Starting My Own Business In Four Easy Steps

Taking the first step towards something new is always the most difficult for me. Whether it is a blank piece of paper that needs to turn into an essay, a white canvas yet to be turned into art, or a song without a melody, starting an idea from scratch can be a daunting experience.

I am the type of guy who likes to have a plan. I fully
pexels-photoacknowledge that life tends to throw those plans right out the window once things get going, but I love a good plan none the less. I had been reading endlessly on startups and business planning, and couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed! It seemed like there were endless pitfalls and opportunities for failure, and I had not even gotten started yet! Finally it hit me that I should take a step back, and try to simplify the idea as much as possible. Rather then making an elaborate plan on scaling capital, target demographics, and outlets for expansion, I should keep it simplified and direct. Using this approach, I came up with my own four easy steps for starting a business.

1: Find Clients. (Who do you want to work with or sell to)

2: Make your plan come to life (How are you going to reach these people)

3: Make a backup plan (Plans fail. How can you prepare)

4: Bet on yourself, because else no one else will! (Be your own advocate)

Pretty straight forward right? Four steps are a lot more achievable then 400, and gives you the direction and momentum to get started.  My business of choice was a relief practice in veterinary medicine. That being said, you can use this template as a jumping off point for any business.

  • 1: Find Clients. (Who do you want to work with or sell to)

The first step to any good business plan is deciding office-594132_960_720who you want to target, and more importantly how you are going to reach them. I tend to be very direct in my approach, and decided that emailing a few sample clinics would be a good way to start. Worst case scenario they say no thank you or ignore the email. I emailed the first 3 clinics that came to mind, and sent them a generic email along the lines of ” Hi, I am a local doctor, and am transitioning to pick up some relief shifts for local clinics. Do you have a need for relief vets?” I continued to send out these kinds of emails until I had covered the majority of the clinics within my area. I received several positive responses back, but did not hear from about 80% of the clinics I emailed. With no real reputation to speak of, I knew that a few positive responses is actually a really great sign, and proceeded to step 2.

  • 2: Make Your Plan Come To Life (How are you going to reach these people)

Now tphoto-1465657496783-b233a6c6236dhat I knew there was at least some need in the area, I took my search up to the next step.  I physically went out looking for clients. I sent out emails to hospital managers outlining my name, my intention (relief vet), and a short blurb about my strengths and what I could bring to their clinic. A few days later, I would drop by the clinic in person, dressed for an interview, and simply introduce myself and restate that I was looking for relief work, and ask if they received the email I sent out X amount of days ago. I asked in a non confrontational manner, and regardless of their answer, I moved past this point fairly quickly. I made sure to ask if they had a few minutes to talk, and then I would follow up by asking pointed questions about the hospital: It seems quite busy here, are you always this busy? Do you feel your business has room to grow? Do you have a need to fill vacation slots over the summer? These questions in and of themselves were not particularly amazing or special, but they opened the door for the hospital manager to start telling me more about their business. These questions got the conversation moving towards the subject of what I could bring to the table, instead of looking being an outsider asking for something. Most of my drop in visits ended with me securing a relief position at that hospital. Several others were too busy to talk at the moment, but they opened the door for me to set appointments with the hospital managers at a later date that started building my credibility. 6 months later some of these clinics are contacting me for the first time to ask for relief work!

  • 3: Make a backup plan (Plans fail. How can you prepare)

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)Stepping out on your own is terrifying. Make no mistake of that. What I always tell people who are struggling with fear however, is picture your VERY WORST CASE SCENARIO. What IF my business idea utterly failed, and I lost every relief position I had and had zero income? What if I cant pay my bills and my rent? COULD THIS DECISION BE THE THING THAT RUINS MY LIFE FOREVER?! The short answer is No.

Fear of the unknown is one of those things that gets greatly reduced the more you look at it the light of reason and logic. Sometimes you need to flesh out what you can lose in a situation, to realize it really isn’t as bad or risky as your fears make them out to be.

I stood to gain a LOT from this venture: More control of my time, more control of my income, more control of my weekends, more business experience. All of these things were HUGE to me!

What did I have to lose on the other hand?
-What if I cant find work for a week or several weeks? I can tighten my spending down for the first 6 months, and save as much as I can before going out on my own.
-What if I cant find work for years because no one likes me! Well then you either A, get another job. Or B, you lean on your support group. I am blessed enough to have an amazing wife who works, my parents life 40 minutes away, and her parents live an hour away. I know no matter how bad my business goes, I wont end up homeless starving on the street. Regardless of if this was a rational fear or not, knowing this made me feel more secure.
-What if I don’t like my new job? Then you can go back to a normal, 9-5 job in whatever your field is. You have a fall back in whatever field you are leaving. I could always go back to general practice.
What if I fail: You will not die if you fail. You will get up, and keep going. It may sting for a little bit, but you can only go up from there

  • 4: Bet on yourself, because else no one else will! (Be your own advocate)

Have you ever heard the phrase “The whole world is against you”?
While this is not true for the most part (unless you have a lot of mysterious enemies), it sure can feel like the whole world is against you when you are trying to start a business. When I was researching my startup, it felt like the competition was miles ahead of me! There were websites dedicated to relief groups, advertisements for relief veterinarians that had 20+ years of experience, mobile clinics, the list went on and on!

Despite these seemingly insurmountable opponents, I knew that the only way I could succeed was to put my best foot forward. Instead of focusing on all that was against me, I decided to focus on all that I had going for me. I knew that my strengths included being personable, professional, and performing with a high level of excellence. I love new environments and challenges!
This is where a lot of people trick themselves into never chasing their dream. They look down at themselves and think things like “You can’t compete with them.  You don’t have the experience. You don’t have the know-how. You are not good enough.”  

You have to leave thoughts like that behind completely if you want to succeed!

Think about it. How do you expect to succeed when you are your own worst enemy? How can you approach situations and challenges with confidence if you just single-handedly defeated yourself? If a good friend of yours came to you in confidence to tell you about their dream, would you ever shoot them down by telling them they are not good enough? Of course not! So why do we think it is ok to treat ourselves this way? It is important to be self reflective and accurately assess yourself, while at the same time not being overly critical or destructive. As we mentioned earlier, the competition out there can be fierce! That is why you need to be your own best advocate. You need to dig deep and realize that you ARE good enough, and bring to the table that special something that ONLY YOU CAN BRING. If you have to pump yourself up with a pep talk in the morning in front of the mirror, then do it! Do whatever it takes to get yourself aligned with the direction that you want to go in, and then go at it full force. Be your own advocate! Remind yourself each day that you can succeed, and that your dreams are worth fighting for.

photo-1462826639688-5c5300095553Lastly, you have to bet on yourself. When I started my business, I didn’t have a list of investors giving me funds in case my business failed. Going out on my own was a total risk, and yet I gladly accepted it. Why? Because I was betting on something within my control. I was literally betting my financial future on my ability to perform. I was placing my neck on the line to see if I could make a better life. I was risking what I had for something new that I believed with all my heart would be better for both me and my family. If this sort of mindset strikes fear into you, you may want to take a little more time to plan and think before jumping out. However, if the idea of betting on yourself and leaving your mark on the world fills you with excitement, then get ready! The world is about to get a lot more exciting for you!

3 Comments

  1. earlyretirementnow August 15, 2016
    • Andrew August 15, 2016
  2. FinanceSuperhero August 16, 2016

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