The standard advice I used to get from my creative writing professors was to write SOMETHING. I’m a firm believer in this, but not often a practitioner. I’m also a firm believer in doing some sort of exercise regularly…but, again, I don’t follow through most of the time. Although…look: I’m writing something now, and I just started swimming again, which just goes to show that people can change (at least when the weather is right and things aren’t too busy at work).
The reason I bring this up now is because I often get asked for advice about starting a business or some such similar activity. I don’t consider myself a business guru, but I have built something that’s allowed me to be self-employed for almost 10 years, so I guess I know a thing or two.
My advice to anyone who wants to start a business is this:
Talking and planning and dreaming are ok. But, why not put your ideas on paper? It won’t cost you anything and it’ll get you one step closer. Already have it on paper? Do the research and write a business plan…and DON’T spend more than a couple minutes researching the format of a business plan. AND YOU BETTER NOT GO BUYING A BOOK ABOUT WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN OR TAKING ONE OF THOSE CLASSES. I’m serious. I’ll kick your ass if you do. Formatting and style should be the least of your concerns at this point…why not start with answering these questions (off the top of my head):
Who will pay me money?
What will they pay me money for?
How much will they give me?
How will I do or make what they’ll give me money for?
Where will I do whatever it is?
When will this happen (make a schedule…who cares if you might miss a deadline?)
The one question you shouldn’t specifically answer just yet is “how much money do I need before I can do it?”. Save that for your second draft. Almost everyone I know who wants to start a business but hasn’t done it thinks that money is the problem that’s keeping them from their dream. I almost guarantee that it ain’t.