In a nutshell, our mission at Jali Creatives is to strengthen small businesses and nonprofits by providing strong storytelling to drive business. So we have selfishly written these posts about living a more fulfilled life to all of you 9-5ers who are thinking about taking the plunge, headfirst into the deep cerulean waters of Entrepreneurship! We’re stacking the deck, and we ain’t afraid to say it! We want to change the world by helping world-changers—and if you’re thinking about flipping your desk on Friday—DO IT!
Ha! No, no I kid, I kid. Don’t flip the desk, just start TAKING ACTION toward Success—in this case, we define Success as “liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” (The Maya Angelou definition)
In Parts 1 and 2, I talked to you about what liking yourself looks like for you, and steps to take to assess if/how you can turn that into a service and business.
Today, I want to talk to you about the TOOLS that are available in a world that is constantly churning out brave, optimistic souls who start small business and nonprofits. Living that startup life requires more than a laptop and an affinity for working from home in your underpants, or at the beach, or wherever.
You need RESOURCES!
When starting a business, it’s important to have strong relationships that you can leverage to help you on your journey. RELATIONSHIPS are essential, and a nonnegotiable when starting your business. You have to be surrounded by people who will encourage you, believe in you, tell you the truth, and love you through mistakes. If you’re a one person show, this is your TEAM. If you have a team—you need these type of people on it.
You also need a MENTOR. Someone who has walked the road and is successful, and may even through some business your way! There are many ways to find a formal Mentor, our recommendation is that you identify ways in which you can be mentored even informally. We also strongly recommend against having a Mentor with any monetary interest in your success. This can begin positively, but ultimately influences the dynamic of the relationship with your Mentor.
If you’re planning to quit your job, and you’ve mapped out how your talents and relevant work experience meet to make a viable business in the marketplace, we’re going to assume you already have the PASSION needed to move this forward. With that being said, while you may have a lot of work experience in your chosen industry—you need to become the EXPERT. Do not be afraid to read books, articles, subscribe to blogs, attend conferences and webinars to become a leader in your field. In fact, more than not being afraid—educating yourself constantly is a MUST. What you did at Company X as the SVP of Department Y is an amazing stepping stone to running a business in that industry—however, trends are always changing and you have to look for a unique angel in the field so that you stand out. In the ever-connected world of the wide web, trends change all the time—what made you an expert in 2012 could make you a dinosaur by 2017.
While you may not yet have a name for your business (or you have it lovingly scribbled down in a notebook filled with your doodles and dreams), you might think you’re not ready for a website. But a web presence is much more than a website. GOOGLE YOUR NAME and see what comes up, and then do what you can to control those results.
If your first and last name are available for domain purchase, buy it. Put up a nice headshot (if you don’t have one, learn how to take a good selfie with no arms and great lighting—or ask a friend to take a close up photo of you with GOOD LIGHTING!), and add your bio. You can build the site out as you go along.
Your SOCIAL MEDIA profiles are important to your web presence as well. These self-branding tools can do a lot to position you as an experienced leader in your field. Linked In is a great tool with many features that allow you to build out your professional experience. Do not be shy about sharing your work with your personal social networks as well. And maybe go back a few years to do some “spring cleaning” on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. No one needs to know what party you went to in 2008, delete the pictures or make them private.
The tools above are all well within your control and budget. What I haven’t listed here is MONEY. It’s the most obvious resource needed to start a business. You need capital to get your idea going, and to pay your bills in the midst of the transition from Employee to Employer.
If you have started yet, START SAVING. Perhaps this is something I should have mentioned in Part 2 as part of TAKING ACTION. Being an entrepreneur can get lonely and frustrating, the last thing you need while starting a business is to worry about where your next meal is going to come from or if you’re going to be able to keep the lights on.
You will burn through your own money fairly quickly, so if you can, provide services that have the ability to immediately generate income. If your big idea is a product that is going to take time to develop before you can bring it to market, look into consulting to generate income in the meantime.
There are many tools available once you take the plunge, what’s mentioned above are what we feel are the most vital and budget friendly resources to get you going.
I hope this series has been more than feels and fluff, but truly valuable to your on your journey to entrepreneurship, or above all else, toward a happier more fulfilled life. SUCCESS IS LIKING YOURSELF, and ultimately, that's what we should wake up doing everyday! Liking and LOVING ourselves.
I'll close with my favorite quote from Steve Jobs.
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”