Always dreamed about starting your own business? You need to be able to trust yourself to be smart enough to figure out tricky situations when they come. You also need to be resourceful enough to find money or help when you need it, to be experienced enough to make the right decisions as they arrive, and to be tough enough to bounce back when everything is hopeless.
But in the meantime, here are three steps to get started on that dream business idea:
3 Steps To Starting Your Own Business
1. Create Your Own Website
The first thing you should do, whether you are doing it yourself on one of the many user-friendly development tools out there (like WordPress) or through an outside vendor, is to start your SEO-friendly website.
Learn the basics on how to properly set up a site so that it ranks well. Keep it simple. This is also a great exercise for you to really figure out what your company is about and what problems you’re going to solve. It is also recommended to set up an online store if your business is selling products as many people nowadays prefer shopping through the internet.
Your site is your lifeblood. You want it set up correctly now because six months down the line, you’ll wish you started this off right from the beginning. An SEO-optimized site equals sales – and sales are always a good thing.
2. Create Your Master Goal List
The first thing I look at every single morning is my goal list. It works like this: the first items are short-term, essentially a to-do list (I call it my “Do-Now List”); the next items are mid-term, and the last items are basically long-term company goals.
Here’s what an example might look like:
The Do-Now List
- Order company T-shirts
- Write blog post
- Create Facebook page
- Set up 10 client meetings this month
- Set up partnership channel
- Close three new clients
- Get on to first page of Google SERPS for top keyword
- Streamline my business so that I can spend my summers in Maine
- Make as much salary as I did in the job I left
When starting your own business, try and start with 30 items. Always try and always have at least 10 “do-now” tasks that you could conceivably finish in one day. I know a lot of people will tell you that to-do lists are counterproductive.
I get that. I think the biggest reason for that is that things pile up on lists and they get overwhelming until the list just gets ignored.
But I pull up my list first thing on a Google Doc everyday (I keep it up all day) and it’s how I keep my eye on the prize. You’ll start to see how short-term stuff starts to translate to getting you to the long-term stuff. Those days you can successfully check something off the long-term goal list.
Add your completed mid-term and long-term goals to a separate accomplishments list with date stamps so you can always easily see where you were and what you’ve done.
The important thing is that you are just going to have to get used to the fact that this is a list you’re never fully going to complete. That may make some business owners who are used to getting things done a little anxious. But that’s just life, right?
I mean, we’re never really going to be “done” with anything: our house, our family, our hobbies. It’s all a work in progress. In fact, it’s really unhealthy to not have things to strive for. It’s what every happy and focused person needs. I hope that I’m 100 years old someday and I still have a robust list of things I’m still aiming towards.
3. Start Today
Did I catch you off guard? Were you not ready for that? Good. Starting your own business is just like having children: you’re not ever going to be perfectly ready. You just have to decide that you’re going to take that step because it’s something you want to have in your life.
And I mean now. NOT after you save a little more money. NOT after you learn a little more about the business. Today.
I ran a marathon once. The idea behind one of these big bucket list style goals, in my opinion, is that you think you’ll feel that if you can do something as difficult as running 26.2 miles, you’ll feel like you can do anything. Well that wasn’t exactly the effect it had on me.
The novelty of running 26.2 miles actually kind of ceased having any real meaning to me after about a month or so. It was just a number. You know how you repeat a word over and over until it doesn’t feel like a word anymore? It didn’t mean anything.
Here’s how it did affect me. When I got tired around the 8-minute mark or so, I didn’t say to myself, “well if I’m going to make it another 18 miles I’d better pace myself and slow down.” What would have happened if I slowed down is I would have started walking, maybe even sat down altogether.
Then I would have felt everyone run past me. The hours would have started to pile up. The street barriers would have eventually been removed. Before I knew it, the whole thing would have spiraled out of my control. I would have felt overwhelmed and eventually – probably – would have just given up.
So what I did at eight miles is I kept giving it my all. It wasn’t all that methodical, not even all that logical. I just kept running hard and hoped that at the 18th, the 22nd, the 26th-mile that my body would replenish its energy.
Well, it did. Your body is amazingly resilient like that. So I trusted that it would be able to tap into the reserves. It did – and I finished.
Once you’re on your way to starting your own business, you’re going to change. The old rules aren’t going to apply anymore. You’re going to get taken over by passion and you’ll be amazed at what you’re going to be capable of.
When you have passion, you’re always going to able to dig deep and find whatever it is you need to keep yourself in the race.