Monday, May 14, 2012

I Must Be Crazy! What Am I Thinking?!?

So you’re considering entrepreneurship and thinking to yourself: “What am I thinking? I must be crazy!”

Starting a business seems so risky after all.

And maybe you’re like I was – almost mad at yourself that there isn’t some other way that you could be happy, doing something equally as gratifying without all of the uncertainty. Arg!

If only. If only starting your own business was even about that.

The only time to become an entrepreneur is when it’s a choiceless choice – not just an option.

(An aside: The other reason to be an entrepreneur is if you have lots of money to just go around trying stuff and if that’s the case why are you reading this?! Seriously. Go try stuff.)

And what exactly is a “choiceless choice”?

(I’m so totally glad you’re wondering and so glad we’re connecting.)

It’s a whole body decision.
It’s the world of feeling, sensation, intuition (gut) and bodily knowledge that wants and needs and craves giving birth to a business. And no matter if you are male or female – it is a birth if your heart is both in it and in you for the journey.

Manifested in a commitment to your business, is a commitment to yourself to take the first step to start. And then each one that follows. Without trying to make the steps different than they are.

What steps? Like what?

(Again, so glad we’re on the same page.)

:: You will need to find a way to be comfortable with your self-worth and value what you offer with a dollar amount;

:: You will need to learn how to say what you do in a way that solves a problem for someone in a way that makes sense to that person (and you may need to hire a copywriter to help dig these words out of you);

:: You will need to create an enticing online platform or storefront (whatever that is for you) and you’ll need the resources to do that (whether it comes from the job you have now, your parents, your fundraising abilities, or somewhere else);

:: You will be challenged to “drop” or “re-frame” the “story” that marketing is “gross” in some way. Marketing will come to mean making your authentic self and your emotional labour business assets worth sharing;

:: You will need to choose your support network because it’s a journey that’s more fun with friends who understand and can relate to you in the present;

:: You may need to re-define love to mean more than just the words. Love is action and when people say they love you, but resist acknowledging and supporting your dreams and growth, you will find yourself creating loving boundaries to protect your investment.

Sabrina Ali is the author of the Bliss Kit. Her virtual home is for all things career with a modern authentic twist, on twitter and facebook (where you can find more inspiration for your real work).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First Year Survival Guide

I always thought I would make a great entrepreneur because of my vast experience, skills, and education. I look GREAT on paper! Combined with the self-employment course I took – I envisioned an easy flow to my days. During the first year I learned quickly that looking good on paper doesn’t cover it all, nor did the course I took. Here are the top 6 “realities” I picked up along my journey. I wish someone had shared these with me to help reduce my anxiety and improve my efficiency:

1) The Golden Rule 

Everything will cost at least twice as much and take five times longer to do than what you think. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but do prepare your mind and your bank account for things not to go as planned. Technology will break down, traffic will make you late for meetings, and the one littletinymicroscopic admin thing will take you an entire day. A small business is a vacuum. Time and money seemingly disappear. Make a budget for both – then double it!

2) Get Your Systems In Place NOW 

Spend the money and take the time to do it now, then quality test it. Nothing is worse than being up until 3am because you’re trying to figure out how to get a promised invoice to someone before 9am and your software isn’t working properly. The first year you will be working ON your business more than you are working IN it.

3) Build A Mental And Emotional Support Network 

One other than close friends and family; they tend to be too emotionally invested and their support can be biased. Connect to mentors, other entrepreneurs and people you meet at networking events and social media groups, as all of this helps. I have heard from many entrepreneurs that they are SO surprised when people withdraw their support temporarily or permanently because you can’t make it to the game, or a dinner party, or the park…etc. You need additional outside support, and you will need it daily.

4) Networking And Social Media 

I LOVE social media. However here is the key – it is only the mortar that keeps you cemented to your contacts between speaking – not the bricks. The only way to truly make a contact of value is to do that face-to-face in person, on the phone, or Skype. Build a tribe of people you authentically connect to and know – building a list of people who neither care nor really know about your business is futile. Networking is all about creating a connection to people who like you and want to see you succeed.

5) Research, Research, Research, ACTION! 

 Getting three opinions or perspectives on a business activity is enough for you to marry that information with your intuition and take action. Results from action are the only things that will validate if what you are doing is on track. Make informed decisions, but also recognize that being an entrepreneur is all about taking calculated risks. There are no failures, only feedback and new information to shift your next actions.

6) Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Brag about them; let your support network know. This keeps your energy up and your mind programed to the positive and productive things. Successes may be thin the first year, so stretch them out.

Everyone will have their own unique experience; however the one thing that binds us together is that every day is a new experience. And even when we are in a challenge, there are rewards. The reward of experience, knowledge, renewed courage, and most of all – the reward of being able to share all of it! 

Connie Augustus is a Vancouver based Career Coach, Life Strategist and avid Neuroscience Practitioner. She loves connecting to business owners and continues her own entreprenuerial journey. She invites you to join her at