There are so many things I wish I would have known before I embarked on the entrepreneurial journey that could have saved me a lot of headaches. But I think as entrepreneurs, one of our responsibilities is to serve as mentors for others, so in this article, I'm going to share the five things I feel are the most important to know before starting your own business based on my experience. I hope they will help you set yourself up for success for years to come!
1) Have a financial plan to support your dreams
I know we don't always want to admit to this but your business probably won't sustain you financially in the beginning. Even when lump sums do come in, they are often sporadic, so you can't really depend on them for your survival. You want to give yourself freedom by having money coming in elsewhere so that you don't feel stressed and overwhelmed on your journey towards success. As a Yogatherapist, I can tell you that nothing good comes from being in survival mode. First of all, you'll kill 50% of your potential because you won't have enough mental space to tap into the best parts of yourself and you'll end up making decisions in your business that will be backed up by neediness which people will feel. This business of yours has it's own life and you will be tending to it for years to come. It needs to grow organically and have space to become what it's meant to be. By sustaining yourself and your business financially, you will also enjoy the journey so much more. I think we can all agree that we start our own business to feel happier, more free and less stressed.
2) Don't ask your newborn to walk
If you're a visionary like me, you probably see what your successful business will look like in the future very clearly. So much that it might even feel real right now, but it's so important to be in the present moment with where you are at, all the while keeping your eye on the future goals. Doing things too quickly will result in mediocre work and you won't end up having the impact that you wish. Patience is key to accessing your fullest potential and that of your business. Don't put the horse before the carriage! Take a moment and imagine your business as a child. If you're just starting, it's a newborn -- therefore it needs time to adjust to life. If you ask your newborn to walk right away or even run, serious damage could be done. Let your business (baby) evolve and grow on its own rhythm. Tend to it regularly and show up fully for it each day, but don't ask it to do things that it's not ready to do just yet. You'll suffocate it and won't get the results that you hope for.
3) Master focus... like, now
Especially at the beginning of your journey, your mind is going to be on creative fire! You'll probably want to do it all, tend to it all and serve everyone maybe even all at once. At first, being busy for some reason makes us feel successful and it's really important to be aware of this misconception from the get go. You want to do business, not busyness! Ask yourself, how would a pro do this? This is something that takes practice so don't expect to master this at the beginning but at least be aware of it so that you can work your way towards a focused state of mind. That is when you will access your best work ever. Those who create amazing things or impact the world in big ways like Oprah, Richard Branson or Marie Forleo practice focus. It's a non-negotiable if you want to be successful. Read this article for some concrete tricks!
4) Find your crew
You are going to need a strong team of people around you so that this journey is enjoyable and to help you keep achieving your goals. One key thing that is really important to know is that most probably family members, friends and partners will not understand your reality and it will be very hard for them to help. Also, it takes guts to start your own business and you'll notice that when you talk to loved ones about your struggles their fears will take over and if you're not careful you will soak that up. They are there to love you and take care of you so it's normal that they will also want to protect you, which might end up in advice such as, "maybe it would be better to go back to a stable job," which will make you doubt your capacity to succeed. Blinders are necessary on this journey and you'll need to surround yourself with people who are living the same reality as you, with coaches that can help you reach your goals and communities where you will feel like your are understood and not alone. Our previous post dives deeper into this topic.
5) Plan your ideal lifestyle first
This is one thing most entrepreneurs do backwards because our drive is so strong to build our business that we forget about the foundation of it all -- our lifestyle! You want to make sure to clarify what type of lifestyle you want so that you can plan your business around it. I'll give you a clear example of something that happen to me. I've always known that I want to live in the country. I'm a home-bug who is happiest when I'm with my family and friends in a quiet lifestyle. A few years ago I was so driven by the idea of starting an actual physical business (which is something that has always been in my plans) that I opened a wellness center in the city. I was never home, was tied to go into the city almost every day of the week, and always felt exhausted from not having enough quiet time in the country. As I took the leap into this venture, I completely ignored the key things that make up my health and happiness. When I learned this concept of doing it the other way around, I made huge changes in my business and today feel more balanced and happier than ever. Plus I'm so much more successful because my foundation is strong. So think about the lifestyle that you want before getting started. If you've already started, don't worry about it, you can always change things around. Life is about evolving and we can't always get it right at the start. You'll see that in business, being flexible and open to change is really important!
Get to know your strengths because life needs you where you are at your best. This is the funnest part of the entrepreneurial journey I find because the more we discover what we are truly meant to do and how we best serve people, the more success we have and the more fulfilled we feel. I look into everything from my numerology to my astrology to listening to what my clients say about the best work I did for them. My favorite tool of all is Sally Hogshead's test called The Fascination Advantage system. It's the tool that has shifted things most drastically for me in terms of knowing where I need to focus my energy to be the most successful. It's $47 and well worth the investment for the amount of clarity you will get.
What I want you to leave with today is a solid foundation to make your dreams come true. There is no success formula in business, you can only do your best and adjust when needed. What you start today, might not be the business you're growing in five years. There are no failures, it's all just a wonderful journey of learning and tapping into the best version of yourself so that you can make a difference.
Cheers to your success and INJOY the business journey!