Souky Souky

Starting a Business

Step Ten: Celebrate!

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar
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OMG! You did it! May I please be the first one to congratulate you on your BIG, GIGANTIC, HUGE achievement!?! Hard to imagine that what was once this little seed of a dream is now a real, live, tangible business. So cool! 

No doubt it has been a big ol' roller coaster ride but I hope you can finally take a minute to sit back, breathe a sigh a relief and be proud of how far you have come! Book a massage. Pour yourself some champagne. Put your feet up. You have earned it!

But don't get too comfy! Now you have to actually RUN the business that you created! Starting the business is the easy part! Running the business....that is a whole other thing entirely; one that I cannot yet advise you about.

What I can do is wish you the best of luck in your new business! I have no doubt that if you are going out there every day and putting heart and soul into something that you love doing, you will reap the rewards. For starters, you will love what you do. And there is not much better than that!

Step Nine: Tell People

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

Yay! The finish line is near. You are in the home stretch. You have a launch date in sight and you are steadily checking things off your to-do list. Before you know it your little business will be up and running! That can only mean one thing: it is time to tell people.

Maybe some people in your life already know; chances are you have told your partner and/or your best friend. Maybe you have even mentioned it in passing to some close family members. While telling your nearest and dearest is wonderful and definitely a step in the right direction, it is not quite "loud" enough. You need to announce yourself in a way that you will be heard.

And this, my friends, is scary.

At least it was for me. Sometimes I wonder if I am just a bigger wuss than everyone else in the world. Putting myself out there on social media and telling the world that I was starting a business, was up there in terms of being one of the hardest things I have ever done. Not hard, like scaling-a-mountain-hard or childbirth-hard or undergoing-chemotherapy-hard; those things are ACTUALLY hard. But in terms of feeling super vulnerable and exposed, it was up there!

However, if I wanted a business...if that was the end goal...I had no choice but to push through the fear. I had no choice but to take a deep breath and push publish on this post. It was terrifying. Not gonna lie. Once I hit publish, I immediately closed my computer and went for a long walk. I needed to distance myself from any possible response - good, bad or indifferent. And while I felt a bit panicked in that hour or so, not knowing how others would respond, I also felt at peace. It was out there. People knew. it was nerve-wracking but it was also a relief.

You know what else it was? Motivating. Heartwarming. Inspiring. Uplifting. And Wonderful.

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People from every corner of the earth took a minute out of their day to wish me luck and to encourage me. I was met, not with judgment and criticism, but rather an overwhelming sense of love and support. So much that I literally cried. Partially because people are so darn nice and awesome and partially because it hit me that I had spent so much of my life being scared of what people think. Well...no longer. Actually, truth be told, I am still as scared as ever...but I'm motivated to not let it stop me.

People may criticize you. They may laugh at you. They may think you are silly or, worse, stupid. All of those things are GOING to happen. But people will also celebrate you and lift you up and support you to the ends of the earth! That will also happen!

So what are you waiting for? Tell the people. Let them shower you in some much deserved love!

Step Eight: Set a Date

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

If you have made it this far in the starting a business process, we need to first pause and take a minute to reflect. You have come so far. Seriously! Go back and look. Revisit your earliest photos, logos and/or business names. Look at the many versions of your business plan. Take a peek at your brainstorming scribbles. And look where you are now! All of that...every little thing...was YOU just taking one foot and placing it decisively in front of the other. It just goes to show that even small steps take you places.

With 3,576,998 things left to do to get your business up and running, I think it is easy to overlook all of the things you have already crossed off. It is easy to just focus on what still needs to be done and forget that you have already accomplished so much! Especially when you start looking around and it feels like everyone else in the world is further along than you are.

I get it. As I write these words, I can say that I am "there" now. I have to keep reminding myself that I didn't start this business so that I could just get it done. That is not my end goal. I wanted to enjoy the process. Every little step. When I look at it like that, I feel enormously fulfilled and proud! Here I am...a 40-year-old wife, mom and full-time teacher....and I am doing it. It is not perfect and I have so much to learn but I am slowly but surely getting closer to that mountaintop of a goal.

And if I can do it, I promise you...you can too!

Okay now that that little pep talk is out of the way lets talk next steps. The next step is to choose a date to launch your sweet little business. It is as simple as looking at your calendar and selecting a date to open your doors to the public. Then, you work backward. What steps do you need to take each week to make sure that you will be ready for your launch?

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When choosing your launch date, consider three things:

  1. Reality
  2. The Perfection Trap
  3. Your Success Rate

The first thing you need to consider is the real-life logistics that need to be in place before you launch. If you are sourcing your items from Timbuktu, you need to make sure you will have said items on hand well before you open your doors. Duh! So give yourself a realistic window to get your business properly set up before you launch.

The second thing you need to consider is that you will probably never feel "ready" to launch. Your business will probably never feel "perfect". And if you wait until it is perfect, you may just be waiting forever. So...yes...give yourself a realistic time-frame to set up the core components of your business but don't fall into the perfection trap. Accept that your business is going to be a constant work in progress.  And then jump.

The last thing you might want to consider when choosing a launch date is your potential success rate. Try and choose a date that gives you the highest potential rate of success. If you are opening an ice cream shop in Vermont, maybe you don't want to open on January 28? Just a thought.  Even if your product is amazing and people will eventually buy it, they might not want it in the dead of winter. And that could leave you feeling a little deflated and unmotivated. Instead, aim for a date that will let you get a glimpse of what your business could be on the best day. Build momentum. A little success out the gate may be just to boost you need to reach a little higher.

Once you have your date, make a gigantic to-do list. Work backward and start allocating each task to a given week or day leading up to your launch.

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Maybe it is the teacher in me but there is nothing more helpful than a well thought out to-do list. And there is seriously nothing more gratifying than crossing items off your list! I freaking LOVE it!

So off you go....set yourself a date! Etch that date in stone and commit! You got this!

Step Seven: Make it Official

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

If you are anything like me, you could stay in the experimental business phase forever. This is the place where you can have lots of fun but you don’t have to think about boring things like taxes and permits and registered agents. The problem with staying in the experimental phase forever is that it is not real. It is like a little make-believe land that you hang out in when it suits you. Another fun fact is that it is pretty hard to make money said make-believe-business-land. If you are going to be a real business, a business that actually makes you money, at some point you need to take the steps to make it official.

Admittedly, this is the least fun part of the whole process. At least it was for me. It requires very little creativity and a whole lot of persistence. You must be prepared to research and research and research some more. There are hoops to jump through, business structure options to consider, and legal documents to read. Oh…and money to spend. It feels like every single important person you need to consult with during this phase is all too excited to take your money. Which naturally makes you question if you are making the right decisions or if you should really commit to doing this whole business start-up thing at all.

At best, making your business official is intimidating. At worst, it is the piece of the puzzle that is most likely to prevent you from actually following through with your dreams.

Before we move any further into this topic, let me offer one big, fat, gigantic disclaimer: I am so uncomfortable with this part of the process! It has sidelined me for at least 6 months. So please, please, PLEASE do not blindly trust what I say. You need to seek professional guidance when going through the process of making your business official. And I am NOT a professional.

With that in mind, I am going to keep this simple and short: You need help.

Up until this point, you have probably been able to build your business relatively independently. You have read some books, made mock-up logos, built a functioning website…and you did all of this with little to no help. But again, this is a make-believe business world. Real businesses need real support systems and teams to help them function effectively (and legally). My recommendation is that you seek advice from at least 4 different professionals:

1.     A lawyer

2.     An accountant

3.     A banker

4.     A business mentor

If just the list of these professional titles alone makes you shudder, know that you are not alone. It is a scary list. But I think these professional are scary mostly because, until now, you have probably had very little reason to ever require their services. They are unfamiliar to you. But here is the thing: their job…the whole reason they collect a paycheck…is to help YOU! This is their JOB! Don’t be scared of them! Let them help you!

So here is a little bite-size summary of why you need these professionals in your life and what you might want to look for.

A Lawyer

Your lawyer is the person who will file all the appropriate paperwork to get your business licensed. They will make sure your business is in good legal standing and will be the first person you contact if (God forbid) you were to ever get in any sort of business trouble. With sites like Legal Zoom and Incfile it is very tempting to not employ a lawyer to help you to set up your business. Lawyers are expensive and inherently a wee bit hard to trust. But the amount of time and money they can save you down the road is arguably priceless. You know what they say, the best time to hire a lawyer is before you actually need a lawyer. You might save 500 dollars by not hiring a lawyer up front but you may end up spending 10 times as much in legal fees and fines if you don’t set up your business properly or you get sued etc. A lawyer will give you peace of mind.

If you are lucky enough to have a lawyer in the family…great! Use them or their referrals and get started. If you are like me and don’t know a single lawyer, try and search for lawyers that work specifically with small business owners. Often your local chamber of commerce will have a list of lawyers to do exactly this kind of work. They may even have programs that set you up with lawyers to use at a discounted rate. Take full advantage of these programs! Again, they are there to help you! Not going to lie, walking into my lawyer’s office was way up there on my intimidating-life-events scale…it actually wasn’t horrible. I might even argue that I kind of enjoyed myself. Kind of.

An Accountant

While you are meeting with your lawyer, ask them to refer you to an accountant. Chances are they have a list of people they work with regularly to get businesses up and off the ground. Again, you could try and do all of the accounting yourself by using QuickBooks or FreshBooks but come tax time, you are probably going to need some professional help. You might as well line all of that up BEFORE you open your business and BEFORE tax season rolls around. That way you can set up systems and procedures within your business that will help tax time go smoothly.

Taxes are serious. And seriously complicated. Know your limits and have an accountant in place that makes sure you are tax compliant from day one.

A Banker

To be a operate your business efficiently, it is advisable that you have a separate bank account and credit card in your business’ name. This helps to simplify all things and separates your personal life (and spending) from your business life. Once you have your business license you can open a business bank account. I’m sure there are a million and one reasons why some type of accounts or banks are better than others. I can’t even begin to advise you on what you should choose, as I have yet to complete this step myself. What I can tell you is that you should shop around. Again, use a bank that caters to small business owners. They know exactly what needs you will have and ultimately they can serve you best.

A Business Mentor

Perhaps the best thing you can do during the stage in the starting a business process is to find a mentor. Like anything else, having someone show you the ropes is invaluable. This person can be your dad, a friend, or a complete stranger you stumbled upon online. If they have started a business and they want to help you… LET THEM! It doesn’t really matter if their business is in the exact same industry, they just need to be willing to share their expertise. You can be certain that if they themselves have started a business, they are going to have something to offer you. Something that you currently do not have: experience, contacts, and proof that starting a business can work.

If you can’t find a business mentor right away, don't worry. You will. Just keep your eyes and ears open for people who might make a good candidate. And don’t be afraid to ask! I have a theory that people secretly love being the expert in the room and derive great pleasure from giving other people advice. I know, I do! Too bad I am no business expert or I could be your mentor!

But seriously…y’all…I am such a ROOKIE at all the business stuff! You really shouldn’t listen to me at all! Which brings me back to my main point: GO GET YOU SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP!

You can do this!

Okay, now someone do me a solid and tell me that I can do this too! ;)

Step Six: Experiment

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

Phew. You have a business plan. Or do you?

As you probably have realized, writing a business plan is no small feat. Chances are you are still smack dab in the middle of spelling out your vision, articulating your why and outlining your goals. That is okay. A business plan is not something to rush through or to just slap together. You need time to really reflect, think and research. It took me a solid 3 months to come up with anything remotely functional. And it is still a massive work in progress.

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But just because you do not yet have a complete business plan does not mean you have to stall all the momentum and progress you have made thus far. You can still take the next step: experiment. In fact, you probably need to experiment in order to properly finish your plan.  How else will you know what might work and what simply will not?  So as you are toiling away on your business plan, simultaneously start playing around with ideas. Start sourcing products or writing disclaimer policies for your website. Create a mock-up business card and fool around with logo designs. Take terrible pictures and insert them into your website just to see what it would look like with real products. Make an expense spreadsheet and start fiddling with numbers. Make some sample products and try and sell them to family members and friends. Ask those same people for honest feedback. Make an Instagram and Facebook account for your business (even if you don't make these public right away). Start brainstorming ideas for social media posts. Make flyers and newsletters. You get the point... right? Just play! Essentially, you are playing dress-up. Have fun! Dabble in this and that. Figure out what you like to do and what you absolutely hate. Figure out what you are good at and what you need support with. Get to know yourself in the role of a businesswoman (or man).

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Obviously, this dress-rehearsal will look different for everyone and every business. For me, I did basically all of the items listed above. I bought sample products. I executed very amateur level photo shoots. I made a million logos. I posted pretty religiously to social media accounts that no one even knew existed. I just experimented without the pressure of having to be profitable or meet customer demands. I think spending so much time in this phase of the process was a great way for me to build confidence and also test the waters before jumping into the scary official world of business ownership. It also gave me the chance to realize that I really loved doing this type of work. I weirdly even found that creating expense spreadsheets was sort of interesting to me. Sort of.

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While I'm sure plenty of people would advise would-be business owners to dive right in and get going on setting up your actual, REAL business, I don't think it hurts to let everything marinate for a bit. But just for a little bit. You don't want to get too comfortable in your pretend world of business ownership. At some point, you need to jump. At some point you need to stop pretending and make it official.

 

Step Five: Write a Business Plan

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

Good job! Look at you! You have already accomplished so much! You have a dream, a name and a website. That is huge! Pour yourself a glass of wine...you have earned it! But don't get too comfortable (or drunk). You have some serious work to do. Now, you need a plan. 

This is the part of this series where I very politely remind you that I am NOT a business expert. I have started exactly one business and written one business plan. And even calling it a "plan" feels a bit like a farce. It is a word document. A word document that I have edited about 15 million times and probably will continue to edit as my business grows and changes. While it is not fancy or super official, this creating this plan has been an essential part of the process.

Starting a business is a journey. It makes sense that you would need a map. And while you might not want (or need) to outline the exact route you are going to take to get to from Point A to Point B, it is helpful to know the general direction you are going to head in. Sure you could wing it and just start driving. That would be TRULY adventurous. But it would also be truly risky. You would need to be very open to the many possible outcomes of your spontaneity. You would have to be prepared to end up in blistery North Dakota in the dead of winter even if you packed for the dry desert climate of Arizona.

So how do you write a business plan? What do you need to include? Where do you start?

These are all obvious and valid questions. Unfortunately, I am the opposite of an expert on the subject. It would honestly be irresponsible for me to tell you exactly what to do. What I can tell you is what I did to write mine. I consulted an expert in the field. And by "consulted an expert" I mean that I read a book. In Christy Wright's book titled Business Boutique, she outlines the whole process of writing a business plan and she explains it in such a way that makes the process less overwhelming. I literally just worked through the steps she outlined in her book and voila....I had a business plan!

I am not going lie...it wasn't quite that simple but it was a very useful tool to help guide the process along. She uses a tiered cake as a metaphor for how to write your plan. Below you will find the summarized steps but don't skip reading the actual book. The book is so much more detailed (and no, I am not getting paid to say this!) and helpful!

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I am sure you could find a million different resources out there to use for guiding you in business plan making 101. Do your homework and find the resource that best fits you and your business. But I will say that Christy's book is especially great for women who want to start a small businesses in creative fields. This is her niche. Plus, she is from Tennessee so, if you get the audio-book, you have the added bonus of listening to the calming sounds of her sweet southern accent.

Whatever you do...don't give up! Don't let a pesky business plan stand in the way of you and your dreams! Now, open up that word doc and get typing!

Step Four: Build a Website

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

Once you have your business name, you need to secure a domain space for your business to exist online. Basically, you need a website.

Now, there are MANY ways to build a website for your business:

  • You can hire a web designer to custom build your site.
  • You can use your tech savvy skills to DIY your site from scratch.
  • You can utilize the many tech-savvy companies that build website templates and then do the more simple customization yourself.

Obviously, if your business requires having the most professional looking and functioning website (and you have a spare $6,000-$10,000 laying around), hire a designer. No, it is not cheap, but you will end up with a website that you love and will not have the hassle of learning about widgets and SEO optimization. 

If you are like most people who are starting a business, money is a little tight. The idea of shelling out thousands of dollars on a designer is simply not an option. And, unless you have a background in coding, building a website is equally unfeasible. At this stage, you might feel like giving up -- everything is expensive and/or overwhelming. But don't! There is hope!

Lucky for you it is 2017 and there are literally hundreds of ways you can build your own website without spending a fortune or knowing anything about coding. I couldn't possibly list all the ways but a quick little google search will lead you to many, many options. Obviously, you want to consider how you will be using your website. Will you be selling goods directly from the site? Or will you be using it more as a way to advertise your services/products? If you are doing the former you definitely want to make sure the website is e-commerce compatible (I have heard Shopify is a good platform for these types of businesses). I definitely can't speak for all of them, but I have had first-hand experience using WordPress.org and Squarespace.

They are both great in their own ways, but for the user-friendliness alone...I have to give the award to Squarespace. Seriously, if you want to build a great website with very little trouble or money...don't overthink it...use Squarespace. They will walk you through the whole process and their customer service team is VERY helpful! Oh...yeah...and it is super affordable. Plus, they give you a free 2-week trial Win-win.

At this stage, you might think it is a little backwards to start building a website before you have even wrote a business plan or sourced your products. I mean, you probably don't even have anything to put on your website (like a logo or products or photographs etc...). I would say, build it anyway. For two reasons: 1. You want to reserve the domain space that is associated with your business name. Having an online presence that matches your business name is pretty essential. 2. You will need time to get familiar with the back-end of your website and all of its many features. Starting now will give you some time to play around with everything, long before you are ready to go live.

Plus, it is kinda fun! Building your website also builds excitement. It takes your dream, that up until this point has been living solely in your head, and turns it into something tangible and real.

So...what are you waiting for? Go build yourself a website.

 

 

Step Three: Name Your Business

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

Once I had my business idea, I jumped right into the fun stuff; choosing a business name and designing a logo. But actually we aren't going to talk about logos just yet. We will get into all that in the next post. I only mention this so that you can note that I did not immediately deep dive into the practicalities, logistics and challenges of actually opening up a retail business. I think doing so would have killed my dream. There are so many road blocks when first opening yourself up to the idea of starting a business. I needed to, first, build up some excitement. I needed to pump myself up.

It is kinda like having a baby. If you wait until you are "ready" and have all the details and logistics worked out before you try to get pregnant, you will find a million reasons not to have a baby. But if you drum up a little excitement first (i.e. research baby names, imagine the nursery), the logistics and challenges are forced to take a temporary back seat. They will still be there...sure...but they won't be the only things there. Excitement will also be along for the ride.

If you put all your worries and fear aside and just name the baby, you will feel the urge to actually make the baby. Errrr....business.

To name my business, I did three things:

  1. Brainstormed Names
  2. Asked for Feedback
  3. Researched Names

Brainstorming Names

As I already mentioned here, the brainstorming process is wildly important and, for me, it lasted the better part of 3 months. Included in all that was dreaming up names for my business. I began by simply writing down words. The words needed to fit one of two criteria (or both): I had to like the way it sounded and/or it had to conjure up the overall concept or feeling of my business. To give you a better sense of what I did, here is a sample of some of the words I came up with:

I think, when all was said and done I had about 50 words on my list. Now, obviously, these words by their little lonesome are pretty generic and boring. And overall, that was not the vibe I was going for. However, when I started pairing them together, things got a bit more interesting. For instance, Yonder Interiors or Humble Homewares or Brass Souk. I also played around with adding a 'The' to a single word or phrase. Like, The Rustic or The Fig Creative. I feel like this is a very easy way to make something generic sound instantaneously cool and trendy. It is the hipster of business names.

Alas, I am not a hipster....so I kept searching.

I kept gravitating to the word 'souk'. I loved the way it looked, how it sounded and, most importantly, what it meant. It felt almost perfect. So I started to play around with word pairings that included the word souk. Here are some that I came up with:

As you can see, I created little mock-up logos to go with my names. I mostly did this for fun but it also helped me envision what kinda of vibe I was ultimately going for.  By the way, you do not need to be a Photoshop genius to make your own logo. I did all of the above on PicMonkey. And there are a million websites out there that will help you do the same. Are they perfect? No. But they totally do the trick during the brainstorming process.

Asking for Feedback

Once I narrowed my names down to 6-7 favorites and created mock-up logos for them, I asked a few trusted people for feedback. I had my favorite name but I wasn't confident and wanted to test the waters to see what other people thought. This was actually the hardest part because in order to complete this step I had to say out loud that I wanted to start a business. And that, my friends, can be terrifying to confess. For this very reason I only asked 3 people for feedback: my husband, my brother-in law (who happens to be a graphic designer) and my close girlfriend.

Choose this group of people wisely. You are probably not ready to answer tons of questions about your business right now or share this news with the world...so choose people you trust and who know you well.

I sent "my people" a little email briefly explaining my business idea and asked them which of the following names they liked best and why:

A few wonderful things came out of asking for business name feedback. Firstly, I felt an enormous sense of relief just by sharing my business idea with someone else. Secondly, I got so much positive feedback and encouragement. It was just the push I needed to keep going. Lastly, all of my people liked the same name. And it just so happened to be the name I had been leaning towards. I knew for sure, when one person wrote back, "I love #3, souky souky. Its playful, has a little attitude but welcoming and not pretentious. Also very easy to say and memorable." That was EXACTLY what I wanted.

I felt like I was onto something and getting this feedback gave me the confidence to move forward.

Researching Names

The next step was ensuring that my name was a viable business name. In other words, I needed to make sure that there wasn't already another business out there operating under the same alias. A quick google search should tell you pretty quickly if your name is already being used by another company. However, sometimes Google isn't enough; some businesses exist but don't necessarily have an online presence. In order to apply for a business license, you need to make sure you have a name that you can claim as your own. To find out if your name is available, you need to check with your local/state business licensing office. The easiest way to do this is to just type "business name availability check" and then your state or country name (i.e. business name availability check Oregon). From here, you should be able to simply type in your proposed name and immediately see if it available. If it is...boom! You have yourself a name. If not, well, you need to start over. But don't worry, there are plenty of business names to go around! You will find "the one" if you just keep at it!

Step Two: Brainstorming

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

As we established here, starting a business is simple. But figuring out what that business is and how to make it happen can be downright over-freaking-whelming. And just in case you missed the memo, I am not a business expert...far from it.  So, please, PLEASE take all of this advice with a grain of salt. But for me, in order to feel ready to take REAL, ACTUAL, TANGIBLE steps, like filing for a business license and meeting with a lawyer, I needed to take some time to just imagine and dream and think. I needed to brainstorm. 

I am guessing brainstorming looks very different for different people. For me, It consisted of getting a notebook, some colorful pens and jotting down ALL of my ideas. My ideas ranged from the type of business I wanted to start, to the location of said business, to business names to products I dreamed of selling. If I thought about it as even a remote possibility...I put it down in my notebook. Now, most of those ideas have and will never seen the light of day, but there is something about allowing them to be voiced that helped me clarify what exactly I wanted to create.

For years now, I knew I wanted to do something within the home decor sector but I was never sure exactly what. Did I want to open an interior decorating company? Did I want to be in retail? Did I want to open a brick and mortar store or exclusively offer goods/services online? And while I did not immediately know the answer to any of these questions, putting them down on paper allowed me to consider them more thoughtfully.

It would be wrong of me to act like this brainstorming session happened in one afternoon while sipping Rosé in my garden and harvesting heirloom tomatoes. It did not. My brainstorming session was more like a 3-month long wrestling match between Randy Macho Man Savage and Rick Flair. Mostly it was a battle between the part of my brain that says, "Ahhh...go for it! What have you got to lose?" and the part of my brain that responds, "Everything. That's what.". Hence, my need to simultaneously feed that part of my brain a steady diet of inspirational messages

Which brings me to a cautionary tale. When brainstorming, you must be careful to think, but not to overthink. It is possible to think an idea to death. Fact. And while thinking is necessary when starting a business, the more important aspect is the doing. If you stay stuck in the brainstorming phase too long, you will think yourself right back to your very safe, very boring desk job.

I believe the thing that got me out of the brainstorming loop was asking myself two essential questions. Firstly, I asked, "What is my purpose for starting this business?".

Such a simple, but powerful question. Having a purpose narrows your focus. Having a purpose creates an incentive.

My answer to this question was basically as follows: I want to share my love of travel and home decor in a way that will also better the lives of others.

I knew I wanted to build a business that had a positive social impact. I knew I wanted to share the beauty I have seen in my travels with others and in a way that they would also enjoy. I also knew I wanted to surround myself, daily, with things that make me happy. It was from this answer that I concluded that I would strive to build a retail shop that sold globally gathered home goods. I would make a sincere effort to source beautiful and ethically made home goods. Then, I would figure out a way to give back to communities in need. Boom. Purpose.

It goes without saying that if my answer to this question had been, "to make truckloads of money", Souky Souky would not have been born. Or, at the very least, it would have been vastly different.

The second question I asked, I directed specifically at the inner-fear-avoidance-quitter that resides deep inside me. I asked that little scaredy-cat, "Hey...so how would you feel if, in a year from now, you woke up to learn that someone else, maybe even someone you know, started your business instead of you?" My answer: heartbroken. I would be devastatingly heartbroken. Boom. Motivation.

So, go grab a notebook. Grab some pens. And start dreaming. Don't be precious about it. Just put pen to paper. Go.