We begin the Starting a Business series with the SINGLE most important thing you need to accomplish your goal: the belief that you can.
At any given moment, there are a hundred and eight reasons you could tell yourself as to why starting a business is a horrible idea: You don't know enough. You don't have enough time. You are too inexperienced. You are too old. Too overwhelmed. It is too risky. You have no idea where to even start. You have no money. There is too much competition. Yadda, yadda, yadda...the list is never ending.
I get it. I have been there. Each one of these thoughts will side road you if you are not careful. And when these thoughts come into your head you have to be stronger than them. You have to muster up the courage to stand taller, look them straight in the eyes and tell them to f$@& off.
If you don't believe you CAN do it, you WON'T do it. You will succumb to the many whispers, internal and external, that tell you this is impossible and that you should stop trying.
So...step one of starting a business is believing that you can.
I think for some people this is the simplest step. It seems some people just wake up thinking they can do all the things, all the time. These same people also look great naked and have never worn spanx. For me, this step was not so simple. I really needed to convince myself that it was possible. And let me tell you, this has been a gradual process. Turns out, I am a tough sell.
So what did I do to get to the point where I actually believed that I could build my own business? I read a lot of inspirational and informative books, I listened to a lot of inspirational and informative podcasts, and I surrounded myself - both physically and virtually - with a lot inspirational and informative people. I basically just overexposed my brain to message that starting a business was possible. During this time, I kept looking around and seeing people starting their own businesses. And rather than looking away quickly away to stave off that inevitable pang of envy you get when you witness someone living the life you desire, I made the conscious choice to look closer. When I did, I started to realize that these people...they weren't so special. They weren't superhuman or super rich or super smart. They were just people, out there, trying. DOING. And then something life-altering happened. I started thinking: why not me?
It definitely didn't happen overnight but at some point, I started to believe the message: I can do this.
Great things are not reserved for some. They are available to all who reach for them.
So here is my inspiration and information starter kit. These resources gave me plenty of pep talks and were invaluable to me to get me to the place where I believed I was ready to take the first step. There is definitely a creative/home-decor bent to my list as that is the nature of my business but the common theme is that these resources got me thinking that anything is possible.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert; My bible. Buy it. Read it. Love it. Read it again.
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines; Their story is fascinating and inspirational. Once upon a time these mega-stars were just people living in run-down houses and just scraping by.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown; This woman speaks the truth and backs it up with research. A powerful combination.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries; a startup business bible. I am sure I have, or will, break every rule in this book but thankfully this book gives me the confidence to course correct.
The E-Myth by Micheal E. Gerber; the book you need to read before even thinking about starting a business.
StartUp by Gimlet Media; A podcast about start ups. Listening to the trials and tribulations of other people in the same boat as you is not only helpful, but also very entertaining. Worth a Listen: Season 1, Episode 1: How Not to Pitch a Billionaire.
How I Built That by NPR; Most big, BIG, successful companies started out small. They were started by normal people like you and me. Crazy to think that once upon a time Crate and Barrel was a sweet little mom and pop shop. Worth a Listen: Crate and Barrel: Gordon Segal
Don't Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller; Nothing will make you want to quit your day job and follow your dreams faster than listening to this podcast. Proceed with caution. Worth a Listen: Episode 5: Wayne Federman's Keys to Success and Episode 16: 10% to 100% Entrepreneur with Patrick McGuinnis
The Lively Show by Jess Lively; A podcast dedicated to living your best life by getting in tune with your intuition, setting intentions and being open to new ideas. Jess provides you with an abundance of information and inspiration on how to live a better life. Worth a Listen: Episode 181 with Jonathan Fields and Episode 218 with Brooke Castillo
The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown
The Magic of Not Giving a F*** by Sarah Knight
This list is by no means exhaustive. But the Internet is a magical place and you can find inspiration in a million places. The point is that you NEED some go-to resources to turn to when your Ego kicks in and tells you that starting a business is impossible. You need to be able to tell it to, kindly, F*** off. So go gather inspiration. Find your bibles. And then brace yourself. Because once you start believing that your dreams are possible...life starts to change.