This is the big one. It’s incredibly simple, yet for some, the hardest to actually do. You have to leave the nest — your safe, secure happy place whatever that may be for you. Spread your wings! A business is not going to launch itself, your inertia is the only thing fueling it initially. Furthermore, no one is going to believe your product unless you’re willing to make yourself your own front man/woman. You set the tone. A fundamental right of passage of business is that initially, you must stand alone. If you can’t do this, you can’t succeed in business. Period.
Fear is holding you back. One word. It may encompass other minor things, but fear is the big dog. Fear is the main cause of inaction in people. Fear is what keeps you from doing things that will help you learn other things, which will make you successful. It honestly doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are mentally engaged in making your thing better.
There are lots of folks out there that will tell you that you need x, y and z to start your business. They are liars. Worse, they are trying to scare you out of starting your thing. It’s an unfortunate side of human nature, but you’re going to have to deal with a lot of haters that don’t want you as competition. They figure it’s easier to kill your will when you’re still a fledgling tog and don’t know how to deal with all the jerks. Luckily your mom taught you how to deal with them when you were in grade school — IGNORE THEM!
Make Your First Sale
You will be amazed how good it feels to have someone pay you to do something. It makes you feel like your work has value to other people and it vindicates the time you’ve spent developing your skills. It’s a great reason to go out and make your first sale, so as soon as you have a product, go out and sell it. See how much someone is willing to pay for your work. Hound your customers for feedback, then make your stuff better.
I can’t tell you how many people have come to me and said they haven’t sold their services because they are not ready. In other words they don’t have a website (FYI — I will lovingly punch you in the face if this comes out of your mouth!), they don’t have the right equipment, they don’t have… whatever. I’ll tell you what they have way to much of — excuses. If they had as much drive in their business as they have in making excuses then they would be a long way toward achieving their goals.
You have a thing, if the thing is good, someone will sell it. If it’s not good, trying to sell it will give you the information you need to make your thing better so you can sell it the next time. Also, if you can’t sell your thing, it doesn’t matter how good it is, so get selling!
Learning On The Job
If you want to start a business, you’re going to learn on the job. It’s the worst kept secret in business. I guarantee everyone you meet that has built their own company has learned their most valuable business skills on the job. You can learn skills working for other people, and I recommend doing this if you have an opportunity, but you’ll never acquire your most valuable skills until you hang your own sign. I don’t care how many seminars and podcasts your listen to, there is no substitute (and never will be) for action.
I remember when I first started out in photography I really wanted to train under someone else. Something about indentured servitude must have really appealed to me at the time, but I looked frantically because I didn’t feel ready yet. As it turns out, the person that ended up hiring me was perfectly willing to let me go do my own thing because I was already a lot better than she required. Nothing wrong with working for someone else, but if you want to have your own thing, I suggest getting out there and making it happen. Do some free shoots or whatever you need to get your confidence up. The sooner you spread your wings, the sooner you will be on your road to success.
photo credit: Ryan McGuire