This is part one from The Guide To Starting Your Online Business, an e-book I wrote to help creative small businesses sort out their steps before they get to the website part. The first step is sorting out your mind, and getting serious about your goals.
Before we begin planning your exciting business idea, let’s take some time to get your mind right. You can read all the articles, and watch all the videos, but the core of your business comes from you.
Your success starts within your own mind.
We start Part 1 with three questions:
We’re gonna piece together the answers one by one. But first let’s get this straight: You need to cut your bullshit NOW.
If you say you want to start a business get it in your head that you HAVE to show up every single day to do the work it takes to build that business. Every single day.
Some days all you can fit is an hour, and that’s fine. But if you let 48 hours slip by without doing one thing related to your business that means you slipped on your own bullshit. And we’re not having that.
YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME EVERY DAY.
There’s no excuse for you to be on Twitter RTing your favorite celebrity, and telling invisible strangers that you’re starving for shrimp scampi when you could be learning about payment processing, or product label printing, or conversion rates.
You choose how to spend your time. That shrimp scampi isn’t going to fulfill orders for your imaginary business that you talk about, but don’t work on.
Now that you understand your bullshit isn’t welcome in your business planning, let’s start. Where do you start when you’re planning a business? At the beginning, you start with yourself. Why did YOU start a business? What do YOU WANT from it? How far are YOU willing to PUSH YOURSELF?
The answer isn’t complicated. It’s not like you don’t know what made you want to start a business.
For example, I started a business because I wanted to work for myself. Being bossed around by people I don’t respect fills me with blinding rage. So I figured, I’d better do something about that – like stop working shitty retail jobs, or for maniacal short men who own shitty bars and overpriced coffee shops.
You know exactly why you want to start a business. If you’re afraid to say it out loud, that’s another thing all together isn’t it?
Here’s the thing about the noise in our heads that keeps us from saying what we truly believe, feel, mean, think and want:
We can either let the noise fill us up with fear and self-doubt, or we can challenge ourselves (and the noise) to find out who we really are and what we’re capable of, when we commit to the effort.
You can prove to yourself what you’re made of, and maybe even get more than what you thought you wanted. You could gain confidence, pride, self-worth, and things other than money!
So cut the shit.
There’s an idea among creatives and modern spiritualists that you never have an idea that you can’t achieve. There’s no vision you have that you can’t see all the way through.
Basically, if YOU thought it then YOU CAN DO IT.
Go back to the moment you got your business idea. What thought inspired you to say “I’m gonna do this thing?”
Was it money that inspired your business idea? If it was, that’s OK. You can say that you just want to make money.
Everyone wants money. But if you just want money you could do anything? You could become stripper. You could become a sperm donor, or an egg donor. You could be a surrogate. There are lots of ways to make money.
Let’s go deeper. Dive into the deep-down-bottom-line-nitty-gritty truth. Why do you want a business? Grab a pen and paper and write it down.
“I want to start a business because….”
Write down every single reason that you can think of. Maybe you hate your boss. Maybe you want to leave a legacy for your children. Maybe you’re OBSESSED with crocheting animals, or painting, or jewelry-making. Maybe you want to live-eat-sleep-and-breathe your passions. Write it down and hold on to it.
Then, write down why you chose the TYPE of business you’re starting. Why graphic design? Why photography? Why web design? Why T-shirts? Why accessories? Why do you want to do hair, or nails, or become a life coach? List all – every single last one – of your reasons for choosing that business.
There are no wrong answers. But it’s important that your answers are truthful and come from your heart. You have to be 100% emotionally and mentally connected to your business idea if you expect to succeed.
What will having a business mean to you, emotionally? What will starting your website and marketing your products online give you, in the end? What do you want from it?
You have to know this clearly in your mind (and heart) because everything between you starting your business, and reaching your goal will demand your dedication. And dedication takes focus, and it takes heart.
You need to keep your endgame goal strong because that’s what will keep you pushing through when the business-side gets hard. And it will get hard. It will get stressful. It will not be a simple 1-2-3 from here to there.
And the question of what you want will have to be answered time and time again, even aside from the ultimate goal.
When you’re running a business there will be multiple goals along the way. Your success will depend on knowing exactly what you want to achieve every step of the way.
This is why it’s okay to want money – obviously, we’re not here for ha-ha’s. But there has to be something more, behind the money.
What do you want the money for? What’s the goal behind the income? Do you want more money to create a certain lifestyle? Do you want the money to invest in a different business? Do you wanna buy your mama a house?
No answer is the wrong answer. But the truth is always the best answer.
Be honest with yourself about what you really want. Say it with your chest. Say it out loud, right now, and say it like you mean it. Say, “I want….”
I mean it. Say it OUT LOUD. For these reasons: 1) You need to hear your own voice saying things you mean in your heart. It’s self-affirming, and empowering. 2) The Universe needs to hear you say it too. I’m 1,000% serious.
Whatever you want is OKAY. Absorb that.
Whatever you want IS OKAY. You deserve to have whatever you want. Just own it.
So, what do you want?
What do I really want to do with my time? Think about your personal priorities. (ex: my absolute favorite activity is day drinking at the beach. That’s literally what I want to do most of the time. So I work toward being able to do that.)
What do I love about this idea? What part of the business are you the most excited to do/work on? (ex: I mostly just love daydreaming and making stuff – websites, pdfs, emails, writing blogs, making graphics. I just like to make stuff and spread ideas.)
What’s my least favorite thing about this idea? It’s important to know what you don’t like because this is where you’ll have to push yourself harder. And you need to be mentally prepared for that. (ex: My least favorite part is dealing with false starts, people who flake, or who have bad communication skills.)
How much money do I want to make every month? Setting tangible goals makes it easier to know what you’re working towards.
Who do I want to work with? What kind of people do you want your business to serve? (ex: I want to work with PASSIONATE creative small start-ups, women, and writers.)
We’re going to use these questions later on to form the mission statement for your business, and define your marketing strategy. Keep it clear, short, and to the point. You started your business because….. You love doing….. Your business is about …… for …..
There are no wrong answers when it comes to deciding what you want for/from your business. You’re the creator here. This is your dream and vision. You get to decide how it plays out.
So decide right now. What do you want? Then, write it down.
Like I said in the intro, when you start a business you’ll have to show up for it everyday. The beginning DEMANDS 100,000% of your HUSTLE AND GRIND. You either put in the OVER time or you don’t. There’s no way around that.
Question 3 is deeply personal and you have to be very honest with yourself.
Are you willing to put yourself and your business before of everything else in your life? Are you willing to wake up early before your day-job to do business planning? Are you willing to stay up an hour later, doing business planning? Are you willing to skip out on parties to work on your business?
Are you willing to give it your all, or just some of you? And how much is “some” of your effort?
Are you willing to learn things you’re unfamiliar with? Are you willing to struggle with technology or math or copywriting until you breakthrough? Are you willing to invest whatever time or money it takes to achieve your goals?
HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU TO YOUR GOALS?
How far are you willing to push yourself for your business? Really. Truly.
There are no days off – unless, you’re really sick. And truthfully, when you’re serious about your business you won’t even want to take time off. At least not until after you hit your first major goal.
Sure, you don’t need to be told, because I’m sure you already know that anything worth a damn in life demands EFFORT and CONSISTENCY. You understand that you have to put in the work if you want certain results. I know you know this.
Sure, real life will get in the way. It always does, but you choose your priorities.
Do other people’s needs come before your dreams? Is your business something you can put off another day? And another, until you haven’t touched it in a month and then you have to regroup? And then you repeat the cycle every few months, wondering why the algorithm is stalling your sales…
I once offered a business owner a free sample of a project I was working on in exchange for them to report back results. The only requirement was that they followed the steps for 2 weeks straight. And they flat out replied that they couldn’t commit to 2 weeks of effort.
You gotta respect the honesty, I guess. (No respect for the hustle though – or lack there of.)
If you want your business to succeed it MUST CONSUME YOU. Period. No excuses. Nothing great was ever achieved through excuses. And don’t you want your business to be great?
All of our favorite names in art, fashion, sports, entertainment, and business have one thing in common – their passion took them over and pushed them relentlessly toward their goals.
If you’re not blindly burning with mad tunnel-vision-focus, and an eat-breathe-sleep-pray-love passion for your business drop it right now. Get out of here and give up. Quit if you don’t mean it with every cell in your body and every spark in your heart.
Come back when you find the thing that you’re insane for and DO THAT THING.
Because when you’re insane for something you’ll do absolutely anything for the feeling it gives you. You’ll do whatever it takes to maintain the experience, and to enhance it. When you’re consumed by passion you’ll want to take it as far as your imagination can go, and you’ll constantly imagine further new places to take it.
That’s exactly how you should feel about your business. You should burn, yearn, and crave for its success. When you’re serious, it becomes ALL you’ll think about it. ALL THE TIME.
So, how far are you willing to push yourself? Are you willing to be consumed?
So you want to start a business? Ask yourself why, and ask yourself how much energy and time you’re willing to give the business? Be real with yourself and answer deeply from your heart.
If you want a business, get your head in the game and show up like you mean it. Everyday.
I know websites, writing, and heavy promotion. I also know you need to stop doubting yourself and book your call with me.