He sat quietly for a moment. Unwilling to accept defeat, he finally said, “Well, when you run out of steam with this thing, give us a call. We’d love to have you back.”
My boss could be called many things… excited about my new venture as The Mindset Maven was not one of them.
For more than 10 years, I had danced around, or completely hid from, the idea of getting back into business for myself. As I initiated this new plan for financial freedom, I was also a full-time MBA student, building a house (actually swinging a hammer), maintaining a successful sales career, and trying to be husband and dad of the year.
Every water cooler discussion centered on the collapse of the economy. “Why would you take a chance on starting a business right now?” my coworkers said to me. “You’d have to be crazy to jeopardize your job!”
I agreed with them. It was a bad time to be taking a chance. But I wasn’t taking a chance. I fully believed in the proven business-building system I would be using.
During the past year, I had become a member of ETR’s Internet Money Club (IMC), and was introduced to the Agora method of information publishing and a plethora of mentors to choose from. The only question was, “Do I have what it takes to make this system work for me?”
Using Michael Masterson’s chicken entrepreneur and Ready, Fire, Aim concepts as my guide, I took vacation time to attend ETR’s 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference and began working on my business in the evenings and on weekends.
My “little project” started to take shape, thanks to the resources of the IMC. In particular, thanks to Brian Edmondson, the IMC’s director.
Left to my own devices, I might still be wondering if my niche, topic, or approach would work. But with the benefit of his perspective, Brian lent me the confidence to keep working the system until I had enough confidence of my own.
Having worked with entrepreneurs my entire adult life, I knew that the tendency for perfectionism could derail the best business plan. So I promised myself to strive for efficiency, not perfection. That made a big difference for me. It can do the same for you.
Here are five more ways to give yourself the best chance for success as an entrepreneur:
1. Don’t talk your energy away. Every goal-setting guru I’ve ever heard talks about the value of accountability. They say that you should tell someone what your business goal is and how you plan to accomplish it. But I’d like to encourage you to swim against the current on this one.
When you have an idea that becomes a goal, there is a massive amount of energy behind it. That energy needs to find an outlet. When you begin talking about your goal, the tendency is to communicate with great passion and in great detail. In doing so, you create the illusion that you’re accomplishing something.
Instead, keep quiet about your goal until you’re 75 to 80 percent there. Let your energy escape in the form of progress. The results will be obvious and will speak for themselves.
2. Plan your work. I’m not suggesting that you map out every single step you plan to take before you take the first one. Each step of a journey reveals new things to consider. However, when you’re going into business for yourself, you need a general purpose in place to guide your decision-making. With that general purpose in place, you can distinguish between valuable tasks and busy work.
At the end of every day, evaluate what you’ve accomplished and write out your punch list for the next day. This one practice can change your life instantly.
3. Work your plan. If you take the time to write out a daily punch list, it only makes sense to tackle that list… right? Some of the items on that list will not be exciting. But if they are vital to accomplishing your goal, they need to be done.
Ultimately, you have to trust that your plan will yield the results you seek. In the words of James Allen, author of the self-help classic As a Man Thinketh:
“Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that the right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about the right results.”
4. Avoid shiny objects. The most pernicious of all entrepreneurial ailments may be the inability to keep your attention focused on one idea at a time. And it can strike at without notice.
New ways to drive traffic to your website… a little-known method for massive sales conversion… how you can get rich by selling llama milk… distractions abound.
MaryEllen Tribby, former publisher and CEO of ETR, once told me that a single finished, mediocre product will make more money than four half-finished, brilliant ideas. I did the math. She’s right.
When a great idea pops into your head, write it down. But don’t start to think seriously about it until you finish the project you’re already in the middle of.
5. Celebrate frequently. I’m going to assume that you’re taking off on this entrepreneurial journey for a payoff. Fact is, we’re driven by rewards. So make sure to take advantage of that by rewarding yourself frequently for your accomplishments along the way.
A round of golf. A quiet evening with your spouse and a bottle of wine. Dinner with friends. A weekend excursion with no e-mail or cell phone. Make the size of the reward suit the size of the accomplishment… and make it fun.
Thanks to the Internet, there has never been another time in history when an idea could become a business in such a short period of time and for so little money. That isn’t an excuse to disregard time-tested business principles. It’s an invitation to try your hand at business ownership without turning your life upside-down and risking it all.
By pouring my energy into the proven system I learned through ETR’s Internet Money Club, here’s what I got out of it:
- A deeper understanding of running a business than I got with my MBA
- A successful video platform that attracts 1,000s of potential customers
- A content creation strategy that is attracting the A-players in my field
- Invitations to speak at events I used to pay to attend
- The ability to start a business and walk from a 6-figure job in less than a year
- And a lot more
I’m not even in the same zip code of the level of success I ultimately want. However, I’m a lot closer to it than I would have been had I not struck out on my own.
Only you can make the decision to start your own business. But once you’ve taken the leap and committed to changing your life, what you need is the help and support of others who have gone before you. You need to get in touch with experts who’ve “beaten a path” for you and have proven strategies they’re willing to share.
That’s what I did.
[Ed. Note: PJ McClure is an alumnus of ETR's Internet Money Club and founder of The Mindset Maven, a company dedicated to eliminating the fear and frustration experienced by entrepreneurs. He has consulted with more than 2,500 small-business owners, as well as Century 21, Keller-Williams, Prudential, Citigroup, Fidelity, and the California Small Business Development Center.]