Many of my readers desire to work for themselves, either by building a business or starting some kind of side hustle. However, out of 100 people who say they want to start a business, maybe 1 actually does.
The problem is people put too much pressure on themselves. They look at their desired end state from miles away and fail to take the first step. Frankly, it’s daunting. Where do you start?
People also over-think what it is they want to do. Instead of thinking like a startup, they think like an established business with 50 employees. Instead of starting with a single action, they ruminate over the 100 things they’d like to do.
Often, the best businesses start off as a single simple idea. Forget the plan for the future. Instead, choose your mission and pick a single task to help bring that mission to life. Most importantly, take action. Don’t strive for perfection – there’s no such thing. At the beginning, action is your success metric.
Here’s the thing: businesses aren’t built on a linear path. Many successful businesses end up being quite different from the original idea. A business is formed by pushing an idea into the marketplace and adjusting based on feedback. Of course, I’m not saying someone doing web design for local retailers will end up manufacturing next gen batteries. There has to be some continuity around the mission. Instead, it’s the delivery that adapts.
- Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger (1995 Interview): Moats, Castles and Lords
- Warren Buffett (1985 Interview): How to Pick Stocks
- Full List of Dividend Achievers
A web designer providing services to local retailers exists to help small businesses. Perhaps they start by offering web design services, but discover that sole proprietors need full marketing services or staffing assistance or who knows what else. Or perhaps the web designer starts by providing customized services to local retailers, but then builds pre-made DIY templates that can be used to drive world-wide ecommerce.
Of course, none of that would happen without taking the first step of approaching the local sushi shop that lacks a basic web presence.
Stop thinking about the business you want to build. Instead think of the purpose you want to serve, the skill you want to share or the mission you want to accomplish. That becomes your centre of gravity. Allow the supporting activities to evolve as you test out your idea.
Now pick your mission and identify one way to move your mission forward. And do it tomorrow.