Are you thinking about starting your business and don’t know how? You don’t know whether to have a brick-and-mortar or digital business, whether to open an online store or create a course, or write an eBook or be an affiliate or… or maybe a little bit of everything all at once and you end up doing absolutely nothing, right?
Whether or not you have experience as an entrepreneur and with businesses of your own, thinking about starting a new business always brings a mixed torrent of fear, excitement and plenty of uncertainty.
But we have good news for you! There are several ways to reach your goal and the exact way doesn’t have to, AND SHOULD NOT BE, decided right now.
If you often scroll Instagram, you will find lots of people telling you that there is only one way to be successful, that you have to sell your knowledge and be more present, you have to make videos and show your face, because “people connect with people”. These people have tested what they preach and guarantee that this is how you’ll achieve the life you want, but they never ask you what life YOU REALLY WANT. And, above all, they forget that entrepreneurship is the process and not so much the end result, because there isn’t even an end result to be fair. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and businesses are meant to be built throughout life. So, if you don’t build a process that is sustainable and healthy for you, you will end up feeling exhausted, depressed, and out of business, because you’ll give up halfway through.
Let’s be honest and think for a moment: there have been companies, businesses and entrepreneurs for a long time, even before Instagram and the Internet. Both have supposedly made the process of entrepreneurship easier and faster, but they haven’t vaporized the other ways of doing business. They are just an extra and should be treated attentively and as a strategy, but never exclusively!
You know the expression “all roads lead to Rome?”. Yes, this also applies to entrepreneurship. While you must follow some basic rules of thumb to make your way (to get to Rome, you must also distinguish streets from sidewalks and dirt roads, while having some idea of what the highway code means), much of your journey depends on you, your personality, and your strengths and weaknesses.
So, before you get too focused on the practical achievement of your idea, start by focusing on you and what makes sense for you and the life you want to have.
Picture this: 5 years from now, you meet a childhood friend who asks you how your life is going, and you answer: “Awesome! :D”. How can your life be awesome 5 years from now? Make a list and remember to include several areas of your life: professional, personal, family, financial, relationships… Everything that’s important to you.
Now think about your business idea and see how it fits into the life you want for yourself. If you want a life with plenty of geographical freedom, a physical business or something that requires managing stocks is not recommended. On the other hand, if you like direct and personal contact with the public, that may very well be the best option. If you really want to have a project of your own, being an affiliate may not be a chance for you. But if you love to champion a cause or team, this could be an excellent opportunity.
Most important of all is to have a mission, something you want to improve or change in the world, plus an idea of who is helped by that mission. Then, start by talking to all sorts of people involved in your idea: prospects, suppliers, partners, competitors, etc. That is where you will find many of the answers you are currently looking for.
You will ask prospects about their experiences related to your business idea. You will ask suppliers, partners and competitors about their experience, the customers’ behavior, what doesn’t exist yet, what is in demand, among other things.
For instance, we help entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice and, when we started, we thought that the best way was to have a coworking space. We were seduced by “guesswork” and noticed, after years and lots of money invested, that those who want to start entrepreneurship, although they could take great advantage of a networking and coworking environment, don’t always have the means to pay for a workspace. By being in touch with startup entrepreneurs and people who want to become entrepreneurs, we realized that they need guidance and to work on their skills and their entrepreneur profile, long before they need a workspace. So, we started offering them exactly the same through our content, training and mentorships.
This can all be avoided if you start by talking to your prospects about your topic (in our case, delving into entrepreneurship) and understand the questions and needs they have. Once you have that broader vision of your idea and mission, you’ll understand better how you can put it into practice, and it all depends on the preferences of your future client and yours. It’s pointless to build the business your client wants and then hate what you do. That guaranteed success isn’t going to happen, because you’re not going to do your best and you’re not going to do everything it takes to succeed.
If you clearly prefer digital, if you despise video and your writing skills are stellar, you can gradually get used to video as you progress through eBooks, implementing a strategy to monetize your blog, like Elle from Branding Lab. If you hate writing and are excellent at turning complex concepts into simple visual schemes, you can start creating animated images and videos, like Tiago from Tira do Papel (we don’t know if he hates writing, actually). You can also start with audio, with audiobooks and podcasts.
If you prefer to work with physical products rather than digital ones, you can choose to be an affiliate, do dropshipping, or create your own products. And, if you prefer to see people face-to-face every day, you can try out different business models. For example, you can create a club where members pay an annual membership/fee, work with events and training and, most commonly, sell products or services in a brick-and-mortar store or office.
Contrary to what many people would have you believe, their path is not the only one and is not necessarily the best for you. If you are at a crossroads, where you are not yet entrepreneurial, even though you very much want to do so, start by working on your development as an entrepreneur and exploring your idea with an open mind.
This is precisely what we do with those we mentor. In most cases, the preconceived ideas they brought about how they wanted to start their business end up being deconstructed during the mentoring process, replaced by a better business based on the experience of the customers and the experience and personality of the entrepreneur. That’s the best way. YOUR WAY.