If you feel that a traditional job isn't for you, you're not alone. Many people dream of entrepreneurship, making their own schedule, and being creative all the time. They want the freedom that comes with running your own show.
But before you dive into business plans, putting together a team, and so forth, take out a pen and some paper (seriously)—we're about to get really clear on the three things your business absolutely needs. Without this foundation, you're going to meet a lot of challenges that may make you want to quit.
I learned these, sometimes the hard way, from running my own side business and being very involved in my boss' business. Now, I'm sharing them with you so you can find success.
Foundation 1: Realize That Your Business Isn't About You
This is the hardest foundation, and quite frankly, the one that causes the most failure in small business and entrepreneurship.
In his book Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, Michael E. Gerber discusses how entrepreneurs need to wipe out the "What's in it for me?" mentality. At the end of the day, your business is not about you—it's about the people you are serving. Your business just happens to be the vessel by which you serve them.
It's simple, really: If you focus on what YOU can get out of the business, things won't work out. Sales don't just happen. Money doesn't just come in. Things fail. I've seen it within my own business, and I've seen it at every job I've held. When greed runs the show, we all know what ends up happening!
Meanwhile, if you come from a place of service, it's a totally different story. Your goal in your business is to make someone else's life easier—and your potential customers and clients respond to that much better.
Start writing: What does your business do for other people? What problem does it solve? Whom does it solve a problem for?
Foundation 2: Tell Your Story
Before you start writing proposals, budgets, and what have you, you need to get very clear about something: what's your story?
Branding these days isn't just about a product and what it can do for people. In the age of high-speed internet, constant stimulation, and fast-paced everything, people want a human connection behind a business. They want the whole story. The want the "Why? What? When? Where?" behind something more than they want the "What?"
Start writing: What is your story? What compelled you to start this business? What's the history? How did you encounter this need?
Foundation 3: Create Your Support System
This is something I didn't really figure out until recently—and I've been side hustling for years!
It is imperative that you build a support system from the beginning; that way, you don't have to do everything by yourself. Maybe it's blog readers, friends and family, a coach, a secret Facebook group of people who resonate with your business, etc.
The point is that you need to set up a support system from the get go—in whatever form you see fit. These people will bring you up when you want to give up, help you market yourself, and give you someone to test your business on! (By the way, this is a great thing for both business and life!)
Start writing: What do you need to feel supported? Whom do you want in this group? What are they there to do? How can they help you?
Taking these small actions now can help you start getting clear about your vision. It may not seem like much, but these tasks are the foundation of your new business. Everything else springs from here.