Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

How to Actually Start That Business Idea You’ve Been Dreaming Of

Starting a Business for Dummies

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

Hi, Betsy!

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.

How to Start That Business You've Been Dreaming Of

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.

How to Actually Start That Business Idea

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.

How to Actually Start That Business Idea

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 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!

How to Actually Start That Business You've Been Dreaming Of

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.

Photo credit, photo credit, photo credit, photo credit, photo credit, photo credit

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I'm Loving This Week
1. A Vacation from the Usual Responsibilities

This past week, we were in Kansas to spend the week with family and friends. It was SO good to have a break from the normal responsibilities of life and just enjoy a week most “unplugged”.

Kathrynne took this picture of the moon and clouds one night and I thought it was such a fitting close to a really refreshing day.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Fun Times of Memory-Making With Family & Friends

We had many fun times with family and friends this past week — including a rousing round of Limbo and Yard Stick High Jump. Even I got in on the fun (see video proof here).

The kids also got to decorate the Christmas tree at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

It never ceases to amaze me that I have three kids who are 10, 8, and 6!! I still feel like I’m 22, and then I look at my kids and realize that I may be a bit delusional when it comes to my age.

I’m so happy that even though my babies are growing up, they are still young enough to revel in the wonder of Christmas.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. A Good Book: The Art of Losing Yourself

I finished The Art of Losing Yourself this week. If you like Christian fiction that tackles real-life brokenness and doesn’t have Hallmark endings, I’d highly recommend this book.

I loved the character development and it reminded me that everyone has hard burdens they are carrying, and that hurting people need our love not our judgment, ostracizing, or criticism. (Thanks to Lisa-Jo for recommending this book!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. Playing Games as a Family

While waiting at the airport to try to fly back to Nashville, I taught the kids how to play one of my favorite games: Dutch Blitz.

They caught on quickly and, after lots of rounds played over the last two days, they can now almost beat me!! It’s always fun to find games that our whole family can really get into and enjoy together!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Opportunities to Choose Joy in the Midst of Unexpected Hiccups

We were supposed to fly back to TN on Saturday afternoon, but after a few hours of delay, our flight was cancelled. After making multiple phone calls to American, waiting in multiple lines, and trying to get on other flights tonight to no avail, we just gave up on getting back to Nashville on Saturday.

After exploring a bunch of alternatives, we finally just decided to get tickets on the next flight they could get us on — which left at 8 pm on Sunday night! The joys of winter traveling and ice storms! It’s always an adventure, eh?!

While waiting, we practiced our frowny face selfies, because my kids said I need to work on getting a better frowny face selfie (is that a good thing that I’m not skilled at frowny faces??) Every time we took a picture, they’d be like, “Nope, Mom. Not good. That looks like you’re getting ready to throw up!” 🙂

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

Saturday morning hadn’t started so well (lots of grumpy and cranky people in this here family — including me!), but I wanted to finish out this trip well. Choosing love. Choosing joy. Choosing gratitude. And choosing to see unexpected travel hiccups and delays as adventures. 🙂

While we really would have loved to make it back to TN on Saturday night like we were scheduled to, Sunday was an unexpected quiet family day and it ended up being the perfect way to finish out such a good Thanksgiving week. The kids all got 13+ hours of sleep (!!) and Jesse and I got to sleep in, too!! All that sleep meant everyone had much better attitudes today — including Mom.

And we finally made it back to Nashville at 1:45 a.m. this morning (Monday morning). And we just got home, put the kids to bed, and now I’m headed to bed myself! What a week!

What are YOU loving right now? Tell us in the comments!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

I’m so grateful for you all (plus, a little surprise!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year and all it entailed. This year has been filled with a lot of unexpected stretching things for me personally. But it’s also been filled with so many blessings.

One of those blessings has been you all. I’m grateful for each of you who read here, who comment, who send encouraging emails, who tell your friends, who pray for our family, who get excited about our new products, and who are such amazingly loyal readers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

When we started in 2007, I could have never dreamed what God had in store for us through this blog. I love this community here. I love the opportunity I have to get to earn a living doing what I love. And I’m so grateful and humbled that the income and opportunities from this blog allowed my husband to be able to come home full-time and that he and I get to work as a team to homeschool and run the business.

You mean so much to us! Thank you for the impact you have made on our lives. Thank you for how you constantly bless and encourage us. We love you all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Also, we have a little Thanksgiving surprise we’ve been working on and I’m so excited to get to share it with you today! We were able to get in more stock of our brand-new Choose Love Bracelets, PLUS we also are offering free shipping on all U.S. orders when you order 5 or more Choose Love or Choose Gratitude Journals!

The journals are just $9 each right now — which makes them a fantastic gift! And when you order 5 or more this weekend, you’ll automatically get FREE SHIPPING on your entire order!

Go here to check out all the great products in our shop.

P.S. Want to know the story behind the Choose Love Bracelet? Watch this video here.

Gretchen’s $2.44 CVS Shopping Trip


CVS Shopping Trip

Transaction #1

1 Advil – $5.99 (Buy 1, Get $3 ECBS)
Used $3/1 coupon from the 11/1 RedPlum insert

1 Colgate Toothpaste – $2.99
Used $0.50/1 coupon from the 11/22 SmartSource insert
And used $2.50/1 CVS coupon from the in-store machine

1 Twix Candy Bar – $0.79 (Buy 1, Get $0.79 ECBs)

2 Green Giant Canned Veggies – $0.99 each (Buy 1, Get $0.99 ECBs)

Used $5 ECBs from previous shopping trip

Total after coupons and ECBs: $0.76, Received $5.74 ECBs

Transaction #2

1 Extra Gum – $0.99 (Buy 1, Get $0.99 ECBs)

1 Stride Gum – $0.99 (Buy 1, Get $0.99 ECBs)

1 CVS Cleaning Wipes – $0.99 (Buy 1, Get $0.99 ECBs)

1 CVS Pantiliners – $0.99 (Buy 1, Get $0.99 ECBs)

1 CVS Gummy Vitamins – $0.99 (Buy 1, Get $0.99 ECBs)

1 Ocean Spray Pact – $1.50 (Buy 1, Get $1.50 ECBs)

1 Luden’s Cough Drops – $1 (Buy 1, Get $1 ECBs)

Used $5.74 ECBs from Transaction #1

Total after ECBs: $1.68, Received $7.45 ECBS

Total for both transactions: $2.44, Plus $7.45 ECBs leftover

Gretchen’s $6.81 Target Shopping Trip


Target Shopping Trip

1 Black & Decker Tool Belt Set – $10.39, used 20% off in-ad Target coupon AND 50% off Cartwheel coupon – $3.11 after coupons (Yay for a cheap Christmas present for my son!)

2 Bic Soleil Glow Razors – $5.99 each (On Sale Buy 1 Get 1 50% off), used 2 $2/1 printable AND 25% off Cartwheel coupon – $1.37 each after coupons

4 Viva Paper Towels packages – $3.99 each, used 2 $2/1 Target printable AND 50% off Cartwheel coupon – $1.49 each after coupons

Used $5 Target gift card from previous shopping trip

Total after coupons and gift card: $6.81