What most business owners don’t tell you is that they too were once scared. Actually, that’s a lie. If they were anything like me, then they were absolutely terrified!
Starting a business can be daunting. I remember being at a cross-road in my career when I was leaving a corporate role and exploring other opportunities.
I had a lot of conversations with different people, some of whom thought I should take another role in a different organisation. Others asked me, ‘Well, what is it you want to be doing?’
One of those people happened to be someone who I truly idolised (and still do), Jeanine Ellis, the CEO of Boost Juice. I was connected through a mentor and couldn’t believe my luck when our half hour meeting went an hour overtime. As I hurled questions to Jeanine about how she started Boost and the challenges she faced, I was stumped!
Jeanine simply said, ‘can you give me one good reason why you’re not doing your own thing?’
I thought, this is Jeanine Ellis, someone I admire so much! I can’t tell her that I’m afraid or some weak answer like that! I was stunned. After 30 seconds of silence, the words ‘I can’t give you an answer’ fell out of my mouth. And that was it. I thought, ‘yeah, why aren’t I doing this?’ Thus Emergent was born and I had successfully made my passion a full-time gig.
If you’re looking to start a new business, here are my top tips before making the plunge.
Become a pro
Whatever your passion, become a pro.
Workout how your passion is constructed. If you’re passionate about animals or the environment, then what’s your value-adding skill in that area? How will you be an expert in your chosen field? This first step is crucial in ensuring your new business is useful and needed within the subject area you’re passionate about.
Expose yourself to your passion. Get out into the environment, research and gain experience. Ask yourself, ‘who's doing what already? Is there potentially a missed opportunity in the market? Could I fulfil this opportunity?’
I encourage you to volunteer, intern and find people that are in your passions sphere and spend time with them to identify these opportunities.
Build an army
Build an army of great mentors to help you develop your new business. Listening and learning from others may shield you from potential challenges ahead.
These mentors don’t necessarily have to be in your passions area. It’s great to have a mix of mentors from different areas that can help you develop your business idea.
Setting realistic goals for yourself can be challenging. In fact, it was what I struggled with the most launching Emergent.
Learn from my lessons and don’t create an unreasonable set of expectations for yourself. Instead be kind to yourself and remember you need to learn to crawl before you can walk.
Lastly, get out there and pitch! Find the people that need what you do and have a conversation with them. It can be as simple as, ‘Hey, I'm really looking to.... The skills I offer are x, y, z. Would that be a value to you? Could I come in and help you?’