7 Essential Principles to Help You Start Your Business Faster, With Less Hassle, Less Stress and Less Work!
Starting Your Own Business Takes a Lot of Time and Effort.
It’s an exciting experience, but starting your own business is also challenging and can become very stressful if you don’t do things right.
There are endless tasks that need to be done to get the business up and running, and often times, it's just you, the solo entrepreneur, on your own, trying to do everything.
This can lead to frustration, stress, burn out, fall out, loss of motivation, loss of financial investment, failure and even depression.
Building a successful and sustainable business by yourself is almost an impossible task, and is usually the reason most solo entrepreneur ventures fail.
You will never get everything done by yourself.
Chris Ducker calls it the Super Hero syndrome.
There are just not enough hours in the day to do all the jobs required to get your business up and running and keep it going.
And if your idea is to build your own business to give you the freedom and flexibility to spend more time with the ones you love and care about, then you need to take heed to this advice.
I must confess, I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way.
When I first started out, I was that Super Hero, trying to do everything myself, with the mindset that I could not afford to invest any money in getting help.
My attitude was;
"I’ll get help when the business is making money and I can afford to hire people."
But what I quickly realised was that getting help from others is an essential element to building your business to a place of sustainability and profitability.
I found myself overwhelmed by trying to do everything.
Strategy and planning, branding, product development, creative development, research, sales and marketing, website development and maintenance, book-keeping and accountancy, management, HR and recruitment, physical and social networking and the list goes on.
I found myself in a place that I did not like.
Yes, I was working from home and yes my family were around me.
but I was swamped with jobs that needed to be done, and was unable to spend the time I wanted with them
At time I felt like I would have been better off staying at work!
I soon learnt that I needed help or else I was going to be consumed by the very thing that I was building to give me the lifestyle and freedom I wanted.
Based on my personal experience, I have made a list of things that really helped me get a handle of my business and make significant progress, without being overwhelmed and stressed out by it.
They are my: 7 Essential Principles to Help You Start Your Own Business Faster, With Less Hassle, Less Stress And Less Work.
1. Get a Coach / Mentor
This is something I wanted to put in place from the start of my journey, but a few things stopped me;
- Finding someone I trusted enough
- Finding someone who was willing and able to give me the support I needed
- An unwillingness to pay someone to coach / mentor me
I was looking for someone who I felt was big enough and good enough to be my coach.
I wanted someone who I felt I knew and could trust with my most personal fears, feelings and failings.
And I did not want to pay for such a service.
I believed that there would be someone out there who would be interested enough in me and my success that they would be willing to give me such a vital and valuable service for free!
Most people who are in a position to coach and mentor an upcoming entrepreneur are business owners themselves.
They don’t have many unscheduled hours in their calendar.
The few people I asked to be my business coach where very supportive, but politely told me how busy they where and if I need any specific support just send them an email.
"Sorry Tony, I’m really busy running my own business, and don’t have time to help you develop yours."
Now, I’m not bitter, I fully understand where they are coming from, well at least I do now.
So after almost 12 months of slugging it out by myself and approaching potential coaches with my puppy dog eyes, hoping they would give me a freebie, I made the commitment to hire a paid coach.
All I can say is WOW!
After only a few weeks in, the results where amazing!
My coach helps me in so many ways.
I’m not going to go into to much detail here, as I’m writing another post specifically about why you need to get a coach.
But what I do want to make clear is the return on investment is massive, and in many ways, including:
- Sound boarding
- Constructive criticism
- Unbiased feedback
- and the list goes on…..
The main point is this;
If you want to save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy, avoid unnecessary stress and frustration, and make progress in areas you never thought you where capable of, then hire a coach.
You will not regret it.
2. Get an Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is different to a coach, although the process may seem similar.
An accountability partner is someone you know, who is also on the same journey as you (although they may be in a total different industry) who you touch bases with on a regular basis to share your weekly goals and review the progress your making.
This is not a formal arrangement like with a coach, it’s more like a mutual agreement to support each other.
I do this with an old school friend, who is also an entrepreneur.
We meet on Skype, every Monday morning for 1 hour.
We have a quick catch up and then take it interns to share how we got on with a goal from the previous week.
We then share our goals for the current week.
and that’s it.
Occasionally, we also meet in person for a tea / coffee.
The focus here is just that mutual support.
Sometimes we might veer off the agenda and talk about something general, but the main theme aways remains in the parameters of business and productivity.
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3. Join a Mastermind Group
The mastermind group works along the same principals as an accountability partner, however, the group is made up of more than 2 people (obviously, It’s a group).
The group meet on a regular basis, weekly, monthly, etc, to discuss their challenges and problems together.
They support each other, give advice, explore solutions and even do business together when appropriate.
Most masterminds are physical, face to face meetings, but more recently, with the advancements of online communication (Skype, Google Hangout etc), more and more meetings are taking place online.
This also removes geography as a barrier and broadens the scope for who can participate in the group.
One of the biggest benefits of being in a mastermind group is collaboration.
Multiple minds, with a wide range of knowledge, expertise and experience, all working together to find a potential solution for a problem you’re having in your business.
Now that’s valuable.
Masterminds are incredibly powerful forums that can transform you and your business.
4. Hire at Least One Virtual Assistant Immediately
The more hands you have turning the wheels in your business, the more work can get done and the faster it will grow.
However, hiring staff can seem a long way off for you when you’re first starting out.
You’re thinking about paying your own salary, never mind another member of staff.
But hiring staff and getting help for you business has changed, again, as a result of the internet.
Introducing Virtual Assistants (VA)
When I first heard someone refer to a VA, I thought they were talking about a piece of software or a programme.
After doing my research (I just Googled it), I soon found out that a VA is a real life person who you can employee on a task by task basis to support your business.
VA's are generally self-employed and provide a range of services, such as admin support technical or creative support like graphic design and web development and maintenance.
Most VA’s work from home and because they are independent contractors rather than employees, you’re not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits.
You only pay them for the work they do, and you can work with VA’s individually, or with an agency to meet your exact needs.
You can hire them on an agreed hourly rate, a with set weekly limit, or on a project by project basis.
You can use platforms such are Odesk.com or Elance.com to post your job requirements, recruit, manage and pay VA's.
It’s really easy.
I’ve been using VA’s since 2012, and I know my business would not be where it is today without their support.
I outsourse some elements of my social media as well as some web development work. I’ve also used VA’s for video editing, illustrations, research, writing and more.
You can find out more about recruiting VA's and how to make best use of them for your business by checking out Chris Duckers VA agency Virtual Staff Finder.com
Now, if you're saying to yourself, "I’m not hiring a VA, I’ve got nothing for them to do”, Then I would question whether you’re really ready to go into business, or if you just like the idea of being in business. Trust me, when you’re ready to go into business, you will have no end of tasks for a VA to take off your hands.
Just something to think about.
5. Get Your Family Members On Board
Now this principal is the one most people debate with me about, as some would say that business and family should never be mixed.
However, I found from my personal experience, getting my family on board to help build the business has had great benefits.
Look at it from this perspective;
- Who want the business to work more than you do?
- Who can you trust more than those whom you live and share your life with?
- Who is willing to work for you for little or nothing to help get the business off the ground?
From the start of my business, I got my wife on board, as a company director, and she is our Director of Finance.
She does all the book-keeping and manages pay roll, which free’s me up to focus on other things.
I have to run any financial decisions through her first before making any commitments, which helps as a buffer for compulsive spending.
We also have quarterly business review meetings together.
The only word of caution is to make sure establish some healthy boundaries, especially if you’re a husband-and-wife team.
Agreeing and sticking to some kind of system will help this, e.g. not discussing business related matters after a set time or on the weekends, or during family holidays.
I’ve even got my children on board!
My eldest two children are 11 and 9 years old, and both have their own laptops and smart phones.
I’ve had them help out with graphic design work and photo editing, document formatting, and I’m currently training them to do some basic webpage development in WordPress.
They love it!
They’re learning new skills and are really contributing to the family business, so it’s win - win for everyone.
So where possible and where appropriate get your family on board to help out.
6. Actively Engage in Online Forums
When you type a question into Google, the chances are that the top results you get back will be pulled from an online forum. This is because forums are where the real knowledge is shared and exchanged and it is bubbling to the top of the search engines results.
Pick any topic, and I guarantee there are online forums dedicated to that topic where people are actively engaging in a meaningful and passionate way.
They attract targeted audiences who share common interests.
They are the places where you'll find the true knowledge/expertise on any topic imaginable and are channels where the emphasis is on having a real conversation and sharing information that is helpful.
If you are trying to reach people interested in that topic, them forums are the place to be.
The forums that are really active are especialy great because there are so many ideas being shared where you can acquire and share knowledge freely. The value you can gain from a single thread an online community is amazing and can help you in so many different ways in your business.
When engaging in a forum you should be prepared to "give" to the community as much as you plan to “take”. This involves building a good reputation for being helpful, sharing information and advice.
Sometimes it’s worth just introducing yourself, and letting the other members know that you’re there to learn and you will contribute where ever you can.
Take your time and get to know the other members, building yourself a foundation, and most of all be helpful and add something of value to the community.
To find forums in your target market, just go to Google and type in "Forum: [your target market or keyword]"
7. Invest to Gain New Skills & Knowledge for Your Personal Development
In my first few month preparing to leave work and start my own business I would spend hours crawling the internet looking for free information.
Yes, there are lots of extremely valuable blogs and websites that offer information and resources for free.
However, I also found myself getting frustrated not being able to find the information and support I needed as well as getting distracted by going down “rabbit holes”, from one post, to another, to another and before you know it, I'm looking at something totally off topic and I hadn’t even achieve what I started out to do.
The other issue is information overload which leads to overwhelm, which leads to paralysis.
I knew a few people, who were further down the line in business than me, who spoke about, and recommended joining a membership site.
A membership site is simple a members-only section of a website which contains premium content that non-members can’t access.
This could be in the form of video lectures, walk-through videos, behind the scene detailed look at how something is done, Q&A sessions and private members forums.
So I decided to have a look around at what was on offer within the subject area I wanted to learn and grow in.
I found a platform I was interested in, and began to consume some of the free content that was available on the site, which I found very useful.
This gave me the confidence to know that these guys know what they’re talking about. It also gave me an opportunity to “Try before you buy”.
I signed up for a free taster workshop [Webinar] they offered, which again, offered some really valuable content.
I knew that at the end of the workshop there would be a offer to sign up to the membership site, usually at a reduced price if purchased at the workshop.
I had more or less made up my mind that I was going to join, so I was just waiting to see what the reduced price was.
I signed up for $30 per month (around £18) and I’ve been with them since March 2014.
The price of that membership site has since doubled, but I still only pay the same price I joined at, which I’m very happy about, and each month the content gets better and better.
The returns I have seen from joining that membership site have more that surpassed what I pay to be a member.
It’s been almost a year since I've joined, and I can truly say, I have not yet considered unsubscribing or felt like it is not worth the investment.
Yes, Starting your own business is an exciting experience, but it’s also challenging and takes a lot of time and effort.
Trying to build a successful and sustainable business by yourself is foolish, and is usually the reason most solo entrepreneur ventures fail, so get help.
Don’t get Super Hero syndrome, and try to do everything yourself, because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the jobs required to get your business up and running and keep it going.
Getting help is the best thing you can do, even if you have to invest some money in hiring help.
The earlier to get that help, the faster you will build your business to a point where you can have the freedom and flexibility to spend more time with the ones you love and care about.
So what should you do now?
Download and print out the Checklist of these 7 Essential Principals :
Put it somewhere you can see. This is your action list for the next few weeks.
As you achieve each point, tick it off the list, and make a note of the results you notice over time.
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