You’ve said you don’t even know how to set multiple alarms on your phone and have mentioned several times that you are not a very tech-savvy person. Other bloggers have said similar things. I’ve recently started a new blog after writing in other spaces over the years. I’m determined that this one will be successful! However, I don’t know how to do everything.
My question is: how did you actually begin? I assume you couldn’t afford assistants right away to do the tasks you don’t understand? What advice can you share for conquering this hurtle without having to practically get degrees in several new areas? – Betsy from The Betsy Beat
Let me first encourage you by saying that I actually don’t hold any degrees and didn’t attend college. This often surprises people!
I think that college is a great choice for many people and degrees can certainly be very necessary and helpful for many people and professions. However, I don’t regret my decision to not go to college.
I’ve always had a very entrepreneurial spirit. I started a few part-time jobs in high school (teaching violin, working as a mother’s helper, and waitressing) and loved those so much that I decided that I wanted to devote more time to these and being involved in volunteer work instead of going to college.
I did get my paralegal certification when I knew I was going to be marrying a man going to law school, but other than that, I never pursued any higher education. After we got married, I continued working in multiple part-time jobs and also started working on all of the business ideas swirling inside my head.
After multiple attempts at different entrepreneurial ventures, I ended up discovering blogging — which ultimately led to to allowing our family to be full-time self-employed entrepreneurs.
To answer your question, here’s my advice on how to actually get started on that business idea you’ve been dreaming up:
1. Be an Avid Learner.
When I was just starting out as an entrepreneur, I went to the library almost every week to check out stacks of books on all sorts of subjects related to business. I read about starting a business, managing a business, and successful business owners. These books not only inspired me, they gave me practical suggestions to turn my business ideas into a reality.
Back when I started, technology wasn’t anywhere near what it is today! Now, in addition to books, you can get access to so much motivational and valuable information through blogs, online courses, podcasts, Periscopes, and audiobooks. There is something for everyone — even those who hate actual reading.
I encourage you to become an avid and lifelong learner. Read good books. Listen to inspiring podcasts. Ask great questions from more experienced people. Read blogs by successful entrepreneurs.
Pick one new area every 3 months to focus on and then set aside an hour or two every week to learn all you can on that particular subject.
For instance, I recently have been devoting time and effort to learning more about Periscope. This means, I’m devoting a little time each week to reading blog posts about it, watching other successful scopers, and experimenting with a variety of different types of scopes myself.
2. Watch What Others Are Doing.
Want to be successful? Find successful people and pay attention to what they are doing right.
In the beginning, I found a handful of successful blogs online — bloggers who were making a part-time or even full-time online. I scoured their posts, I watched what they were doing, I looked at how they set up their blogs, and I asked myself what they were doing to be successful.
There’s so much we can learn from others. And honestly, pretty much all of the ideas that I have come from inspiration I find from others. I’ll see an idea that I think is really brilliant and then I ask myself how I can take that idea and make it my own.
It’s important to note that when you watch what others are doing, make sure that you don’t just go out and copy their ideas. The world doesn’t need any more copycats. But there is PLENTY of room out there for you to be you! Because you are the only you in existence.
So be inspired by others and then apply your own unique perspective and story and fresh ideas to what you learn from others.
3. Jump Out and Try!
So many people gather ideas, map out business plans, and study what works for others…but they never end up actually starting. If you want to be successful, you have to get brave and press publish, send that email, or make the first phone call.
Don’t just collect a bunch of information; go out and apply what you’ve learned. Start small and be financially smart, but jump out and do something. Even if it feels like just a tiny little step forward. Doing anything is almost always better than doing nothing at all.
I remember when I first jumped out and started MoneySavingMom.com in 2007. I didn’t have money to pay for a designer or anything fancy on that first site. Instead, I went to Blogspot and set up a Plain Jane blog with an all-white background and a text-only header. It was simple. It didn’t look all snazzy. But it was enough to get the job done and it was what I could do at the time.
Over time, I slowly learned how to tweak things and write better content and I slowly brought on a team of people to help improve the site design and usability. I also learned from constructive feedback.
I’m continuing to learn, to improve, to try things, and to make changes. It’s never exactly how I want it to be and there are things I’m constantly working on or wanting to change, but I’m determined not to let that hold me back from jumping out and pressing forward. Because if we wait until we get things exactly perfect, we’ll probably never start!
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail.
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. You are going to fail. It’s inevitable. It’s part of the process of improvement.
But guess what? When you fail, you have a choice. You can choose to see yourself as a failure and you can run from ever attempting anything new again. Or, you can choose to see it as part of the learning process and a way to grow and improve.
Honestly, there are many times when failure has made me want to quit. But my mantra has always been to force myself to stop and ask, “Why?” Instead of groveling and wallowing in frustration over failure, I want it to be my teacher. So I ask myself, “Where did I go wrong?” “What can I learn from this?” “What will I do differently next time I’m faced with a similar situation?”
When you focus on what you can learn from failure, it actually becomes a valuable part of your success. As I often say, any success I have is the result of standing on a pile of failures and choosing to view those failures as building blocks and the foundation for eventual success.
By the way, when you download my free 5-day course, you will learn all about my first big business failure. As embarrassing as it was to fall flat on my face, I am truthfully so, so grateful for that failure, because it was the catalyst to where I am today.
What advice do the rest of you have for Betsy? Let us know in the comments!
P.S. Be sure to download my free 5-day course to learn the 5 keys to success that I’ve learned through business failure and success.