Do you dream of starting your own business where you can do it right? Where your decisions will truly matter? Are you scared to leave the safety of your job? Are you afraid that your [art, music, dance, writing] won’t be enough to pay your mortgage? Excellent! You are perfectly normal.
Starting your own business–whether it’s full- or part-time, is a big step. Right now, you are imagining having to do it all at once. Maybe you are worrying about finances, funding, insurance, marketing, all at once. That’s also fine. But if you let the work you have to do stop you, well, then you won’t get to that dream.
So, a few tips to get you started:
1. Don’t leap. Plan. Too many people believe that if you leap, the plan, the net, your wings will appear. Maybefor some it does. I find that building your own plan, net, or wings is more useful. What do you need to plan? The future. What, exactly, do you want to do? Too many people decide to do what they are doing for others, for themselves. Only if that is what inspires you, lights you up, and challenges you. Otherwise, go on to tip 2.
2. Dig for your identity. The work you do should be something that comes from deep within you. Spend enough time exploring your values and who you are, rather than the you that shows up everyday at work. That’s not hypocrisy, that’s clarity. Who are you when you are valued and loved? That’s who you want to be in the business you build.
You can check out some traditional , free, personality tests in an older blog post. Or you can head on over to Tonia Jenny’s new site, Sacred Maker. For a very reasonable price, she sends you several values tests, and when you return them, she crafts a values statement that puts your deepest contributions in front of you. I asked her to do it for me, because it is hard to pull out your heart and consider it all by yourself. Tonia was the editor of both of my books; we became friends and I’m thrilled that she is also becoming a coach.
3. Plan. Write. Do. You will not be able to quit your job, rent an office and get your first client all in one day. Daydream. Plan. Hire a coach, (it helps to have both support and accountability). When you are clear about what you want to do, write up a typical day three years from now. That will help you see what you want to create, who you want to be. Decide on who your clients will be, what you will offer, how you will be needed.
Do one step at a time. It’s overwhelming to try to market, get funding, do start-up work. Doing one thing at a time is a way to set your priorities and then achieve them.
No, starting your own business is not easy, but it is a wonderful way to be yourself and thrive.
—Quinn McDonald is a coach, writer and trainer. She teaches business communications.