I managed to start an online business with little more than $70, self belief and some hard work.
A lot of people never really seem to get around to doing what they want to, and I think it's because they never attach a price tag or timeline to their dreams. If they knew how simple it is to start an online business, I have no doubt that more people would begin crossing goals off their to do lists.
I decided to go against the grain. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I wanted to travel, so I set off and started my first online business, Gap Year Escape. The funds started to dwindle and by having that sink or swim moment, it really drove me to want to succeed. It wasn't until three months later that my business started making money.
Fast forward a few years and I've traveled across all seven continents whilst running my business, and there's one thing I know for sure: the Wi-Fi in Antarctica sucks!
Here are three things I wish I was told as a young entrepreneur -- lessons you can learn from and apply to your entrepreneurial efforts right away.
1. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people.
It has often been said that birds of a feather flock together. If there's any truth to that statement, what it means is that you are more or less the average of your five best friends.
Does that scare you or excite you? If it doesn't fire you up, it means that you're probably hanging around the wrong people.
The solution is to focus on surrounding yourself with positive people who encourage and lift you. Begin to eliminate the negative from your life, and hang out with those who have a can-do, do-what-it-takes attitude. De-weed your social garden!
Start joining Meetup groups, and get connected with likeminded people. Networking is one of the most important things you could be doing as an entrepreneur. When you build relationships with the right people, they can open new doors of opportunity for you.
2. This is a solo race, so stop comparing.
Everybody chooses their own path. Some will work really hard to climb the corporate ladder. Some might get married and have kids. Whatever the yard stick, even if you feel like you're getting left in the dust, you have to keep in mind that you have your own race to run.
It's hard to know where the phrase originated, but there is tremendous wisdom to the idea that comparison is the root of all unhappiness. Instead of focusing on what you need to do to move ahead, you look at others and wonder why you don't have what they have. Look for inspiration not competition.
If you want to build a successful business, you have to put your blinders on and do the work. Don't worry about what anyone else is up to. You have your path, and they have theirs. You're not up against anyone else in the battle to become a better version of you.
3. A lack of specificity & follow-through kills success.
People think they know what they want, but they are often swimming in an ocean of ambiguity. They want to start a business, but they have no idea what kind of business. They want to buy a Ferrari 458 Spider one day, but they have no idea how much it costs.
If you don't know what you're building towards, then you'll never make a plan for achieving it. You won't start the business, and you won't buy the car. You won't travel the world or start that charity. You'll get stuck in analysis paralysis, perpetually thinking about doing something, but never actually getting off the couch to make something happen.
You need to make a plan. Immediately. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be. You can make adjustments as you go. Airplanes are off-course 99% of the time, and are constantly making adjustments to get to their destination. The important thing is that they get there.
If you're having trouble getting going, you need to start asking a new question. More than likely, the question you've been asking all along is "how?" I urge you today to also start asking yourself "why?" instead. When you're clear on your purpose and motivation, you'll be driven to take action.
Final thoughts: Start asking questions. Look into that business idea. Get on the phone, send emails, test a concept -- do whatever you need to do to start taking steps towards your business dreams.