5 Pieces of Wisdom From My Start-Up Journey

February 10, 2022

There are over 6 million new businesses started each year in the US, according to the Small Business Administration. And even before the 2020 surge of new business startups, small businesses made up 99.9% of businesses in the country.

Part of the motivation for many of these entrepreneurs and solopreneurs is the desire to “help people”.

They know that much, but… now what?

This is often the stage when I intersect with a budding business owner. 

For example, recently I was invited to breakfast by a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple years. It was so good to reconnect and I could see in his eyes… there was something he really wanted to bring up.

I eventually asked, and he confessed that he’s ready to leave his corporate job and start a business he’s been thinking about and planning for years. On the side, he’s been helping his wife get her business off the ground, and though he’s learned many things, she’s struggling to break out of struggling.

I began sharing some thoughts I deemed mundane – nothing special – and my friend began furiously taking notes. 

It wasn’t until I was in the car afterward that I realized what was going on there. I was taking for granted the things I had learned through the startup struggle, but to him, the things I was sharing were gold.

I remembered how hungry I was in the beginning for advice from those ahead of me on the same path.

And suddenly, I wanted to share my “mundane” wisdom with everyone out there stuck or pressing through.

So, if you and I could have breakfast tomorrow, here’s what I would share with you…

  1. Repurpose everything you’re talking about.
    Just like what I’m sharing with you right now, take the things you’re teaching/coaching/consulting, and turn them into content that can be shared more broadly. Record workshops, document themes from coaching/consulting sessions, turn lessons into blogs, etc. Then, turn this content into free evergreen content online that allows you to start building an audience.
  1. Start building a community of trust.
    As you share this content, always point people to a place where they can stay connected with you, and also gain from others in a similar situation. Any social media group will do, but I would recommend Mighty Networks and an email list on ConvertKit. This way, once you have a real business ready to offer your services, you already have trusting relationships built with people who want your help.
  1. Take the pressure off by creating savings and financial milestones.
    You’re probably subconsciously thinking, “This will either take off, or I’ll be poor on the streets”. The truth is, most land somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. That’s why you simply need to map out the minimum you need to live off, and the goal you’d like to hit by the end of the financial runway you’ll have to operate from in the beginning. Then map out realistic milestone amounts you expect to make every 3 months along the way. Every 3 months, check reality against your milestones and ask yourself (and preferably someone else) how it’s going. That way, there are plenty of opportunities to change course. Many times, we just need to step back and ask ourselves, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”.
  1. Stop viewing your job as a drag. Use it for learning.
    I think this one speaks for itself. You’re dreading work and watching the clock until it’s time to leave. I’ll just cut to the chase – you’re wasting your most valuable resource as an entrepreneur. Time is on your side right now, since it’s already paid for. So use it well! Learn what you need to learn. Make mistakes while it doesn’t cost you. Shift your mindset and enjoy every day!
  1. Keep track of learnings.
    I promise… you’ll want them later. Especially learnings about your message and your ideal customers. As you share your idea with people, what problems/concepts are resonating with them? What questions do they ask? As you start to help people, which ones are drawn to you and which ones do you enjoy helping? What are the situations in which you seem to produce the best results?

Of the 5, which ones will you start doing? When?

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