloggers out there have certainly put a lot of money towards their company over the years. Between high quality sites, custom made widgets, expensive camera equipment, money spent on their actual product (makeup, clothes, traveling, etc), hiring a few employees, and social media scheduling and organization tools, things add up.
Of course there are cheaper alternatives, but I say, make sure you can afford the items now that down the road will make you the best. In other words, make sure you have the money to travel before you become a travel blogger.
Make a Plan
If you are anything like me, planning is the key to your success. Everything about running a business takes planning, especially when you are just starting out.
For my business I have a yearly plan, monthly plan, and daily plan. My daily plans I try to follow to a T, with my monthly plans being a little more lenient and my yearly being more of an overall goal. This is because I have an idea in my mind of how successful I want my company to be in the year. Each month I have major goals to reach that will drive my marketing and sales to reach that yearly goal. But everyday I plan out tasks that will help me achieve my monthly goals. It’s all stepping stones to success.
But the scary thing about any creative business, is that you can’t predict how traffic and number of clients will actually come and go. Even if I am currently booked for the next 6 month, I many think that my whole year will end up being booked. But that might not be the case. Part of your planning should include ways to handle dry spells and combat them so you can stay up and running. This brings me to my next point:
Come Up with Alternatives
If I learned nothing else from my design education, I certainly learned to come up with multiple options. It didn’t matter what we were working on, my professors always had us come up with at least 5 alternatives, even if they liked our initial idea. This forced us to look at the issue we were solving in a different way and sometimes your last idea ended up being better than all the rest.
This is completely true of business as well. Even before you start, look at all the possible ways you could reach your end goal. Make sure you know which routes are the most plausible before venturing on.
The world is not one size fits all. If you are already knee deep in your company and your current business plan isn’t drawing customers or isn’t drawing the right kind of customer, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy and try something new. You may just strike gold with your next idea.
I wish I could underline this point a million times. Ideas don’t turn into concepts or businesses by themselves. You HAVE to make time for your idea for it to have any hope of working. Whether you make time for your “side hustle” after you come home from your day job everyday, or you do you what I did and quit your day job to work on it full time, you have to make time and make that time count.
You might need additional training for some ideas to work, and that means taking the courses, paying attention, and making sure this is something you really want.
Since this is my job, my company, it’s sink or swim. But I’m also able to put forth more than 40 hours of work each week. I know very few of us that are able to do that when we first start out. People assume that since I work from home that I can do whatever I want with my time, take a nap, go to the park. But the reality is that I spend everyday pouring my heart and soul into what I do to turn it into the company I dream of it being.
But I have seen so many business owners get their company going by working on it on the weekend because they still have a desk job during the week. And that’s just it, they are taking their weekend time to work on something that they want to make a reality. It doesn’t matter what you plan of action is, as long as you devote the necessary time into reaching your goals.
I think it’s amazing that we live in a time where people can work from home, have jobs solely on the internet, and do things that just weren’t possible even a couple of decades ago. Everything I do is part of a relatively new industry, and I’m so thankful for the opportunities that I’m able to have through this business.
I would love to hear from some of my fellow entrepreneurs. What areas did you focus on to make your company a success?