Wow! The last month or so has been different. I’ve learned and accomplished some exciting new things and I’ve had my fair share of growing pains as well. What I am loving most though, is the fact that things are changing. Although there aren’t a lot of physical differences my life is changing and I feel it in both my mind and my heart and it is becoming more evident in my actions. A little before this time last year when I decided to take the time to reevaluate myself and why and how I was starting to get so far away from ME. Running away from doing those things that would make life more fulfilling. Spending way too much time trying to fit in the box that life conditioning led me to feel is the correct one for me. You know, being Authentic and Unique is something that is talked about so much and it’s something we all strive to be but unawares many of us willingly give that up to jump back in line. We gracefully bow to the status quo and hide the emptiness it leaves with smiles that hide the rage of the dreams that remain trapped inside our heads. It isn’t happening overnight, I still have a long way to go. Some moments, days and weeks, I do better than others but I feel like I’m finally turning the corner. With that being said, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned the last few months. Hey, I know you may be thinking this dude hasn’t done anything special he isn’t making the big bucks, and that would be the truth. But this, for me is about sharing the journey from start to finish. Maybe when it’s all said and done this will be a road map for what not to do. Maybe it will be a great resource for those trying to get something special off the ground. Who Cares. It’s life according to Stan and I hope ultimately someone is helped.
- Create Designated Work Areas
Working in the home can present all kinds of challenges. Especially when there’s a spouse and children that need and deserve your quality time and attention. One of the challenges for me in the beginning was working without being distracted by the TV or by whatever may be going on. We have a wonderful, small home that keeps us all near to each other and I believe having a small home has a whole lot of Pros but one of the cons is the fact that there is not much that can be done without being heard. And after all, this entrepreneurial quest is something I have chosen and my wife has made the choice to support me in the that decision but that doesn’t mean that the kids should have to stop being kids or my wife shouldn’t expect for me to help with things around the house so I can work. So one of the things I have found to be beneficial is dedicating a space and trying to as much as possible work on a schedule. I have found that over time the kids catch on and tend to respect that Daddy’s working and for the most part let me do so without to much disturbance. On the other hand my wife interrupts whenever she would like because she knows she just got it like that (that’s a joke Kelly). I’ve also found that really in order to be able to get the most done at home it is best for me to do the majority of what’s to be done early in the morning before everybody gets up or just after everyone goes to sleep. In doing so, I get to spend more time with my wife and the kids while I still can. One thing I try to consider is the fact that at some point when things begin to really grow there will be times when more will have to be done outside the home so I try not to take the time that is spent at home for granted. Don’t forget to utilize lunch breaks and if you live in a city that has coworking spaces I would definitely give it a try. Birmingham’s first coworking space opened this month. I had the opportunity to get what’s called an After Hours membership and it was one of the single best things I’ve done. This membership gives me to work in an office from 5-8PM throughout the week and all day access Saturday and Sunday it is absolutely perfect for my current situation and it is very affordable. When you start setting aside finances to invest in your business ventures it really has a way of making you get more disciplined and enthusiastic about getting things done. I get more than twice the productivity working there vs working at home and it is allowing me to let home be home because I do believe that separation of home and business is what’s best in the long run.
2. Time Management and Discipline is Mandatory
One thing that I realized really fast and it is actually one of the things I am still working really hard on is the fact that my time management has to get to the level of impeccable. Trying to bootstrap a business while working and raising a family requires that just about every single second of your day and night need to be used wisely. I have to constantly evaluate what I am doing and ask myself if I am using the time wisely. Notice, I didn’t say you need to spend every second working on the business because although that may ultimately lead to a successful business and it may even get you there faster, I really don’t believe sacrificing your family is worth it. There is time to do all the things that need to be done but there is absolutely no time for lounging around watching TV, or chatting on the phone, doing busy work instead of productive work. If you’re not careful you’ll lose hours of precious time every week doing things that really don’t matter. Evaluate yourself and your circle and anything that isn’t genuine and supportive of what you’re trying to do remove it. That time of yours is valuable don’t waste it. Get that schedule on paper and do your best to stick to it.
3. Your Niche Will Find You
For as long as I have contemplated starting a business I have always read and heard to make finding your niche one of the first things you do. I do believe finding your niche is important. What I have learned is I placed way too much emphasis on it way too early. I am now realizing the best thing to do is become clear on what you want to do, get started and your niche will find you. I spent months thinking and analyzing who I wanted to serve and how I could get it to them. When in all actuality once I began to let people know what I am doing those that see the value allow me to work up a proposal and/or quote for their particular needs and through this I have gained a great deal of insight that is helping find me niche on the go without having even fully launched. In hindsight, I now know a niche shouldn’t necessarily be set in stone because interest can come from a demographic you weren’t expecting. Ultimately a business needs customers who are willing to pay when you start finding those you’re finding you’re niche. Get Clear on what you want to offer get it to market and your niche will find you.
4. Stay Out Of Your Feelings
No, I’m not saying you have to turn into a sociopath. I’m saying if you don’t already have it, you’re gonna need to develop some tough skin. First you have to get used to unashamedly pushing your business. Secondly, you have to understand some folks are gonna look at you crazy and most of all you have to get used to hearing NO without feeling like the world is going to end or feeling like you need to second guess everything you are doing. Not everybody is going to know and understand the potential. You have to remember the vision is yours it was given to you others won’t really begin to see it until you see it through. Most importantly, don’t expect anything from anybody but yourself. If you get some solid help and good encouragement along the way be grateful for it and cherish it because more often than not you are going to have to do the heavy lifting on your own. I’m not saying you need to develop a me against the world mentality. I just want you to know the process of trying to build a better life for yourself has a way of exposing the folks who really don’t care to see you get where you’re trying to go and ultimately that’s a good thing better to find out now than later. So don’t be surprised if you find that your biggest cheerleaders are a few of your closest family and a bunch of people who don’t even know you. I don’t know what it is but in some instances it seems like seeking business ownership is taboo. People start wondering what’s going on with you. They think something must surely be wrong. Don’t worry about all of that stuff and don’t allow it to cause you to lose patience. Don’t feel like you have something to prove to anyone else make your competition the man in the mirror and consistently take meaningful steps forward.
5. Know Your Why
I have been hearing this statement a lot the last couple of months. The first time I heard it I gave it some thought but as of recent my answers have really begun to sink in. I believe this is important because I truly believe it has to be bigger than the pursuit of money and social status. I believe you really have to regularly check and be sure your motives are remaining pure because as humans we have a way of becoming blinded by success and the pursuit of it. When your why loses its purity you become the type of person that will do anything to get to that goal. You lose grip on the things that are really important like how you treat others. You step on and mistreat and misuse whoever and whatever you have to to get to what has become your self proclaimed apex. When you know your Why and keep it pure you become motivated to do what needs to be done to get your goals accomplished the right way.
You know, the reason so many people never try is due to the fact that not trying assures us that we will not fail. When you get to the point where you’re doing it for the love of it you begin to think in terms of failure not being an option. You begin to get that adrenaline rush that comes along with doing things that peak your interest and ignite your passion. The last couple months I’ve felt uneasy, and uncomfortable more than ever. The difference is, this time around it feels Good. If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading. I hope you are finding the things that make you Alive and I hope the Best. Til next time…