Starting a business is a lot like backpacking through the wilderness. And just like backpacking, you need to bring tools for survival. Here are my 6 survival tools for your first year of business:
Starting a business requires a crazy amount of courage, because it will spark a crazy amount of fear. But remember, courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s acting despite being afraid. And fear, when not signaling life-threatening danger, can be a great indicator of what we need to do in order to grow.
Fear tries to keep us small and safe. Fear tries to convince us to stay home; it tells us that we’ll get eaten by a bear in the wilderness. Fear points out all the things that could go wrong, and doesn’t see what could go right.
It takes courage to walk through the the wilderness, and it takes courage to start and build a business.
2. Instinct / Intuition
There’s going to be a lot of distractions on your path; as you enter into the dense forest of the business world, you’ll see how others are running their businesses. You’ll compare your business to theirs. You’ll wonder if you’re doing it right. You’ll question your path.
By all means, learn from those you see and interact with, but remember: they have a unique path to walk, and so do you. What’s right for one business, might not be right for another. Always follow your intuition - it will never lead you astray.
In business and in backpacking, don’t just wing it. It’s helpful to know things, to do your research, to get educated. In the literal wilderness, you need to know how to set up your tent, how to filter water, and how to read a compass.
There are hundreds of quality online courses available to teach you every aspect of business you could possibly want to learn. There’s no need to go get a business degree - learn as you go and utilize the resources within reach. If you don’t know where to start, download my business checklist here.
4. Quality Equipment
I went camping in the mountains of Wyoming one cold, rainy weekend with friends, and slept in a tent that leaked. In the early morning, I woke up freezing and wet. Thankfully, we drove home that day, but had I been on an extended backpacking trip, I would’ve been screwed.
To survive, you don’t need the best of the best, you just need a tent that doesn’t leak and shoes that support your feet. In the online business world, this means prioritizing security, legal protection, and control of your content.
5. A guide
It is possible to successfully backpack (and do business) alone. However, would I recommend it for your first time? No. And I speak from experience.
When I ventured out to start a business, I aimed to do it on my own. After all, I had courage, I trusted my intuition, and I had a good amount of knowledge to make it a few miles down my path. But it wasn’t long until I came up to an obstacle, had to detour, and lost my path. This would happen several times throughout my first year in business. And while it happens to everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a guide, I was forced to handle the emotional stress of constantly feeling lost on my own.
A guide has been there before. They know that it’s normal to feel lost, and they can help you recalibrate your compass so you can get on your way much quicker. They can give you tips on what to know, and what equipment to arm yourself with. They can see when you’re walking in circles and help point you in the direction you want to go.
As a Business Mentor, I guide my clients along their unique path, imparting my skills, knowledge, and experience to prepare them for navigating the wilderness alone. I don’t tell them where to step, I teach them how to follow their own intuitive compass and support them over rocky terrain.
6. A group of peers
Perhaps even more important than a guide is a group of other beginners navigating their journeys alongside you. Backpacking is always more fun with friends, and business is no different.
Running a solo business is lonely work. Do yourself a huge favor and find a community of other solo entrepreneurs that can experience the ups and downs with you. They’ll pump you full of courage when you’re scared out of your mind, and celebrate your successes with you when you feel awkward celebrating alone.
Speaking of which, The Growth Studio has a new offering coming soon: a membership community for new entrepreneurs. If you’re starting a creative business from scratch, and a private coach isn’t in the budget yet, but you need the necessary survival tools listed above, sign up to receive my checklist below, and you’ll be among the first to know when this membership community is available.