Being an entrepreneur is probably one of the most “in vogue” and “cool” things to do right now. The ability to set your own hours and call yourself a “CEO” has the effect of a powerful drug running through your veins, turning some of the quietest people into vocalists about their trade. Throw the words “LLC” or “Corp” behind your new creation and all of the sudden you are just one big break away from being the next Steve Jobs or Mark Bezos.
The most popular new startup idea that I see happening is “consulting”. Consulting is amazing because it requires almost ZERO hard skills. You don’t really have to be good at numbers, coding, engineering, or writing (although all of these things are helpful). The most successful consultants have to have the ability to sell, network, and relate to the client on a personal level. Consultants at the highest level have the ability to set their own hours, work from just about anywhere, and set rates exceeding $400/hr.
At this point we’re all just faking it to we make it
I read a post recently where a friend of mine discouraged many individuals without the necessary experience from starting their own consulting business or LLC. There was significant merit to the things she was saying, and made many good points I could not refute. I have heard the same arguments from people telling me to WAIT to start my business. I think that there are arguments for waiting. More job experience, school experience, and time could lead to a more beneficial product. However, I look at the argument discouraging people from starting something and I still would encourage you to do it anyway 10 out of 10 times.
1.Starting (and maintaining) a business is humbling
“Nothing tugs at all of your deficiencies like managing a business.”
One might start a business thinking that the marketing, accounting, networking, outsourcing, and website management can be done just by managing a few applications. You will start to count the hours in the day and realize there aren’t enough to compensate for all of the things you have to accomplish. At some point, the amount of work is not as difficult as it is impractical. Companies, even as small as 20 employees, often employ a CEO, CFO, CIO, and an outside marketing agency just to manage their limited operations.
The humility that comes typically pushes people in two directions. People either:
- Decide that entrepreneurship and starting their own business just isn’t right at this time. These people are not necessarily quitting or giving up, but rather stepping back into the shoes of reality and addressing their deficiencies in the hopes of trying again later in life. THIS WAS ME!
- Realizing that it can’t be done alone will force the networking and collaboration that is necessary for growth. Have you ever seen anybody fall flat on their face, only to get right back up and realize they should probably be more careful? Learning to thrive in business is a lot like learning to walk. You are going to fall the first couple of times, but you will develop your own rhythm and cadence
2. There is a lot of “technical”stuff that has to be handled that is good to learn
If you call yourself an LLC and you’re not actually a Limited Liability Company, then you are more so a fraud. If you take the hours and hours it takes to set up an LLC or to incorporate a company, these are eye-opening experiences. Writing your first articles of incorporation, building out the by-laws, and composing the officers of a company are all worthwhile and thought provoking opportunities but also come with additional work. Keeping on top of the different requirements from the state and more importantly from the IRS is a challenge within itself and teaches a tremendous level of responsibility. Ultimately, the name of the game is outsourcing. It is best to make sure that you know what things you can accomplish yourself and what would be more efficient if handled by someone else.
3.DOing is always better than Talking
I am a big believer in just doing things that contribute to your dreams and vision. There are a lot of studies that are conducted that are say you should “write your dreams down” or “”plan out the future you want to have”; but the act of actually taking the first step may actually be the hardest.
Sometimes simply telling someone that you are encouraged by their big dreams or the posts that they write is enough to make their day and encourage them when work gets overwhelming.
All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney.
Keep Dreaming Folks, maybe your consulting firm is the next McKinsey or Bain. Simply add your name and put in the hard work required to make it all a reality.
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1) Develop a support system
I do not know if it is scientifically proven, but I know from first-hand experience that it is nearly impossible to push yourself to your fullest potential. Have you ever tried holding your breath until you passed out, or stretching a muscle further than you really want to stretch? I would be willing to bet that in both circumstances, you are not able to perform the task because your body places limits on itself. We unconsciously are our own biggest roadblocks. I read an article recently about having a “business bestie”. You may need a “studies bestie” or a “workout bestie” in your personal life.
Find a person that best complements your strengths, but also who improves your weaknesses. When you assemble the people around you this year, consider your goals and determine if the people around you push you closer to your goals or pull you further away? There may be people in your circle that make you feel comfortable but that do not allow you to stretch yourself further than you want to. Bring somebody along for your journey in 2017 and you may find your limits easier to break.
2) Craft Your Vision and Develop Your Best Case Scenario
This one has been documented on every website or book imaginable, but I look at it from a different take. The act of dreaming big and writing down your vision with all the amazing things that could happen after you do this is monumental. My best friend Drew took me through this exact exercise with Right Before Magazine. Think about where you could see yourself in a few years, but there is a catch… Think as “unrealistically as possible”. Think about a place that it would take a “miracle” to get to. Whether it be the top graduate school, a multi-million dollar startup, or a 6 figure corporate salary, think of your “reach” dream and that is the one to shoot for.
When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either. -Leo Burnett
When you set lofty goals and work as hard as you can to reach them, you set yourself up for infinitely more possibilities out of your work. As you identify your passions and set goals, you are going to notice that that enormous amount of work is actually not as much “work” as it is fulfilling.
3) Automate Your Daily Tasks
Honestly, this one doesn’t fit in with the other two. This may just be the most important thing to start in 2017. Automation is the number one time and money saver there is. Nowadays you can automate bank payments, automate articles posted, automate alarms/reminders, and automate your scheduling (enter things in as they happen). Once you get something down into your system, you can forget about it just a little bit and move on to the next important thing. I recently started automating my student loan payments, retirement savings, social media posting, and even reminders. The stress relief and added emphasis to my bigger goals are well worth the few hours it may take to set everything up.
Give yourself credit for the accomplishments, the wins and the losses. I spent so much of 2016 thinking of what I could do better that it consumed me. This year’s motto is “good to great”. Like the individuals from the book by Phil Collins, only a few make that leap. If you take heed of these changes, the YOU could be one of the few.
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