It’s an exciting time. Because I don’t possess the ability to sit still and have a mind that is always wandering (I’ve been told I’m a bad candidate for meditation for that reason), I’ve found myself at the beginning stages of a new startup idea months after shutting doors on my last one. Things are pretty green at the moment so I can’t dive too deep into the details but I’m feeling really excited about this idea and can’t wait to put it out there.
I love working on passion projects but at the same time starting a new business feels scary. There are variables, there are risks. There’s potential for reward or complete failure, and the focus on the failure part is what keeps so many would-be entrepreneurs from taking ideas jotted on paper to the real. actual. deal.
Before the launch of my first startup I had a notebook filled with concepts and doodles and it took me getting wine drunk one night with my girlfriends to do something about it. And once my idea became a real thing with pricing, a website, and clients(!!), inquiring friends and strangers came to me with the same questions and concerns I had when I first started my business. My favourite career coach, Michelle Ward, calls these voices in our heads “vampires”. Vampires are nasty and hard to ward off but with the right tools they can be beat.
I have no idea what kind of business to start.
There are two scenarios in this instance:
Scenario 1 – I have no business idea whatsoever but I know I want to start a business
It helps to know first and foremost what you’re good at and I promise you that everyone is good at something. Don’t worry about its feasibility or profitability as a business, just think about what people come to you for help for. Write down anything that you come up with as weird as it might be and see if an idea starts forming. Here are some random ideas to get you started: juggling putting together Ikea furniture, freestyle rapping, criticizing people’s grammar online, finding the good in things, seeing the good in people, celebrity gossip.
Scenario 2 – I have too many ideas and don’t know which one I want to pursue
I wrote a handy post on this that goes more into detail. The short answer is find something you enjoy doing, have the skills to do already, can potentially make money with, and have the ability to start business right now. If you’re still left with more than one idea, just close your eyes and pick. If that one ends up being a dud you have other ideas to fall back on.
I don’t have enough money to start a business.
Generally speaking you need very little money to start a business. Yes, beautiful packaging would be great and a fancy website would be dandy but you don’t need any of that yet.
Focus on the essentials. When Bunz Trading Zone first started, they were a Facebook Group. They didn’t have any fancy technology but utilized a free platform to allow their members to trade and barter. They focused on their key service (trading and bartering) and found an outlet that let their members do that. Bunz is now available as an app with a full-time team headquartered in Toronto. They didn’t become this overnight, they just had to start somewhere.
What is the bare minimum you need to get your product out? What can you utilize for free or for very little money?
Why would any sane person pay me to do this?
Simple, because you know more than them. If you can Photoshop a cat on to a photo, you already know more about Photoshop than me. If one day I needed to put a cat in a photo I’d pay you to do it because I barely know how to open a file in Photoshop.
You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to have more skill or knowledge than the people who will be buying from you.
People are going to think I’m ridiculous/full of myself/full of shit.
Out of all the vampire thoughts I had, this was my biggest one and probably the hardest to overcome because it was 100% all in my head.
I was so worried about what people were going to think that I delayed launching my first startup for months. I thought they were going to laugh at me — who the hell am I to do this? Who do I think I am? The thought of putting my business out there for full critique made me feel vulnerable and anxious and I didn’t want to expose myself willingly like that.
You come to realize that there will be people who will laugh and think your idea is stupid. But you didn’t create your business for them. With the haters you’ll also have your fans who think you’re awesome and love what you’re doing. These people support you and the secret entrepreneurs in your group will admire you for doing what you’re doing.
If starting a business is your dream and will make you happy, go for it. Don’t let fear of judgement hold you back.
What’s stopping you from starting your business?