So, you want to start a business, but you looked at your bank account and realized that... well... YOU'RE BROKE. Yep... aint shit in your bank account but bill money,(if that) and so you start reconsidering the whole entrepreneurship idea. Or, maybe you've saved up a few dollars but for some reason you just can't figure out where or how the hell to start. Well, fret not my fellow entrepreneur in the making; I'm about to hip you to some dope knowledge on how you can start working towards your dream of owning a SUCCESSFUL business, with just a few dollars and a little bit of time.
Here's a little back story on who I am before I start dishing out information all willy-nilly. I'm Alisa, and I'm a freelance writer and the owner of the Drama MaMa Bookshop. When I first started my business, I was renting the tiniest spare bedroom I'd ever seen. I slept on a twin loft bed that took up most of the space in my room, and I was probably making somewhere around $600 a month. I know, right? I was a bit of a minimalist. Most of my money went towards my fairly cheap rent and turtle food for my pet turtle, Myrtle. (OH GOD.... I SOUND LIKE SUCH A FUCKING NERD) After about a year and a half of planning, prioritizing, and using many of the other steps I've listed below, I was well on my way to creating what is now a pretty dope and successful notebook company, if I do say so myself. And, I do. I do say so myself.
Starting a business can be simultaneously the most exciting and frightening part of entrepreneurship. There is so much to do in the beginning that it can all become a bit overwhelming. Maybe you can't quite seem to figure out what to do first, and you just wish someone would tell you where to start.
Okay, START HERE!
Make A List
You won't find one successful business owner that doesn't believe in the magic of writing things down. So, do like the greats and grab a notebook or journal and get to writing. Designate that notebook/journal solely for your business. (click here to take a look at few of our notebooks/journals.) Be sure to grab something durable so that you can refer back to it throughout your journey.
Write a list of EVERYTHING you think you'll need to have and every task you'll need to carry out in order to start and operate your business successfully. Really go into detail. Don't just write that you'll need a "store front and $20,000." This would be way too broad. Instead, focus on how you'd use the $20,000 and on what items you'd need to put inside your store. Write down each task, whether it be simple or part of the largest version of your dream. Be detailed and honest and don't stop writing until you have it all down. But, by no means feel pressured to get it all down in one setting. Throughout your journey you will continuously add to the list as you get shit done like a boss. You just need enough to get you started for now.
*Although this is not a business plan, it can assist you when you decide to start writing your business plan. But for now, just keep it casual. Believe me, the time to get more technical will be here in a flash.
Once you're finished (for the most part ) adding to your list, it's time to prioritize. Now you can start numbering the list you made. However, you won't be numbering it from 1st to last item on the page, instead, you'll be numbering it from what you can/need/should do first to what you can/need/should do last. (Can/Need/Should is a method I use when choosing what to do first. Keep an eye out for future articles on the Can/Need/Should Prioritizing Method.)
For example, your list might look something like this...
Need To Have & Need To-Do
Check the going rate for store fronts in my area
Purchase Business URL
Create a business email
Work on crowd funding campaign marketing plan
Prioritizing your list with a numbering system will look something like this...
Need To Have & Need To-Do
3. Check the going rate for store fronts in my area
4. Purchase Business URL
1. Create a business email
2. work on crowd funding campaign marketing plan
Because creating your business email doesn't cost anything and it's fairly easy to do, it might be the first thing you Can/Need/Should do on your list. While checking for the going rate of store fronts in your area might be something you Can/Need/Should do a little later.
Prioritizing your list in this manner can give you an idea of what you could be doing to work towards your goals right now, even with little to no resources. Although you may not have all the resources or opportunities at your finger-tips just yet, prioritizing early on will help to insure that when you're finally able to make a few moves, you'll be prepared. Not to mention, you'll feel hell-a accomplished as you begin to check the items off your list and watch those long term to-dos become more accessible.
Now it's time to plan. Once you're done prioritizing your list, you can start penciling in your priorities and pairing them with dates inside a business planner. Keep in mind that they'll always be something to do when you're running your own business. There is no such thing as, "I'm finished" in the entrepreneurial world, so it's important to love what you do because you're going be doing a lot of it. Take an honest look at your schedule and pencil in deadlines and due dates for goals and task you wish to complete. Be honest about how much time each item will take to achieve, put your game face on and stat tackling those task.
*I encourage you to grab a planner that will give you a full view of four calendar months at one time. As business owners and entrepreneurs in the making, we have to look at our goals in larger time frames than simple 30 day calendars allow. Because we have to plan for holidays and our own personal busy seasons months in advance, it's mandatory that we have an easy view of the opportunities that are coming our way.
Time to Mingle
You better Network! 70% of any business' success is all about relationships. Period. Whether you offer a service or a product, you need people honey. You need them working with you, beside you, and for you. So get out there and go meet some folks who could benefit from the service or product you'll be providing. It's free and it doesn't hurt... that much. ( I mean, lets be real, you might run into a few assholes) But, none-the-less, grab some lotion and start rubbing some elbows with folks that are moving in the same direction as you.
Starting a business while working a full-time job is more work than you can imagine, however, it's what many of you will be doing in the beginning. Not to mention, you'll probably be doing a lot of that work on your own for a while. This can no doubt become mentally, emotionally, and spiritually draining, so a self-care regiment is mandatory. While planning for your business' success, be sure to pencil in some self-care routines in that busy schedule of yours. Make time for family, friends, reading, peace and quite, and whatever the hell else you need to free your mind of the rat race.
Always aim to maintain a healthy eating regiment, and remember that if you're not alive, you can't work, so feed yourself. Tending to your body is of great importance because what we put in our bodies effect our minds. And you'll need your mind in order to run your business successfully. Putting the right foods in your body will insure that you'll be mentally equipped to make decisions and be innovative when neccessary.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope it makes your heart sing. I hope it makes you feel as good as I do when I grab my notebook and work on bullet points for an article. Or when I'm binding a book and imagining that someone will write in it something that could change the world or help them discover themselves in a new way.
Wishing you all the best on your journey. Go Be Great.