Starting Your Entrepreneurial Journey

March 27, 2024


Starting Your Journey

The adventure of starting a company can come with a swirl of emotions, from happiness and excitement to insecurity and doubt. For some people, those feelings become so overwhelming they are unable to take action. Though they have a great idea, they can’t find the clarity needed to even start their journey.

A great way to put your emotions to work for you in a positive way, before you take any action, is to identify how the idea of starting a business makes you feel. Recognize and acknowledge the emotions that come up by asking yourself two questions:

  • Which feelings do I want to latch onto to help carry me on this journey?
  • Which feelings can I recognize, process, and work toward leaving behind?

When we are overwhelmed by kicking off a new venture or starting a new chapter of our lives, it can help to be aware of which emotional reactions are serving us and which ones may hinder our progress. Though things like fear of failure, imposter syndrome, or financial insecurity due to initial loss of income can’t be avoided or dropped completely, we can decrease the impact of negative thoughts and feelings by acknowledging them and understanding where they are coming from.

For more information and some tactics for dealing with emotions around business, check out our recent blog, An Unemotional Approach to Problem Solving.

Get Moving!

Many people have a great business concept, but actually “getting in the game” takes so much more than just an idea. Often the first thing it takes is finding the courage to face fear of the unknown. This is where a lot of people get stuck.

No matter how you are feeling, the best thing you can do is take action. On Episode 4 of the Sow You Can Grow Podcast, my Nourish & Sow co-founder Lucas Mitchell said, “The number one thing I tell people is just go out and do something.”

The longer we sit and think about what we need to do, the more those emotions we want to leave behind set in and start to dictate our progress. When I think about all the successful friends, clients, and colleges I’ve talked to about getting started, the main thing they have in common is they just went after it. They didn’t get stuck. The best way to minimize fear is to get moving. 

Proof of Concept

Starting a business can be so daunting that the first needed action steps are not always apparent. With so much to do, making sure you have your priorities straight is key to saving time and money. It may seem like building a website, designing a logo, ordering business cards, or even filling for your business license should be your first step. But before you embark on building the business it is highly beneficial to test your idea. Make sure you have a market for it. Before anything else, validate a need for your product or service.

When Lucas set out to start Nourish & Sow, he leveraged his network to identify test clients that could benefit from the services he wanted to offer. He offered the work basically pro bono to see if his concept was viable. He found there was an appetite for what he wanted to offer. He established proof of concept.

Before you build your brand or spend any money setting up operations, do your research. Try out your idea. Gather evidence by interfacing with your network. Connect with real, potential clients. 

Design an approach that fits your idea so that you can answer these questions with legitimate evidence:

  • What is my product or service?
  • What am I bringing to the market?
  • Is there a need for it?
  • Can I sell it?

These may seem like obvious questions. But so many new entrepreneurs put the cart before the horse by not starting with this straightforward evaluation of what their potential venture will offer and if people want to buy it.

Business Plan vs. Company Vision

Another place where people get stuck is on the idea that they have to have a business plan to get started. If creating a business plan motivates you and makes you and other people feel connected to your idea, absolutely make that happen. At Nourish & Sow, we’ve found that more important than having a business plan is casting a vision. 

In our experience, your vision is what gets people excited about what you have to offer and what you want to create. That’s what gets people aligned with you and the entity. That’s what gets people motivated to help you. The best way to let potential clients, investors, and staff know how it feels to be a part of your journey is through sharing where you want to go. The specific steps to get there are often less inspiring.

Sometimes it is necessary to create a presentation or business plan to show how you plan to make your vision a reality, especially when gathering investors. But more important than any step-by-step procedure is a flexible foundation built on what you want to accomplish with your business – your vision.

At Nourish & Sow, our vision has evolved with our company. It all started with one idea. We wanted to help entrepreneurs get out of managing and navigating daily operations so they could spend more time creating, because that’s what they do best. As we began to grow and new people came on board, we have redefined our vision to fit how we want the company to grow.

Having and maintaining a clear vision is a powerful way to stay connected to your company’s purpose and a concise, thoughtful way to share your goals and offerings with others.

Utilize Your Network

Once you have proof of concept and a vivid, yet fluid, company vision, you are in a much better position to let others know how they can help. So often we can feel like we have to make it happen all on our own. Relieve unnecessary pressure by letting people know how they can help you. You may be surprised to find that most people want to play a support role, large or small, in your entrepreneurial journey. They just don’t know how.

Show others what you are working on. Start talking about your business as if it already exists. Allow people to share any ideas they may have about how they can be a resource. You may even find your first clients simply by sharing your vision with your network and the network of your friends. Your circle may be a lot bigger than you think it is. 

If you need to expand your network into a new area of industry, join a community in that field. Start interacting and adding value to that community without any expectations. Network simply to make connections. Allow relationships and resources to find you without pushing your agenda. 

Stay Flexible

In my experience, it seems that most entrepreneurs who don’t achieve success have one thing in common—they quit too early. It’s not that they didn’t have a good idea or there wasn’t room for them in the market. It’s that they hit a bump, and they gave up.

The only way to strengthen your ability to face business challenges is to “work that muscle”. When something unexpected happens that derails or postpones the success or profitability you’ve been working toward, ask yourself, “Is it time to quit? Or is it time to pivot?”

There is no specific timeline around how long it will take to make your business dreams a working reality. And there is no one-size-fits all plan. While it is great to have goals and strategies, the best thing any entrepreneur can do is stay flexible and let the journey unfold organically.

For more insight and an expanded discussion of this topic, listen to Episode 4 of Sow You Can Grow.

For more relevant business tips for entrepreneurs, follow the Sow You Can Grow Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.