So, you’ve decided to grab the stick…
and take control of your future. Now what? Now what, indeed. That is the question that plagues the ones who decide to take their future into their own hands. You have been given the controls to a nimble fighter jet that you can point into any direction you want. Where will you fly? Like any flight you plan to take, you need to know your destination before you takeoff. You have heard many people say the phrase "you need a business plan" and they are right - to some extent.
I will say that when I first started my business over 5 years ago, I had such a plan. Now, when I look back at that plan at the beginning compared to the business I have created today, things are very different. For one, the reason I started my business was the wrong motivation to begin anything.
"First rule in Starting Out: Don't start your business out of pride or anger."
Seems to be a pretty self-explanatory viewpoint right? Wrong. These two motivations of pride and anger can be cleverly masked in phrases like "I just wasn't valued enough" or "I won't treat my employees that way." The root of both of those statements is pain. You were hurt by your previous employer. Maybe you did something wrong and maybe their communication on the subject was poor at best. If that is why you want to start your own business then... don't.
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Or maybe you find yourselves saying the words: "My boss didn't even know how his business worked" or "I can totally build a business better than my boss ever could." The source of that view of your previous employments is pride. Trust me that both you and I are not all that and a bag of chips.
"Second rule in Starting Out: Building a business is the hardest thing you will ever do."
Hardest. Thing. Ever. I am not joking. Every time I find myself at the cliff and looking out at unconquered territory and fear grips me, I remember how simple it was back when I was an employee and I though my boss was an idiot. I remember thinking, "it's so simple. All you have to do is ______________."
Unfortunately, when you own a business, the issue isn't filling the blanks with something. It's about filling it with the right thing at the right time, every time.
Okay, so "No Anger." Check. "No Pride." Check.
"It's hard." I get it. What now?
Now comes the most important question that you have to ask yourself:
Why start your business?"
If it's to make money, close the doors before you start and hang up your book of ideas. You won't make it, not in this economy. I know this is a global world and people will tell you about economies of scale, etc. but, there is one thing that is a universal truth is that we are in what some call a "Connection Economy."
What is a connection economy? It's the idea that we are all connected more than ever through social media and at the same time we feel more distant from each other. As a Divergent Entrepreneur, you have to build a business that connects people to not only goods and services, but each other. A business that simply sells one item for slightly cheaper in a different manner may make a little money, but it will not change the world.
"The third rule in Starting Out: Dream big at the beginning and then start building."
With my business 5 Words Media, I set out to connect technology and media to churches and to foster a community of churches connecting together around technology. That was the intention at the start and in the past 5 years we have begun to make headway towards that goal. People said "we were crazy." That church environment was a silo'd community and that people wouldn't want to share, create together and build relationships. People said the business model wasn't sustainable and there weren't enough customers, etc.
There was only one very large problem that I had with these statements. They viewed our mission as impossible simply because it hadn't been done in our community before. The dream was big and seemingly impossible at the beginning, but ultimately worth fighting for. So, now here is the question I have for you: