“I have this great idea — I just need to do it!” As I’ve traveled across the country the past few weeks, sharing the stories of the inspiring, successful food entrepreneurs from my book “Cooking Up a Business,” that’s the statement I hear over and over again from aspiring entrepreneurs. I understand where they’re coming from — sometimes it can seem insurmountable to transform an idea into a business. But a few mindset “resolutions” can help you gear up, take the leap and, ultimately, be more successful.
I know from firsthand experience: In 2013, I was so inspired by the amazing founders I interviewed for my book that I started my own business, guesterly, which lets users create a custom playbill for any event — and I’ve turned to these resolutions as touchstones time and again. If 2014 is going to be your year — and I’m going to challenge you to make it your year — then these big, mindset-changing resolutions will be your path forward. And while there are the more obvious milestones you’ll want to check off your list too (forming a business entity, opening a bank account, creating a website, etc.), I’ve found that adopting big-picture resolutions first creates far-reaching and life-changing returns. Go forth!
1. Say it out loud. If you want to start a business next year, one of the most important things you can do is to get your business idea out of your head, out of the future tense and into the real and now. Tell friends, family, your journal, your Twitter followers, your Facebook community — anyone and everyone! — that you’re starting something next year and include a date.
As simple as saying, “I’m launching something big on March 5!” having a date is important: It both holds your feet to the fire and incentivizes anyone you have working with you. And if the date is ambitious but doable, so much the better. Maybe you’ll have to push it back a bit, but you’ll already be closer to launching than if you’d never set a date at all.
2. Focus on earning more, not just saving more. If you’re thinking of bootstrapping your business (and let’s be honest, at this early stage, you probably have no other choice), you might start thinking in terms of extreme savings and doing everything yourself. You’re free, right?! Not so fast: While you should never underestimate the power of how much you can do yourself, also realize that there is an opportunity price on your time. If you can pay someone else to do it for a reasonable price, is it worth your time?
Focus your own energy on the tasks that can move your business forward (like fundraising or building your team) and outsource the rest (particularly the stuff you don’t love doing). For example, save yourself an hour a week by ordering groceries from a delivery service, or outsource some of your coding offshore to earn back 10 hours a week.