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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.

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  • I was totally in the same boat at you. I still don’t know how to do simple things on my phone, but I’ve learned how to put together websites and all the techy things involved in running a blog.

    What worked best for me is taking on freelance writing jobs. I’ve worked with a ton of different clients and received a lot of hands on training. Just doing it for others gave me the confidence to do it for myself.

    Oh….and youtube. 🙂

  • I love these tips! I recently committed to growing my blog into something that could bring in income. At first I was scared about finding the time and topics to blog about, so I started by going through the Makeover Your Mornings course, and sold 3 of them as a result! It was so great getting to call my husband and say “I made money from our blog!” Plus, it gave me something to consistently write about, and get into the habit. Now I’m 3 weeks in of regular blogging, absolutely loving it, and my brain is starting to swirl with other posts and ways to grow.

    Thanks so much for the business tips, I’m excited to see how this blesses my family!

  • April McHugh says:

    This article comes at a great time; I’m a sewist and create a variety of items. I began meeting with consultants at my local Small Business Development Center early this year and I’ve made some progress and had an increase in sales (not nearly what I had hoped for though). Last week I began thinking about giving it all up. But God has a way of encouraging us and now I’m gearing up and ready for “battle” again.

    Thanks for sharing; it encourages me to know that someone successful has had some failure as well. 🙂

  • CPA Mom says:

    Do you have a few top favorite business books you could recommend? I am an employee in a professional occupation but I feel like there is something else I should be doing and I would like to start reading some books to give me more ideas. I already read your Money Making Mom and it definitely started turning my wheels. Thanks for all you do and your encouraging attitude.

  • Victoria says:

    Love these tips. I would add don’t be discouraged by slow growth–tiny gains over time can really add up. Now that I am 4 years into blogging and looking back I can see how tiny drips of income and traffic grew over time to become a steady stream with my continual work.

    In the same “small steps” frame of mind I would also add don’t worry if you can’t carve out a huge chunk of time out of your day to work each and every day–instead become a master of using small moments well. Pay attention to what tasks just take 5 minutes and make a list of them and when all you have is 5 minutes to work, refer to that list and focus on one of those tasks listed. Make a similar list for 10 minutes, 15 minutes and so on.

    By focusing on the little but significant one can accomplish BIG things.

    • Deborah says:

      This is a fantastic, encouraging tip, Victoria! I agree. 5 min here and there does add up. Yet, I can too often fall into thinking, “I don’t have time” or “What would 5 min do?” 🙂

  • Deborah says:

    I think #2 is a great point, Crystal! {Well, they all are. 🙂 Just relating to 2 right now.}

    Here’s my question for anyone that has an answer!! 🙂 🙂 ………….

    I agree with what you said here:

    “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.”

    Now the question. What constitutes inspiration vs. copycatting? I am often inspired by others, but it is too easy for me to feel like I’m just copying. I also get tired of the whole negative attitude and competition for originality. As far as ideas go, well, there IS nothing new under the sun! 🙂 YET, I don’t think it is right to try to claim someone else’s idea etc. etc.

    Hopefully, this makes a bit of sense…I find it hard sometimes to transfer my thoughts into a comment in a practical explanation of what I’m thinking. Ha!

    For the record, I love inspiration vs. comparison. I love rejoicing for others instead of comparison. I love appreciation vs. admiration. I love genuine compliments and gratitude. Good stuff! 🙂

  • I love all of these tips along with the 5 minute tip from Victoria! It’s hard trying to start a blog with little ones under foot! 5-10 minute increments are the only way I get things done! And nap time! I {heart} nap time! 🙂

    I really love your tip about just jumping in. I’ve been dipping my toes in the water for a few years now and have always pulled them back out! A month ago I jumped all in and it’s become so fun! Blogging is so much more than what it appears to be from the outside looking in. I’m learning new things everyday.

    Thanks for sharing, Crystal! I always love your posts! They are always so inspiring and always seem to give me that extra boost on discouraging days!

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