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What It Actually Takes to Start Something on Your Own

by Rachel Yeoh. |

Sweet dreams are made of these, who are we to disagree?

Are you sitting on your desk, dreaming about being out there and running a business you are passionate about?

Blink once. Blink twice.

You’re still sitting on your office desk, mindlessly typing, scrolling through Instagram, double tapping on images of people who are seemingly living ‘The Life’; running a successful business, and generally just being luckier that you are at life. You let your thoughts drift to what you would do if you had a couple of thousands more Ringgit than you have now – yes, then you will be able to start a business; but you will start small and slowly see it grow and one day your brand will be known and –

Whoops, it’s lunch time.

Sweet dreams – still nothing but a dream.

If you are eager to get out of the rut and start a business of your own, right here and right now is a good place to start. Grab a paper and pencil, jot down these points and ask yourself if you’ve got what it takes to be a 21st century entrepreneur.

1. You've got something to SELL

The essence of being a business owner is to sell stuff. If you cringe at the thought of being a sales person trying to persuade people to buy what you have to offer, then no, starting a business would not be ideal for you.

However, if you are interested to offer something to the community, then the next question is ‘What do you want to sell?’

It can be a physical product, a service, a skill or even an idea – at this day and age, it is possible! I mean, have you seen people charging to give cuddles?

The tip is to offer something that solves a need in your community. Another tip is to ride on the creativity of others and recreate an item or service that is a little different to call it yours. In the book How Successful People Think, by John C. Maxwell it states that ‘Creative thinking isn’t necessarily original thinking. Most often, creative thinking is a composite of other thoughts discovered along the way.’

Whoah, did we just discover a #lifehack?

Take a moment to jot down what you could sell – don’t limit yourself, just write down the possibilities.

2. Do you BELIEVE in what you want to sell?

Have you heard of anyone comment on a product by saying, ‘Well, I could have done that!’

Maybe you might be guilty of that as well - but the truth of the matter is, you didn’t do it, somebody else did and their product is what you are holding on to right now; even though yes, you could have done it.

Now, your turn.

Look at the list you want to sell (see point above) and ask yourself if you have faith to see your ideas through to fruition. To others, it may seem ridiculous – like who thought one could make money out of being a narcissist? We have so many Instagram influencers today making big bucks from promoting self-love.

It takes faith in your own idea to move you to take action and actually create something that can sell.

If you don’t believe in what you have to offer, who will?

If you have unwavering faith in one or a few ideas you can sell, then stand by it. Confidence is infectious and it shows when you are communicating to your potential customers.

Now, at your list, tick the ones you believe you can convince people to buy.

3. Create your BUSINESS PLAN.

Now we are making progress! Your dreams are now on paper and it’s time to cue your tunnel vision and create a business plan.

Follow the steps below for a brief:

  1. Sum your business in a sentence. – basically a one-liner any Tom, Dick and Harry can understand and be wowed.

  2. Write a longer description of your business.

  3. List down your target market and your potential consumers.

  4. What do you foresee as weaknesses and strengths in this business?

  5. List down steps toward initial marketing and making sales.

  6. How much money to you need for your business to take off and where will the money come from?

  7. Take a nose dive and start.

4. Just DO IT!

No amount of planning and strategizing is going to help you start your business.

Just like the previous point, you have to suck it up, trust your gut and take a free fall with your business. Just like how a mother bird pushes her fledgling off the nest so it can fly, you’ve got to be that mother bird for yourself.

Look at what you have written so far. Set up a timeline and when you are going to launch it – leave no room for procrastination. Of course, there will be naysayers and hurdles you’ll encounter but remember that at the end of it, you’ll come back better.

5. Never stop LEARNING.

When you first start your business, it may seem like a side hustle as most would not resign from their desk jobs to do something new and unknown. As time passes, you will have to push your business to mature. From word of mouth, you’ll have to introduce your biz to social media and talk to people who can help to bring your business further. This is when it gets a little more complicated.

You have to embody the proverb, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ but no one ever told you the rest of the proverb did they?

Here it goes:

Jack of all trades, master of none, though often times better than master of one!

Yes, you’ve got to master the stuff that will push your business further even if you have no interest in it.

If you are looking to do a business with an online presence, you’ll have to do the nitty-gritties like SEO’s, Instagram algorithms, best time to post your posts, creative and worthy content plus so much more. Educate yourself about advertising and marketing, talk to people in the business, think and strategize ways to lure people to want to buy whatever you are selling.

Sounds draining? It does seem so most of the time - but it comes in a package and hence, you must learn to love learning. Cherish the journey. The path towards a successful business constantly changes with the times like a railroad switch.

Starting a business is a sure fire way to grow as an individual because it puts you in a position where you cannot afford to be complacent. If you have always been meaning to start one, then do so. It will be worth it.

This is also the most appropriate time to insert this cheesy hashtag - #YOLO

You may find out more about Rachel on her Instagram too!

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