03 Oct 3 Things to do Before Taking the Plunge
When I was a kid, I remember being told how important it was to work for a good company, do a good job for 40 years, retire, and then enjoy your life. I get the feeling our generation is beginning to lean farther and farther away from this way of thinking. We’ve become a culture obsessed with innovation and no longer interested in the status quo. I kinda like that about us, we have a little fight in us. But before you go off on your own, there’s a few things you should know.
I personally have been a part of 4 startups in my short entrepreneurial life and have a few more things cooking down the road. I’ve seen great ideas crash and burn and I’ve seen the smallest of ideas grow into a beautiful dream. From a self-employed business owner perspective, there’s little I haven’t seen. I believe these 3 simple things are supremely important before stepping out onto that ledge and venturing into your uncharted waters (Notice how this blog is Love Recklessly, not Live Recklessly.).
Having an adventurous spirit is great, in fact, some of the most innovative companies are built by free spirits, but how well do you know yourself? Don’t turn away from certain realities. What are your tendencies? List your bad habits and then list your good ones. Are those habits conducive to a positive work environment or are they destructive?
Begin charting what a regular workday would look like in the area you are choosing to venture into then compare and contrast your actual behavior and see it they line up.
Don’t lie to yourself. Be honest. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t venture into self-employment, it means you have to make some positive changes in your behavior. Failure is okay, it’s a part of life, but the last thing you need is to fail and wonder why. You should already know that answer.
Count the Cost
This is more than understanding your startup costs, this is understanding what it’s going to take to build a successful business. How much time is this going to take away from your family? Does it require travel, if so, let’s talk travel time and real costs that this entails. And not just practically, but emotionally.
Some of our ventures are emotionally and spiritually trying, which is fine, anything worth doing should require trials, that makes it worth it.
The problem is when we fail to realize these things require a lot out of us, not just dollars, but emotional equity. Do you have any to give? Will this destroy your relationships? Am I solving a problem or taxing my friends and family? Because believe me when I say this, if you’re going to be self-employed, you better be ready to take on its identity because rarely does a venture succeed unless you and it share the same DNA.
Surround Yourself Around Good People
You can say “duh” if you like, but I mean it. In every possible way. If you have a business partner and you’re the yin to their yang, that’s fine, but if your foundations aren’t the same, you’re both in trouble. Be sure to understand what you you both disagree on, because that’ll happen. Define non-negotiables early because who and how you do business can end a venture before it starts.
Equally important is surrounding yourself around good people outside of the business. Have friends that not just give solid advice, but are willing to talk about something else entirely. You have to get away from numbers, strategies, and opportunities and have a drink with some friends who care enough about you to give you a break from it all. They’ll hold you accountable, bring you back to earth, lift you up to space, hold you close whenever it’s needed. If not, you’ll lose your mind on the Island of Yes Men. Nobody wants that.
HAVE FUN. You’re doing something most people are too fearful to do. So follow the steps, and go change the world! The world NEEDS your ideas and it needs you to execute that idea properly.
Are you venturing out into uncharted waters? What advice would you add to this list? What have you learned along the way? Let me know in the comments below.