Remember that time you planned a business and it worked out perfectly? Neither do I. Starting a business, any business, is a daunting task. The reality however is that most of us overcomplicate the starting process and do some severe damage to our business before it ever takes off. Let’s put things into a bit of perspective.
Business ain’t easy, I will admit. There is a lot to deal with and the road to success is a long and strenuous one. Rarely will anything happen over night. I have certainly made my share of compromises and I continue to make them every day for the sake of my business. One thing I have learned after several years though is how insignificant my fear and loathing of the start have become.
When I say “start” I mean the planning phase. It is a time filled with incredible confusion. We don’t know where to begin. We analyze all our options for hours on end. The vast open space known as opportunity is both exciting and yet leaves us totally paralyzed with choices. The abundance of this choice often leads to questions of how and where to start. Our minds begin to focus on this concept of “starting” as the “be all” of our business, but that is a terrible mindset to get stuck on.
Things WILL NOT Go As Planned
You will make plans, you will have dreams, and you will tell people step by step how you intend to achieve your goals; and it won’t happen, but that is ok.
The simple fact is we can’t predict the future. For all the planning and prep that you think you are doing, your future is still uncertain. There is an infinite amount of possibilities and options out there for you to explore. Sometimes it may seem like you are stuck in a rut and a slave to routine, but all it takes is one chain of events to turn all that upside down. There is beauty and opportunity in this, so seize it.
When I began my photography career, or rather just before I began, I had plans to be an amazing wedding photographer. I had everything mapped out, a website created, business cards made, the works. I even remember upgrading my car because I thought it would be embarrassing to show up to weddings in the beat up rust bucket I called a car at the time.
One look through my portfolio or client list today and it will become painfully obvious that I am not a wedding photographer currently. In fact, I shot a total of three weddings before I threw in the towel. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I simply wasn’t cut out for it. I think the world of wedding photographers but it really wasn’t suited to my style of working and how my brain processes information.
Despite all the planning I did, and the picture perfect life that played out in my mind, reality had other things in store for me. Currently I am a full time fashion photographer and I operate a rental studio in Toronto. Just a few short years ago I could not have foreseen that, nor planned for it, but it wouldn't have happened if I didn't take that initial step.
Stop Fixating On The Starting Point
I wasted a lot of time making sure I was ready to be a wedding photographer. I stalled for years before I decided to do it. I made every excuse I could think of as to why I needed more time. I was beginning to build up my start in photography as this overly complex and daunting task that became all encompassing and rather stressful.
I think a lot of us do that. We try and put our best foot forward and we over prepare. We analyze, and re-analyze every aspect of our new business.
The simple fact is you will fail.
Ok, maybe not quite fail, that’s a bit dramatic. You will however find that your business is a project that will require CONSTANT maintenance and adjustment. Whatever grandiose plans you make at the start, will not matter in a few weeks, months, or years. Your business is in a perpetual state of evolution and is never fully figured out. What you think you do is only ever temporary.
Business is all about adapting. If you can’t adapt, you will be left behind. So it doesn’t matter where or how you choose to start. Odds are that any plans you make at the beginning of your journey will only be a faint memory and of little resemblance to what you will eventually do. The only thing that actually matters is that you get started. NOW!
Stressed Out Before Launch
By over analyzing and over complicating the process, what you are in fact doing is stressing out your system. This is not a healthy approach and it is a sure fire way to grow a distaste for your own plans very quickly.
When you do eventually launch your business the first weeks will be the most challenging. Your marketing efforts will be at 200%, your income will be uncertain, and there will be many unforeseen problems. You will need a clear mind and confidence to deal with these issues. If you turn the planning phase of your business into a stressful environment, this will translate through to your launch, and will hinder your performance severely going forward.
The “I Have To Make This Work” Mentality
The biggest challenge you will face by fixating on the starting point is that you will attach too much importance to it. You will spend so much time and effort developing this “perfect” plan that you will be hesitant to stray from it. As I mentioned earlier, adaptability is a crucial trait to have in your business arsenal. There is no such thing as a perfect plan in business and if you are not open to change, or to even completely scrapping any plans you may have made, you will inevitably fail.
There is of course value in being prepared and you should take normal measures to be prepared for anything that you do. As long as you realize that things will more than likely not go your way, new opportunities will arise, and you must be willing to abandon all and trust your instincts to pursue the doors which begin to open. Those doors won’t open until you get started, so what are you waiting for?