Stepping out on faith-my first year in business.

Introduction

Well, here I am coming up on my first year anniversary of stepping out on faith and being in business.I came back to my home town after what seemed a lifetime of no way out, never ending travel and long hours for a prominent Australian mining company. I came home craving a simple life e.g.

  • no more long haul air travel
  • becoming part of a community again
  • more time with family
  • being home every night etc.
  • being able to travel and work in places I chose to and not by someone elses choice.
  • Having and wanting all of the above meant I would still need money coming in and the flexibility to be creative about it.I had ‘Buckley’s” chance of finding a job that would give me that so I decided to give myself a job and start my own business……

Planning

It took some planning. Looking back, I can honestly say my planning wasn’t started deliberately.It was started out of frustration with my current life at the time. It was more a case of silently stewing at my desk at work and just scribbling stuff down about how I wanted to change things .In fact it was more of a desperate daydreaming session. I say desperate because I was living a life of “quiet desperation” at the time.

Execution.

Man, I got home after quitting my job and I just hit the ground running. There was and still is, so much stuff to do like:

  • advertising
  • logo design
  • business cards design and sourcing
  • organising technical compliance
  • my own accounting
  • sourcing a work vehicle
  • finding customers
  • commencing work servicing customers
  • networking with like businesses

This was a fairly busy time getting started but I was energised, had the cash to pour into it where needed and pretty much never entertained any thoughts of why it wouldn’t work.

Off and running

So off I go down the track week in/week out trying to get the business ticking along. If I was to graph my journey so far comparing distance/time in travelled versus cash reserves amount it will definitely show 2 curves going in opposite directions. It won’t take Einstein to figure out which curve will be which lol. The longer in, the more the money kept dripping out. Now and then the money tap would stop leaking so much with an injection from a completed project but in general…yeah, you get the picture 🙂

At times the bubble will burst

Yes, I will explain this title.While you are off and running,there will be times when your “bubble will burst”.What I mean by this is at times you will be cruising along all excited about the venture and something will happen that will feel like a sobering reality check.In your head it may be “I’m just going to get this amount of customers this month” and then nothing will be happening.

To compound this you might talk to an associate in the industry and they might say something as innocent as “the economy is in a slump”.At the time this sort of scenario can bring on fear,anxiety or a bit of “down and out – itis”.This is normal and natural.Expect it, don’t dwell on it and get back up and on with it.

Lessons Learned

Plan,plan,plan.

Have a plan before you jump out of the plane. The more detailed the better. Look at all the issues involved and write it all down with a suggestion of a solution on how to solve it. Remember,you don’t have to have all the answers all the time,just surround yourself with people that will have the answers and do the same for them when needed.

Create a website and online presence

I think this is crucial.In this day of the online world. A website and online presence goes a long way to doing nothing but good for your business.Today if people want to find your businees what is the first thing they do? They go looking for it on their phone.Today there is us the business owner/operator, the internet in between and then the customer and vice versa.

The chasm in between the two groups is this online world.Be a part of it ,learn to navigate it and use it to your advantage.A website can be an expensive item to buy but there are other options out there if you choose to do it yourself.You can learn all about website creation and hosting here for a fraction of what a website builder will ask you for to build  it for you.

The other bit about having an online presence elsewhere can be free for the most part via social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Pinterest to name a few as well as the local directories e.g local search,google my business and the yellow pages.

Have a go

It doesn’t matter if you are:

  • scared
  • dont think you will have enough money
  • unsure of letting go of your “secure” job
  • arent quite sure if you are “ready”or not

Just like the Nike ad. Just do it.Get on with it and have a go.

Give

Give.Just give of your time or money.Whatever you can afford.I just feel better after doing these things.It helps me take my mind off my own current situation and I believe(through my own personal faith) that it always comes back to me financially as well as opportunity wise!!

Stay busy

Stay busy.Wherever and whenever during a work day,stay busy.Especially if you are having a bad day/week/month financially which may happen more often than not,keep occupied.If you don’t you will find your mind drifitng and wandering about the next “green pasture” and losing your focus of what needs to be done in your business.If you are operating alone,don’t worry,there will always be something to do!!.Being self employed, its always so easy to say theres nothing left to do and head to the couch and Netflix at home etc.Don’t fall into this trap.

Stay motivated and educated.

Stay motivated and educated as you go along on this journey.Knowledge is power and this “power” will reveal itself to you at different times when required .This applies to professional competence in your chosen field/industry as well as the gems you can find by reading motivational/educational materials.

Switch off

Learn to switch off.Where possible set your “open to the public hours” but being self employed you will always find there is always more to do after hours in preparation for trading hours.Outside of all of this,learn to switch off!!Take the dogs for a walk,mow the grass,plant some more veges,whatever…just make sure its away from your phone,laptop,office etc.

Network,network,network.

Being in business,especially as a sole trader can be a pretty lonely journey at times.Also, sometimes,you need an answer to something industry related but are left scratching your head thinking,”how the heck am I going to solve this?”.Another issue you might face is has your business got “professional credibility” i.e.would customers look at you and wonder if you can be trusted to provide a service to them.

All of the above can be solved by networking!! Associating with other businesses in the local area or even joining a professional representative body of your relevant industry will go a long way to solving these problems.Make sure you do this ,it’s too hard on your own trying to do it all yourself!!

Conclusion

What a mouth full!! So many ideas and suggestions from the stuff I’ve learned over the past 12 months.Don’t worry,you don’t have to know it all now just to get started.Let’s use the K.I.S.S. principle here.Keep it simple silly!! Have a dream and a plan,helmet and life jacket and just get in the raft in the white water and paddle like a crazy person!! Any questions,comments or you would just like to make contact,please comment below.Happy “rafting” folks!!

' stop talking and paddle !!'

Billy.W.

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2 Comments on “Stepping out on faith-my first year in business.”

  1. Hi there I enjoyed reading your page. It’s so true, when you’re thinking of starting your own business you just have to take a leap of faith……and jump.
    You won’t have all the answers nor everything planned out completely, but just have confidence and as you say get on with it, and keep on with it.

    1. Hi Ann,yes 100% agree.We all learn quicker once we are in the thick of things and never forget those lessons. 🙂

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