Congratulations on taking charge of your dreams and making things happen!
I know you’re excited about the future and you SO should be. It can be a little (or a lot) scary to take action on things that most people just talk about.
During this period of adrenaline-filled days and nights, you’ll probably feel like you can change the world. Guess what? You can!
Your passion has the power to infect others and you’ll probably never be more attractive than you are right now. So don’t take this period for granted.
Focus your energy on what really matters.
The best piece of advice I have for you is to keep things simple. Make a list of just three things that will move you toward your goal the fastest and then work on those and forget the rest.
Usually, this means getting out there and meeting people. Building your network. Sharing yourself with free demos, speaking opportunities and, definitely samples. It doesn’t mean learning how to use Facebook (that will come later, trust me).
Don’t shy away from giving away your product or services. But do it strategically.
Make sure you know who your Ideal Customer is and where you can find them. Then, go there and give yourself away. But be sure to ask for something in return. A review, a testimonial, a connection to someone in the media. Or even better — feedback on how to make your thing even better.
Beware of Hype
You’ll need and want to find mentors and people who can help you get where you need to go. Yes, you’re bootstrapping, so cash is tight. Guard your wallet carefully.
Don’t shell out thousands of dollars to someone who’s making promises that sound too good to be true. (They usually are.)
There’s absolutely NO substitute for hard work.
Blueprints and roadmaps can be helpful — but if someone promises that you won’t have to think about things at all, it’s a sign that their marketing is probably more powerful than what they’re selling.
If you’re looking for fill-in-the-blank templates and sure-fire recipes (usually touted to make you six figures in 60 days or less), you should probably run in the other direction.
Look for people who are humble, real and authentically transparent. Those are the ones you want to learn from. They’re the ones who can give you long-term value and help you the most.
When in doubt, look for folks who can point to real, measurable outcomes for their clients. Because goals are only reached (or surpassed) if they’re measurable.
For Every Peak, There’s a Valley
Once you’re in the thick of things, your passionate adrenaline-filled days will begin to wane.
Don’t worry, this happens to all of us.
When things don’t materialize as quickly as you’d hoped, or the day-to-day grind of handling details that you should be paying someone else to deal with feels like more than you can handle, don’t give up.
There IS a way out and a way forward. You just have to find it.
Your goal is to get to profitability. That means staying away from debt and big ticket items that will eat up your cash.
But it also means investing wisely into hiring others to help do things you’d rather not (or, more likely, should be delegating so you can focus on what really matters). This includes things like bookkeeping, website building and other administrative stuff. Leave these tasks to those who already know how to do them.
You need to be spending your time on marketing and business development. And if you’re ever in doubt, remember what your time is worth. Every minute or hour you spend trying to figure out WordPress is another minute or hour you could be promoting your business or closing sales. Stick to what you do best and leave the other stuff to the experts.
But don’t wash your hands of something just because you’ve delegated it. You’ve still got to manage it. So be sure to consult with experts regularly to make sure you understand how things are working. This is especially important where your money is concerned. Make sure your bookkeeper gives you at least a monthly report on your finances. (And make sure you can read and understand that report so you’ll know if something is off-kilter.)
Embrace the Mindset of an Entrepreneur
Make time every week to wear your CEO hat. To plan your plans and check in on the big picture stuff. (See Michael Gerber’s the E-Myth Revisited for more on this.) To dream Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.
And make sure your CEO time includes relationship building, collaborative projects and most of all…FUN.
You didn’t start this venture to make yourself another J-O-B. So if (when) things start to feel like one, that’s a clear sign that you need to step back and think about how to bring more fun into your business.
Nurture your creativity and stay curious about the world and how things work. Your ability to innovate depends on it!
Live a well-rounded, prosperous life. Get a hobby. Read some fiction. Spend time with your spouse and family. Abundance isn’t just about money. And nobody ever said, “I wished I’d worked more hours” on their deathbed.
Your time away from your business will actually keep your energy and passion for your vision high — and bring you better ideas and more creative insights.
Honor your commitments. To yourself, to your customers, to your vendors and to your partners. A promise is a sacred contract. Don’t break yours if you can help it. (And conversely, don’t make promises you can’t keep! There’s no dishonor in saying, “No, thank you.”)
Lastly, don’t give up. That last little bit of effort needed to hit your goal, is often the spot where most folks throw in the towel.
Watch this and stay inspired:
If you can remember — and live — these things, you’ll be well on your way to creating a prosperous business — and changing the game (or the world)!
What did I leave out? What advice would you add to this list?