PART 1. THE REAL FIRST STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS THAT NO ONE IS REALLY TALKING ABOUT.
PART 1. THE REAL FIRST STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS THAT NO ONE IS REALLY TALKING ABOUT.
Grab a glass of wine my friends, in this post, and even the next, I'm going to be pouring my heart out unto the page for you. You guessed it, design, business and personal development are three things that I'm really passionate about. While they may seem like isolated things, trust me, they are not and I strongly believe these three when mixed in the right proportions can change any one's life for the better, just as it did, and it's still doing with mine.
But why am I talking about this now that I promised to talk about the real first steps to starting a business that no one is really talking about? Because these are the real first steps to starting a business that no one is really talking about! I know that might seem crazy but stick with me.
What ever the reason you’re in business for, it’s somehow linked to your ideal lifestyle or your ideas of a successful life. If you’re not already living this ideal life you’re dreaming of, then you have to be intentional about your life from here on and make personal development and designing your life a priority. To reach your goals, you have to grow into the person that can have those goals, and growth is not by accident.
It’s not enough to write up a 10 page business plan and plunge yourself into the world of business, work 15hr days and pray you’ll succeed. I thought that was all there is to growing a business but it’s honestly not; you have to commit to preparing your mind, body and soul for the kind of success you want, or else, you’re toast.
This is something I learnt the hard way because all the successful people looked I up to when I was starting out left clues of this, but none really spoke about this in its entirety. If you stick with me, I promise to lay all my cards of this time saving, life changing truth on the table.
Now imagine that you were planning a trip outside your country to another city that you've probably always dreamt of but never really had the courage to finally decide on leaving. What would you do first when you decide to go? Depending on who you are and what kind of stuff you like, you'd either find yourself floating away into Le Google, YouTube or Pinterest, ransacking the entire site for blog posts on what to do when you get to this country, where to go, people's experiences etc or you'd actually find people who have visited and ask them to tell you their experiences.
Then you'd go off preparing based on the knowledge you have; from what clothes to pack to how much money to budget. None of us want to be stranded or cold or lost in a foreign country. We wouldn't want to put ourselves in an unnecessarily harmful situation, in fact, being in a foreign country is daring for most of us enough.
And what happens when everyone leaves out one seemingly minute detail, say an unusual culture of the people we are visiting, that gets us having a really hard time in our new country? Sad and annoying right?! Our hopes of a fun vacation gets dashed and we have to struggle with trials and errors till we succeed if we are truly committed to succeeding. Granted, it might look like a fun, adventurous ride in retrospect but looking at the equally dangerous, heartwrenching and time wasting 'I wish somebody told me' experiences, you'll probably run towards and scream "DON't!" at someone who is innocently and naively headed towards the same route because #sonotworthit .
What the heck has this got to do with business? Everything. Because buying a domain, getting clear on your audience, registering your biz and all that stuff is not the first step to starting your business, neither will they guarantee that your business will survive #truthbombs. Yes I'm serious. And because I love you, you don't have to guess or do an expensive trial and error, I've got you.
So what are the first steps?
Coming to the game as a whole individual, or at least beginning a journey of growth and personal development that will prepare your whole self for the journey of entrepreneurship and unleash your inner boss. If you're gonna make it on the battlefield, you're gonna want to come prepared.
How do you get this done?
GET YOUR MIND RIGHT
Come to think of it, all the struggles I had in my business because I didn't have the right mindset were absolutely well deserved- well to some extent- because I had heard, read, talked and written about the power of the mindset so many times but I still ignored it till I hit my head against the wall and had no choice than to go back and pick up the books that taught these fundamental concepts to go over and practice everything I had been so pumped about that I wasn't even practicing. I don't want that for you, even if you've already started your business, please pay attention, but this might be the not so obvious piece that may be missing in your business and causing you very unnecessary stress.
What do I mean by get your mind right? It's simple. Make sure that wherever you're trying to get to in your life and your business, you've already been there in your mind.
Your mindset, what you think, feel and say about yourself, your life and your business, is one of the most important things that will determine whether or not you succeed. Why? Because your thoughts create your emotions, which then create your words and your actions, and that creates results and your realities. (Read more about the science of your mindset and how it is formed in this post)
You have to believe in yourself and your ability to succeed no matter how hard it is, and no matter who doesn't believe in you, because guess what, not many people will believe in you. You have to be strong minded about your success in such a way that you stop at nothing and for no one to get it. You will put in the work, when you're motivated, when you're not, when things are gaining momentum and when things seem to be slow. You have to understand that failure is not an option. This might seem really basic and easy but the truth is, no matter how many times you hear this or how many motivational talks you listen to, it is what you believe at your very core that inspires your actions.
If you believe that you're not good enough or success is out of your reach deep deep down, your thoughts will inspire negative emotions such as intimidation, lack of motivation, envy of other people's success, depression etc. which will inspire your actions (such as procrastination of important tasks, not stretching yourself or disciplining yourself to create the best content, do the best work etc. ) which will inspire results; low sales, lack of confidence to charge your worth etc. And that will affirm that belief ( see, I'm not good enough or I could never be that successful). If you want to be successful in your business, it will be a whole lot easier if you develop a mindset that allows for success and the kind of discipline and confidence that the world's most successful people have and use to create more success. And yes, committing to developing a growth and success mindset has made a lot of difference in my life and business and I continue to see results that surprise even me!
So how do you develop this strong mindset?
I believe strongly that before you can ever grow in life, you have to be aware of the state of your life. For example, if you've not noticed that the health problems you're having are because of your weight, why would you want to invest in a gym membership or choose salad over pizza. It's essential to your success to know who you are on a deep level. It will help you take better decisions in your work and personal life.
We all know the saying "to know better is to do better". Well that applies here too!
Like the legendary Mikki Taylor once said: "Living requires a deeper understanding of who you are and what makes your life soar from within."
Often times you hear many people say "Have a positive mindset, think right, change your mindset" blah blah blah but the truth is, if you aren't aware of what exactly is wrong with you, and why you can't afford to spend one more day without doing what it takes to effect the neccessary change, you won't go very far before you coil back into the "safety" of your old patterns.
Your patterns are part of your subconscious mind which control everything. Mindset master Jen Sincero explained "Most of us are only aware of our conscious minds, … because that’s where we process all our information. It’s where we figure things out, judge, obsess, analyze, criticize, worry that our ears are too big, decide once and for all to stop eating fried food, grasp that 2 + 2 = 4, try to remember where the hell we left the car keys, etc.
The conscious mind is like a relentless overachiever, incessantly spinning around from thought to thought, stopping only when we sleep, and then starting up again the second we open our eyes. Our conscious mind, otherwise known as our frontal lobe, doesn’t fully develop until sometime around puberty.
Our subconscious mind, on the other hand, is the non-analytical part of our brain that’s fully developed the moment we arrive here on earth. It’s all about feelings and instincts and erupting into ear-piercing temper tantrums in the middle of supermarkets. It’s also where we store all the early, outside information we get. The subconscious mind believes everything because it has no filter, it doesn’t know the difference between what’s true and what’s not true.
If our parents tell us that nobody in our family knows how to make money, we believe them. If they show us that marriage means punching each other in the face, we believe them. We believe them when they tell us that some fat guy in a red suit is going to climb down the chimney and bring us presents—why wouldn’t we believe any of the other garbage they feed us?
Our subconscious mind is like a little kid who doesn’t know any better and, not coincidentally, receives most of its information when we’re little kids and don’t know any better (because our frontal lobes, the conscious part of our brains, hasn’t fully formed yet). We take in information via the words, smiles, frowns, heavy sighs, raised eyebrows, tears, laughter, etc., of the people surrounding us with zero ability to filter any of it, and it all gets lodged in our squishy little subconscious minds as the “truth” (otherwise known as our “beliefs”) where it lives, undisturbed and unanalyzed, until we’re on the therapy couch decades later or checking ourselves into rehab, again." (Again, this post explains it better)
You must get to know yourself, explore the beliefs that hold you back, and create a firm resolve and a fool proof action plan to commit to making that change.
2. DO A MIND CHECK NOW
It's important to notice and get rid of those beliefs that hold you back now and will likely hold you back in the future.
Don't stress about it. The truth is, everybody has limiting beliefs at some point. In fact, our brains are programmed by our environments and experiences. Thoughts as "I'll never be pretty enough" or "I'll never be financially free" are limiting.
They usually come from the environment you lived in or the experiences you had and that's totally normal.
Think about the grandest vision for your life? What’s stopping you from getting there. Without filter, notice the thought, hesitations, and limiting beliefs that hold you back, whether they seem to be true or not.
3. GET RID OF LIMITING BELIEFS
One simple way to do that, is by writing down what your dream life is. Take the time and visualize every aspect of it.
Now why aren't you living that life now? If your answers are things like: "I'm not smart enough", "I'm too lazy" or "I don't make enough money", then you are 100% limiting yourself.
"But that's the truth", you are probably saying right now. No honey, it's not. If your answers were like: "I'm not there yet because I'm still working towards it, but given the strategies I've put in place, I'll be there in two years", it would be obvious that to you, nothing stands between your dream life and you than time. You would be more excited about life and when things get rough, you won't be so discouraged because you know it's all a part of the process. Are you still following?
Action step: Now that you've found your limiting beliefs what do you do? Well the truth is, there are many things you can do but the simplest is to affirm yourself. It works so well. Repeatedly affirming yourself is a great way to reprogram your mind and make it believe something new. In science, it's known as autosuggestion, and it means you're reprogramming your subconscious mind, which controls your belief system, you think differently. We could share a thousand and one testimonies about this but time and space will not permit us to do this in this article.
Here's what you need to do. Repeat the opposites of your limiting beliefs everyday as many times as you can: Say things such as, "I am confident. I am intelligent. I am financially independent. There's no challenge I can't handle". Everytime you speak, be mindful of the negative things you say, and rephrase them to be more positive. You will notice a shift in your moods, how you feel about yourself, your actions and ultimately your results. It's true that you won't change in just a day or two, but don't let it discourage you. Have fun with it. Tell your friends to help you notice the things you say that are negative. Find ways to make games out of it. Give yourself some time. You'll notice amazing results.
Trust me this stuff works, (it has and is still changing my business) if you commit to it, and stop saying things like "I heard this already" or "my situation is too bad to change"
4. USE SELF AWARENESS TO OBSERVE PATTERNS, CREATE SUCCESS, LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES AND OWN WHO YOU ARE.
What is your own definition of success? No, not what is expected of you or what your people think would be a successful life for you. What did you decide for yourself? Yes. You read that right. You get to define what a success means based on your own preferences. You get to live that despite what people say. Stand in your truth. Own who you are. What are the experiences you've had - the good and the bad ones - and how have they shaped you to be the woman you are now?
Yes dear, you don't have to run from that anymore or cover it up. Face it, this is what life gave you. Handle it like a boss and choose to let it serve you, choose to leverage it.
Instead of being fearful because of that broken heart. Choose the wisdom that situation holds and let it set you apart.
What makes you happy? What makes you mad? What is your biggest regret? What is your greatest achievement? What are your values? These questions are good places to start with. Take some time alone and answer these for yourself without anyone's opinion
Use these answers to make better decisions that serve you well and find the parts of you that need improvements. That's how you grow. Improvements in every aspect of your life should be your priority, as well as seeking and being your own truth. That makes the difference everytime. Be the person who's always getting better, and forcing those around you to level up!
Oprah said, "You have to tell yourself the truth everyday, you've got to know when you're pretending and you've got to know when to stop, because nobody ever reaches what the creator intended for them as long as you're pretending to be something else. And you've got to get really still, still enough to know the difference between what you want and what everyone else has decided that you want. That's how you find out who you really are..."
Action step: Start a self-discovery practice or journal.
Sit everyday in silence for five to twenty minutes with self-discovery questions. Write down your answers in your journal and find out what this has taught you about yourself and how you can improve yourself now and in your future.
I created free journal prompts for you!
Now, we're getting somewhere! In the next post, we talk about taking the next steps to prepare yourself for the journey of entrepreneurship. Make sure not to miss it!
It's your turn! Talk to me!
Are there any new insights you gained from this post? Are there any things you learnt from this post or are there any questions you have? Talk to me about them in the comment section below! I'd love to hear from you.