DIY Entrepreneurship - 10 Mindset Musts For The Aspiring Entrepreneur
This article is for the ‘DIY Entrepreneurs’-- a term I like to use to describe a person with entrepreneurial dreams and aspirations, but with zero experience.
Have you ever got excited about an idea, an invention, or a mind-blowing concept you had and thought, this would make a great business! Or maybe you have mad skills in an area, a real pro at what you do, but then you ended up putting those dreams of starting a business on the back burner because “You” are not an entrepreneur. You’ve never owned a business and don’t really know the first thing about it.
That was me 6 years ago. Climbing the ladder of success in my chosen career, though finding my passions pulling me in another direction. The only thing was… I did not consider myself an entrepreneur. I didn’t know the first thing about business, marketing, or even how or where to start. I used to tell myself, “you need to take a business course.” But with 5 kids, a full time job, and bills that needed to be paid, a business course just wasn’t an option for me. So I did the next best thing - I decided to go for it anyway!
The following 10 steps helped me start a multi-six figure business with zero business experience:
1. Get Clear on Your Purpose: If you are going to give your all to something, you need to get clear on what it is that you want. Becoming an entrepreneur takes all of your best energy: your time, your tears, your sleepless nights and your greatest triumphs. So make sure that you’re jumping into something that you’re passionate about!
2. Commit: Deciding to become an entrepreneur is no small task. It is often referred to as a side hustle, but I’m gonna be honest here and tell you that most entrepreneurs who are still working a full time job put just as much time, if not more, into the ‘side hustle’. Entrepreneurship at any level requires dedication, commitment, and all your spare time. This leads me to my next point…
3. Make Sacrifices: If you are really serious about becoming an entrepreneur you will NEED to make some major changes to your life and lifestyle. 1) Give up your vices. You can’t expect to become a successful entrepreneur if you are clogging your path with booze, drugs, or any other bad habits. 2) Get rid of friends who don’t support you. You can’t surround yourself with people who bring you down or don’t support what you are doing. This goes for family members as well. I know it sounds harsh, but anyone who tries to crush your dreams, family or not, needs to be let go of or held at arm's length, if cutting them out is not possible. 3) Say ‘bye-bye’ to your social life. I’m not saying that you have to become a hermit, but it is often our social life that fills our spare time and if you want to run a business, you need your spare time.
4. Get Organized: Creative people are often surrounded by chaos, whether it is in their space or their heads, but that’s just what happens when ideas come all at once. So make sure you take the time to add some structure to your ideas and your surroundings. Organization helps with your productivity and allows for your ideas to have a home.
5. Educate Yourself: Read books or listen to audio books, watch videos, and listen to podcasts. When you are in the car, turn off the music and listen to something that will inspire you, motivate you or educate you. Not all of us have the time or financial means to attend a training program or take a course that can give us the skills we need, so we need to educate ourselves with the help of experts and people who have done what we want to do.
6. Invest in Yourself: Once you have made a bit of money or if you have some money set aside for your business, use some of that money to invest in yourself. Hire a coach, join masterminds, attend in person or online seminars and conferences and hire people to do some of the jobs that we don’t have the time or knowledge to do. I know you can save money by doing it yourself, and you’re clever enough to figure it out, but all of the little details take time to do and time to learn. Remember, you are an expert at what you do, you don’t need to become an expert at everything else. There are college students out there learning how to do web design, publishing, marketing, advertising, branding, etc… Believe me, they would love to be able to make a few dollars while gaining the much needed experience.
7. Believe in what you are putting out there. When someone has a passion for their product it shows. Most often the buyer is buying into the person as well as the product. Oprah didn’t become the queen of talk shows because she offered much needed topics. There are hundreds of talk shows out there offering the same thing. The people bought into her, because she believed in what she was putting out there. That is the same for any product. Another example is Joy Mangano, the inventor of Miracle Mop. Her first round of sales flopped because the seller had no heart. When she sold them herself, she sold 18,000 mops in less than half an hour. When you believe in what you are putting out there, whether a product or a service, people will respond.
8. Believe in Yourself: Shut out self-doubt. This is one of the hardest things to overcome especially in this day and age where social media is so prevalent. We have instant access to the competition and the ‘haters’, and that information can either fuel us or slow us down. Self-doubt can also stop us from advertising/posting about our service or product out of fear of being criticized, judged, or laughed at. Advertising is a crucial element in any entrepreneurial endeavour, we can’t keep our dreams from reaching hundreds, thousands or even millions, because one person said something negative about us! Be bold, be willing and above all, be brave.
9. Persevere: Push through when it gets hard, and it will get hard from time to time. But the thing with entrepreneurship is that we are fueled by passion above all else and that energy will sustain you and keep you going even when you’ve run out of ‘steam’ in other areas.
10. Start Before you’re Ready: Don’t be afraid to put out that B- material even though you are an A+ superstar. As entrepreneurs we are often perfectionists and it is hard to put something out when you know it is not your absolute best. But sometimes that B- material is the difference between something great and nothing at all. Don’t let your ideas sit idle in your mind or on your computer because you feel they aren’t your best. Sometimes getting over the fear of starting is what we need to push us into greatness. Why do you think they say ‘practice makes perfect’? Usain Bolt didn’t break the world record on his first try. Taylor Swift didn’t win a grammy with her first song. Steve Jobs didn’t create the first Apple computer with his first prototype. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and put out that so-so material just so long as you learn as you go so you can turn that average material into A+ content.
In the beginning of my own journey I felt a resistance to entrepreneurship because of the stigma that some people placed on it. For example, If you pursue a business venture then you are greedy or unhappy with your job. But that is not true. Entrepreneurship is a great creative outlet. It is a testament to your bravery and willingness to live your life doing what you love. It’s exciting and unpredictable, and yes, it has its ebbs and flows, but so does life. So if you are someone who has the burning desire to turn your passion into a small business or large scale corporation, just know that you don’t have to have all the answers before you begin. Sara Blakely famously said, “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know.” If she had followed the same processes the masses were following she may have never turned Spanx into a billion dollar industry. If you have passion and a willingness to follow that passion, then you already have the foundation.
Whatever you decide to build on it will be as sturdy as the effort you put in and as beautiful as the vision you stay aligned with.