I started my own entrepreneurial journey in March of 2006.
I wasn’t unhappy with my work, but that I was working for a boss I didn’t trust. I quit my job in February and launched my venture on the 1st of March. At the time, I didn’t have much of a plan and I had very little money in the bank. I had a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old, but I took that first step despite fear and doubt.
You don’t have to be in my situation to make the jump to your own business. Maybe you have something burning inside of you that keeps calling you forward. In your gut, you know you should be doing something more than paying your bills, but you aren’t sure how to make that leap forward.
I have a mentor who is fond of saying, “Jump and build your wings on the way down.” I am not sure this is great advice for everyone, but the concept is true for all of us. If we never jump we will never know if we can fly.
How many people do you know who often say they wish they would have done something? Or maybe they complain about what they should’ve done!
I call this shoulding all over themselves: they should’ve done this, or they should’ve done that. They end up shoulding all over themselves and others. This can be depressing!
I don’t want you or me to be this person for others!
What is your dream? What do you keep thinking you should do, but aren’t doing … yet?
When I made the jump, I had worked for a headhunting firm for a few years. I knew how to develop relationships with people and I had some relationships in the healthcare industry. Because of that skill, I started a recruiting firm helping hospitals recruit and land healthcare leaders. Today, I have added the developing piece to this business. I help recruit, land and develop leaders.
What skill could you parlay into your first entrepreneurial venture? What passion pulls you forward, and why are you waiting to share it with the world?
Now, my story sounds nice. And I wish I could tell you it has been easy, but I have had many challenges and failures along the way. Still, the life of entrepreneurship is definitely worth the struggle.
5 Questions to Help You Jump
1. What Do You Want?
Don’t just identify what you want, but what you really, really, really want!
You must create the desire for yourself. This desire must become all-consuming—burning in your soul.
James Allan said, “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
Isn’t it interesting that the seed already has an oak tree within itself? If only it begins to vibrate at the right frequency to draw in the nutrients provided to it by the earth, by the creator. Get your desire (frequency) in line with your passion and actions. Then, your seed will begin to take root and sprout as well.
Now back to the question: what do you really, really, really want?
Begin with clarity. There will be many distractions and false starts. But, the sooner you can get clear, the faster the escalator will move.
In that acorn are millions of other acorns and possibly thousands of trees, but it will only lie in the ground and die unless it attracts what it needs to survive.
You too must nurture the dream God has placed in your heart to be an entrepreneur who makes a global impact. Allow your hard outer shell to soften and attract new ideas, new thinking, and new growth to take root and sprout.
2. What Will It Look Like?
When you create your masterpiece, who will you be serving, and how will you be serving them? What will you add to them? What will you sell them? Will you have a team or be a one person show? Will you partner with others in your chosen field? Will you contract work out, or will you serve every client yourself?
These are all questions you must ask yourself to serve your business and customers well. They will need to feel that you understand them and can solve their problems.
The most important thing you must understand is this: selling is the life-blood of any entrepreneurial venture. The clearer you are on what you offer, the more successful your selling will be.
3. How Will You Get There?
If you want to grow your business into an organization, this step is crucial. Where will you find prospects and clients?
Who is on your prospect list of dream customers? How will you connect with them—will you call them, mail them, or stalk them? Will you attend the trade shows or association meetings they attend?
You need a plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need a set of tracks to run on. When you get stuck, get back on this set of tracks to get going again.
John Maxwell says the secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda. This prospect list is your daily agenda. You need to court, call, text, email, and adding value to this list often (usually every day). You won’t touch every person on your list every day, but be sure to reach every person at least every few weeks.
4. How Will You Sustain It?
Many leaders have success for a short time, but how can you have staying power? If you want to grow your business and serve a bigger cause, you need help.
My relationships with other entrepreneurs sustain me. They push me on. Any time, I can call to ask questions and work through solutions for my clients. I can call a mentor, thinking partner, or coach to work through challenges and struggles.
I like shortcuts. I am lazy and want things quickly and easily. Success is not going to happen for me this way, so coaching and mentoring relationships have become my accountability group and continual learning program.
5. What Is Going to Stop You?
Don’t let bad habits, limiting beliefs, people in your life, people not in your life, laziness, or lack of growth stop you!
Use John Maxwell’s Law of Awareness to recognize and evaluate these things.
I have a ton of false beliefs in my life. My belief system was developed by watching average performers and poor leaders while I was growing up. My parents sabotaged our family, and some of my family members live off the “free stuff” America doles out for zero effort.
I was conditioned to think I couldn’t change anything. But something keeps calling me forward and up. Something keeps telling me there is more in my life.
I have habits I must constantly work to change. I need help. Staying connected to my desire helps me focus. Having mentors and coaches in my life keeps me accountable. My friends speak the truth and challenge me to grow, change and take action. They don’t let me get away with patterns of behavior and beliefs that used to hold me back.
I have so many lids I am still trying to raise. You may have less to deal with in this arena, but we all have lids that must be challenged.
If you really want to realize your dream, say this right now,
No one and no thinking will stop me! I will keep people in my life who add value to me and challenge to keep chasing the dream. I will show GRIT! People with grit never quit!