“I have this great business idea!”
“Someday I’d love to work for myself.”
“This isn’t my real passion.”
“I just don’t have time to start.”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? More and more these days people are trying to escape the daily grind and branch out on their own. We’ve all done it; thought about new apps or businesses we’d like to see in the world. So many people talk about starting their own business and one day working for themselves. But that’s all it ever is – talk. What if instead of just talking about your idea you could start building a business that can support you and your family? What if you could build a company that allows you to escape the 9 to 5 and live the real 4 hour work week.
Some people are afraid of what others will think. Others just don’t know where to begin, and that’s why starting is the hardest part. Once you take those first few steps, you’ll notice yourself quickly picking up the pace. Next thing you know you’re running full speed and your business has turned into a real thing.
I work a full-time job and have been building my business on the side. I’m currently working on my first product, the Personal Productivity Toolkit and will be releasing it in the next few months. I know how hard starting a side-business can be. But I also know how rewarding and exciting it is turning an idea from a mere thought into a real thing that exists and is helping people.
In this blog post, I’d like to outline a simple 3 step process for helping you bring your ideas to life.
Table of Contents
Step One: Set Clear and Actionable Goals
One of the primary reasons people don’t get started on their new idea is they don’t have clear goals or expectations. Here’s why that’s a big problem:
- Having no goals means there’s no sense of accountability. They have no way of measuring their success.
- There’s no pathway to success. The idea of starting a business is very daunting. Everyone pictures the end game where they’re sitting on the beach with a cocktail. Goals allow you to visualise the steps you need to take to get there.
- There’s no urgency. That’s why so many people use the phrase: “one day…”. People say this to justify not starting. They say to themselves: “I haven’t failed yet because I still plan on doing something… one day”. The reality is that by doing nothing you‘ve already failed.
By setting clear and actionable goals, you can determine how you’re going to measure your productivity and success. You’ll be more motivated to start working on your business. And when you put deadlines on your goals you’ll be less impulsive and more likely to get started.
When you’re creating your goals, create a vision but also try and break them down into smaller projects as well. So instead of having one massive goal to create a $10,000 a month business, create smaller goals that contribute to this. For example, setting up a website or launching an ebook.
This is the first step to getting started; to get very clear on your goals and define the purpose of your business. I find that when you include real meaning and passion into your business goals you’ll want to work on it more than anything else. It’ll consume you, and you’ll want to spend every spare second working on bringing this vision to life. When you feel like this, then you’ll know that you’ve created good quality goals.
Building your business is going to be tough, so make sure your goals excite and energize you. When they do, getting started will be easy. It’s slowing down that becomes hard.
Step two: Plan Your Tasks
When you’ve established a clear and actionable goal that you’re working towards, it’s time to dissect these goals into the smaller steps that you need to complete to reach this goal.
You’ll want to use a task management app like ToDoist or Asana (the project management tools Fridge Magazine uses) to plan out the different areas of your business and define the steps you need to take. Set up different projects for the various areas of your business. For example, I have a project called “Content Calendar” which is where I plan out when different blog posts, podcasts and emails are going live. I have another project for “Products” which is where I list everything I need to do before I can ship my Personal Productivity Toolkit.
When you have your projects ready, start getting everything out of your head and into the projects. Don’t leave anything out. Create tasks for everything you need to do, even the tiny jobs. This is key! There’s no way you’re going to remember everything that needs to be done.
Organise your tasks and add due dates that reflect when you would like to have certain jobs completed by. This will make it easier to schedule your time in the next step. I also like to use models to categories different tasks. For example, you can have “high energy” and “low energy” modes. This means you can decide what to work on based on how you feel during the day (credit to Mike Vardy for this great advice). You can add modes to your tasks by using tags if you’re using Asana or labels if you’re using ToDoist.
When you start organising your tasks, it gets easier to work out what to do next and in what order different things need to be addressed. It also reduces your stress as you no longer need to remember to do things. Just emptying your head like this relieves you of a lot of unneeded pressure.
Step three: Schedule Time To Do The Work
When you have a good list of tasks ready to go, grab your calendar and schedule blocks of time to start working on these tasks. This means what it sounds like; block out chunks of time for specific tasks. For example, from 5 to 6 pm you might schedule some time to start planning an ebook.
Chunking your time like this requires you to think about how long tasks will take meaning you plan your days much more realistically. So instead of planning to do ten things and only achieving three you can chunk your time and create a daily to-do list based on how much time your different jobs will take.
If you’re working on a side business while working a full-time job, why not schedule some time from 6 to 7 am and get an hour of work in before your day job? I get up at 5 am each day and use this time to work on my business before going to the gym. You can also chunk out sometime in the evening to work on your business before dinner. The key here is to get everything else you’re doing into your calendar as well. And that does mean everything; all social events, appointments, exercise, time for work – everything. When you fill your calendar like this, you can plan time for your side-business while avoiding clashes.
Now over to you, It’s your turn to find time to start a business
And that’s it. Getting started with an idea is quite easy when you have a process like this guiding you. By getting clear on your goals, listing everything you need to do and scheduling the time to do the work getting started will be easy.