Working on your own business, doing things your way — sound like a dream come true? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Running and managing your own successful business is no mean feat, but becoming an entrepreneur is only step one. After that, you need to embrace the mindset and hard work that goes into becoming an entrepreneur.
Then, after having given it your all, you’ll be able to confidently steer a business through choppy waters. As the world of work transforms and reinvents itself, so must you. Let’s start you on your 365-day journey into entrepreneurship…
Month 1: The importance of intentionality
Number one: what are your intentions? This is more than just having a simple goal like “I want to make money” — this is about shining a light on the bigger, deeper intentions behind your business goals. Going from employee to entrepreneur is a radical change for most people as you need to become an all-round self-starter. There’s a lot of confusion around what being an entrepreneur is, so having clarity in your intention and project is important.
One way to get there quickly is to set clear intentions for everything that you do. Attending meetings with co-founders and suppliers? Pitching to investors and peers? If you have clear intentions, you will go into these experiences with focus and purpose.
Some ways to awaken your intentionality:
- Business is actually surprisingly altruistic (the good kind, anyway). Focus on what you can bring to the table and contribute, rather than take.
- Spend some time alone, mulling over the reasons behind your newfound desire to found a business. In these quiet moments, you can find deep strength.
- Speak to other people and reflect on the reactions they have to you ‘going it alone’. Their reactions are likely to spark ideas in you.
Throughout: Track your progress
A year goes fast. Q1, Q2, and then it’s almost up! It’s important that you focus your mind on the year ahead: break it up into chunks, and track your progress as you go along. Establish the key metrics you need to track for successful business growth.
Mid-way milestones are an awesome way to organize yourself. Mid-week, mid-month, mid-quarter, mid-year, and even mid-project — these are all milestones you need to take note of. Why? Half-way through anything, you’ve still got enough time to change it. Leave it too late, and you might end up wasting a lot of budget or time.
The organization is paramount to business success, so get very good at planning and time-boxing. Don’t get frustrated with yourself when you procrastinate: eliminate procrastination from your life entirely by scheduling in tasks, and include ‘downtime’ in your calendar.
Month 3: Find your tribe
Once you know yourself and your product a little better, it’s time to find your tribe. These are the people who are going to propel your business forward, and they will include mentors, customers, associates, and potential investors too. Start with thorough audience research, and start engaging with your customer community on a regular basis. Community management is a vital entrepreneurial talent.
Embrace the quirky side of life — many successful people have a more unusual side. You can connect with people by sharing a bit of your personality. Blogging and guest blogging are great ways to share your business and life philosophy.
Month 6: Funding yourself
It’s no coincidence that this headline sounds very close to ‘belief in yourself’! Finding investment and funding opportunities is a mixture of strategic thinking and confidence — you need to think like the millionaire you want to be.
In short, you also need to be ready to put yourself out there and believe in your product or service. Crowdfunding is a great way to raise business funds, and it’s also an efficient way to get on people’s radars. Just make sure you spend plenty of time researching crowdfunding before diving in it’s not a method that works for everyone.
Throughout: Go online
The digital world is awash with entrepreneurial opportunities. From social media influencers to bloggers — online is where modern brands are made.
There are business opportunities in abundance online. Pretty much anyone can get set up with a credible website and social profiles, and start spreading the word about their business. Even if you want to run an “offline” business, the digital world offers heaps and heaps of opportunities for collaborations, marketing, and more.
On the flip side, being completely digital also has a ton of benefits. Not having to physically employ staff, having a virtual office, and being able to outsource a lot of business processes can save you a lot of money. If you are a bit clueless about web development, but still very keen to run your own online business, you may even want to buy an existing eCommerce site — taking site ownership and building the brand out more. This is a great way to make your business journey a little easier.
Month 7: Time to pivot?
There will come a time in your business where you feel like things aren’t working out quite as you had hoped. It could be cash flow, mindset, or simply stress that give you a knock — but everyone has moments like these.
This may be when you decide to pivot: changing your business idea or model in order to meet market demand. Pivoting is when a lot of important decisions are made. Change is not always a bad thing, but don’t travel too far from your initial intentions either.
Throughout: Invest in something you believe in
The best entrepreneurs are passionate about solving problems they really believe need solving. This foundational belief comes across in their content, their business, and their mindset.
It’s worth making sure that your business idea is something that you can be passionate about years, even decades, down the line. True passion and grit will get you through the challenging times.
Month 12: Taking stock
After your first year as an entrepreneur, you will have a ton of data, experiences, and knowledge to play with. Reflect on what elements went well, and where there’s room for improvement.
Chances are that your original intentions have stayed the same, but that the shape and form of your business have transformed. Celebrate your achievements, and take time to thank the people who helped get you where you are now.
Being an entrepreneur is an exciting career challenge — one that will take up a lot of energy, but also come with a ton of positive returns. Changing your life in one year by becoming an entrepreneur may be one of the best things you ever do!
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