A few years ago, I started with a dream. Not quite a vision – but a stirring deep in my soul that kept telling me life had more for me. It had been bubbling up for a long time. I had been half heartedly searching for a way to create a life that excited me. A life that felt less like obligation and more like freedom.
I wanted to free my soul from the clutches of the “right way” to do anything and that included making money and going to a job I hated.
I started reading different books about starting a business. I read everything from, The Lean StartUp by Eric Reis to Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie. I ended up with a few criteria for moving forward with something I thought would work for my life and my personality:
- It had to be something that mattered to me.
- Something that was challenging and fun.
- Something that made even a little piece of the world a better place.
- Something that could eventually replace/exceed both my husband’s and my income from our day jobs which was in the multiple six figure range.
After reading, reading and more reading, my husband and I decided that real estate investing (specifically flipping houses) was the place to start.
I could take something ugly and breath life into it again. I could make a beautiful home for another family to enjoy. And we could make money doing it.
We came up with a plan (kind of) and yada yada yada, a few months later we had purchased our first flip property.
Looking back on what started, now 4 years ago, here’s what I can offer on starting a business while working a full time job and also raising a family that can make it easier on you. Things I wish I had done/known up front.
1. Create a plan. Schedule time to work on it.
Not a business plan per se, but more of a roadmap of what you want to do and a timeline for getting things done. A business plan may end up being part of that plan, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about defining the dream and creating a plan to achieve it.
Set your priorities. If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a million times. If you don’t set your priorities, they will be set for you. As women, everyone want a little piece of our time. We’re often look at to solve problems that aren’t ever ours. So schedule time for YOUR dream. And be diligent about that time.
2. Learn to let go
If you’re serious about your business – things in your life will start to slip. There’s not enough time in a day to work a day job, run a business, watch your shows, play with your kids, have drinks with your girlfriends, keep an immaculate house, cook completely fresh, organic meals and all the other things that are piled on a woman’s shoulders. Something’s got to give.
You’ll have to pick and choose from week to week, and sometimes moment to moment what you will make a priority. Recognize ahead of time that you can’t do it all – and if you try – there’s a good chance that you’ll do nothing at all because you’ll find yourself paralyzed under the pressure. So be prepared to let some things go and offer yourself a shit ton of grace. Your dreams and accomplished goals will thank you in the end.
3. Ask for help.
I know how hard this is. We are the problem solvers and the make-things-happeners. And we really don’t like to inconvenience people. So we pretty much hate asking for help. But, if you’re serious about your dream, I have news for you – the lone wolf mentality isn’t going to get you there. You’re going to need a wolf pack. Accept help with your kids. When your mom or mother in law (or whoever) offers to help – let them.
When you’re not sure what your next step is, but you know someone who may be able to offer that insight, ask them. Don’t try to go at this alone. It will take you much longer than it has to.
Hire a mentor if you can. If that’s not possible, join a free Facebook business group and actually ask questions. You’ll have to ask for what you need. And eventually you’ll be the one with the answers, so when the next woman comes along with the questions, you’ll be able to give back the help you were offered. Full circle.
No one will ever care about your business or your dream like you do. You’ll have to get used to getting a little uncomfortable on the journey. Break out of that comfort zone – it really is where all the good stuff happens.
4. Have a plan for when things get hard.
Create an inspiration notebook or Pinterest Board. Things will get hard and you’ll need to remind yourself WHY you’re doing the thing. So, make a list of all your reasons why. Refer to the list when things get tough.
Find accountability. Join a mastermind. Find a friend with a big dream. Seek out a community of like-minded women on a mission.
When things get especially hard and you feel like you can’t keep going, ask yourself – “what is the story I’m telling myself about why I can’t do this thing.” Journal it out. Figure out what your story is. And then tell yourself why you CAN do it. Most of the roadblocks we think we have are self-induced. There is always a way around. You just have to be willing to create it.
5. Believe with your whole heart that it’s possible.
You’ve got to get your mind right if you want to start a business. I mean, if your business is your dream – and for most of us it is – then you have to go for it with all you have. You’ll have to dig deep for the fortitude of pursuit.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Your mindset will be the Number 1 determining factor if you will succeed or if you will burn out and eventually die with your dream still trapped inside.
I know that sounds suuuuper dramatic – but it’s true. I recently saw a meme on Instagram (don’t remember who or where) but it said something like this:
‘The definition of hell is that on the day you leave this life, the person you became gets to meet the person you could have been.’
And if you’re a person who knows you’re not living this life to your fullest potential – damn that stings. When I read that it hit me straight in the gut. I realized I have STILL not fully embodied who I really am. Dying with regret is one of my biggest fears or biggest motivators – however you want to look at it. I have so much to do and be. And I bet you do too.
And hey, at the same time, with all that said – please know that you’re always enough. I believe we’ve all done the best with what we’ve had in every moment. Everything’s a paradox. For real