Crossing the threshold

Click!

Yep I did it. With just one click I’m now an entrepreneur. Well not the usual entrepreneur type entrepreneur, but a social entrepreneur. The click was an email sent out to invite designers to join my little project. A project that will hopefully feed the soul.
The lead up to this “click” was one filled with a lot of excitement and doubt. It’s this doubt that I think is the reason why many people don’t become entrepreneurs. I looked within myself and asked “what is this thing that is preventing me from acting?”
I mentally listed it down, this worry of the unknown, this business plan analysis paralysis, this lack of self-confidence, a concern of failure. Sound familiar?
So how did I cross this threshold? How did I will my self to act? I had to master myself and my emotions.
This is not the first time I’ve attempted to start a business (notice the active word here is attempted), it the third time actually. In the previous times I could not get past the first step nor follow it thru to the end. The two businesses just fizzled out.
The first effort was in setting up a company that made wearable computers. However we failed to obtain funding from the EDB, and we never had the passion to actually prototype our design to showcase to the world. In the end we gave up because it was too difficult looking for funding. I have since changed my opinion on “you need funding as a startup” as I realized we never had a good product in the first place. We just had a service, a service with little or no back room support! Also we were in it for the wrong reasons as both of us just hated our day jobs and was looking for away our. There was an influence of desperation.
The second effort was an online company selling toys with another friend. I leant a lot but eventually gave up because it was too hard doing inventory stock take. My partner and I also never formalized any system of doing things, as we were doing it because we loved these toys. This resulted in decisions being made without consulting either party. In the end I asked my self how much did I really know about the toy business or my partner for that matter?
It took me 2 tries to finally master myself and my emotions. Thankfully in the 2 earlier attempts I did not lose much money, less than $100 actually, but lost only time. But this leads me to believe, you should be able to start a business without startup capital. Funding should be obtained only when you want to grow big. Prove your business plan first.
1) Do it for the right reasons.
I have been nursing this project for a few months now, and intentionally planning and covering all angles. I wanted to be sure I was going to do it for the right reasons. Also I wanted to know if I was ready to go at it for the long run and not some fizzing idea that burns out after a few goes.
2) Write it down.
Feeling the passion burn, I stayed up to 3am frantically typing out my idea and plan. It’s fantastic to see it all on paper. 3 pages to be exact. Getting it on paper or your computer screen is the first step to fulfilling it as it gets it from your mind into reality. This also allows you to see it all in perspective, consider best case and worst case scenarios, and even plan exit strategies! Good news it gets easier now.
3) Talk to people.
Identify the cornerstones of your business plan and talk to people good in that field. Bounce your idea off them and get their advice or suggestions. Or just talk to anyone you trust! This is important ESPICALLY with people who have no idea or skills in the business of what you plan to do. The ability to explain your business plan to a layman helps give you a new perspective to your work. Simplicity is the key.
4) Get support.
Get as many people behind you as possible. Really, your family, friends, your dog etc…it helps making the decision a lot easier! I always remember reading from “Richest man in Babylon” get your house in order first before you can focus.
5) Build your management team.
Now look for people skilled in your business to support you. I’ve got financial, legal, promotions help hopefully for free? (Hint: you guys reading this?) Ultimately in business is who you know, I am blessed with wonderful friends who freely give help and advice.
6) Gets easier every time.
Now act! Every step, writing it down, talking to people, getting it organize, makes the next step a lot easier.
My project has a long way more to go, for example I still need to incorporate my non-profit society, or how am I going to feed my wife and son? After it all I’m still no business expert, actually far from it, so I cant tell you if what I say is right or not.
However what I can say is, at this time I still have so much unknown out there, but the act of “clicking” actually eased all my doubts and fears. The decision has been made, I now only can go forward, and I am now actually at peace.
As they say “a rolling stone gathers no moss”.

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