Going it alone, especially if you’re (ever so slightly) highly strung, is a big deal. When you make the choice to rely on yourself and put trust in the fact that you alone are responsible for your future, you’re making a pretty bold statement. If you feel dissatisfied with your current situation and want to do more, however, sometimes the only way to reach for what you really want is to go out there and do it for yourself.
It’s time to pull up your big girl (or boy) socks, tuck your shirt in and get serious.
1. Find a mentor
Whilst you might not want to ask every new person that you meet if they will mentor you, having someone with whom to talk through your ideas and discuss any worries that you might have can be incredibly comforting, especially when you first go it alone. Looking on Facebook, connecting through LinkedIn or just talking to an ex-colleague can be great ways to find a potential mentor.
2. Have a game plan
Launching yourself in the world of business is a truly incredible thing but it’s sometimes easy to get swept away by the newness of it all. More than anything, you should know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, how you will make money, and what your business vision is, formulated through long and short term plans. If you’re unsure on how to write a business plan, there are many guides online, including these by HSBC and Entrepreneur.
There are few people who actually really love networking but, in truth, it’s not as bad as you think it is going to be. The Internet is all well and good for getting your idea out there and finding new sources but, essentially, nothing beats face-to-face meetings. You are the face of your brand and you need to show it off to the rest of the business field. You can find events through Meetup and Eventbrite, or by searching in local newsletters.
4. Keep your inspiration
It’s easier than you think to lose your inspiration when you’re going it alone. If you find your dedication waning a little, try to focus your attention elsewhere and reinvigorate your enthusiasm. Podcast After the Jump is a business-led radio show and features a new entrepreneurial story each week. Hearing different tales in business will keep you freshly inspired and remind you that things don’t happen overnight.
5. Learn by example
The most successful business people got where they are after a lot of hard graft, long nights and failures. Before hitting on the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford became bankrupt five times in a row. Bill Gates, meanwhile, dropped out of Harvard and crashed and burned on his first business attempt. Looking back at what others did wrong will stand you in great stead to get it right. Think of someone you really admire and take a closer look at their story. You might be surprised at how they got to where they are today.
6. Use technology
Nowadays, there’s an app made for practically everything and they can ease a lot of the strain when starting in business. If finances aren’t your thing, for example, Mint helps you to keep on top of your money and set a budget without ever needing to employ an accountant, while Evernote, on the other hand, helps you to connect with potential clients, present quick meetings, gather large amounts of data, and write accessible lists in one handy place. Think of it as your personal assistant.
7. Build a team
Whilst “going it alone” should be about realizing your dream, it shouldn’t involve cutting yourself off from those around you. If it is just you at first, try moving your office into a co-working space. You never know who will be at the next desk, and surrounding yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs will help to keep you on the right path.
8. Keep learning
No matter what we think, we can always learn something new about our area of expertise. Watching TED talks or reading material from 99U will help to keep you up-to-date on trends in business and startups. Following what others are doing in your industry will help you to keep abreast of the times and give you inspiration on where to turn next.
9. Have patience
If the days feel like they’re dragging and you aren’t seeing immediate progress, it can be really easy to get disheartened. The more people that you speak to, however, the more that you realize that nothing comes easily. Going it alone is scary, sometimes trying, and hard work. It can also be wonderful, meaningful, and the most gratifying thing that you’ve ever done in your life. If you want to follow your own path, do it. You know yourself better than anyone around you, and if you tell yourself you can do something, anything is possible.
Taking a new business venture step by step is the best way to ensure success. Sharing your progress with the people around you and asking for their impressions might seem frightening but, in the long run, it will help you to achieve your dreams. Do you have any advice for people starting a new business? Tell us your experiences in the comments below and help others to turn an idea into a reality!