Things got real this week with my new venture, Toolbox Communications. After officially registering the business with the chamber of commerce, we signed our first client and hit the ground running (and you know how I love to run), issuing press releases, establishing a social media presence for the company, even getting a taste of office politics – all before the ink was dry on the contract. I am excited to see where this road leads. Here are some lessons I’ve learned on this journey so far.
1. START BEFORE YOU’RE READY
Sounds crazy, I know, but it isn’t. Because you are probably more ready than you think. A post on the popular blog, Copyblogger talks about “just enough” marketing, which totally resonated with me. The “just enough” philosophy basically says that it’s impossible to know everything about a subject, so don’t try. Instead, learn a few key techniques or ideas very well and implement them.
The key is getting started. Setting things in motion. Once you get started, refine and master these techniques and ideas and pick up more along the way and master them as well.
2. YOU ALREADY HAVE WHAT YOU NEED
Chris Guillebeau who writes the blog The Art of Non-Conformity, shares in his book The $100 Startup you don’t need a degree, a lot of money or an exhaustive business plan to start a business. That cocktail napkin you jotted all those ideas on is the only business plan you need. If you wait until everything is “perfect” – degree, money, elaborate business plan – you will never get started. To reiterate point number 1, start before you’re ready.
Guillebeau argues that to start a business you need three things: a product or service, a group of people willing to buy it and a way to get paid. My business partner Ginny and I had the three elements and Toolbox
Social Media Communications* was born.
The service that we could provide was helping small businesses in our area navigate the world of social media. There were a group of people interested in this information and willing to pay for it, and we conducted a workshop allowing us to provide the service and get paid. Boom. Business born.
3. JUST DO IT – AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Don’t allow fear and doubt set in. Get the party started as quickly as you can. With the idea established of having a workshop, Ginny and I got out our calendars, set a date and spread the word. People were willing to pay for the service we were offering and quickly signed up. There was even someone from another country who heard about our workshop via Facebook (another point for social media) who we planned to Skype into the workshop. Due to technical difficulties, however, that didn’t happen. But she did receive one-on-one coaching from Ginny a few days later.
While the buzz was building about the workshop, we received word that a company was interested in retaining our services for a long-term project. This is the client I spoke of earlier.
The amount of time from the decision to start Toolbox to the first workshop, and vetting from our current client was less a little over a month. There was no time for fear to set in. There was no time to learn everything about everything. There was no time to go and get a MBA or PHd.
There was time, however, to “just do it”.
Have you ever started something before you were ready?
What was the result?
*The name has been changed from Toolbox Social Media to Toolbox Communications.