There are few things in life that have the potential to be quite as fulfilling and uplifting — not to mention hope-providing — than starting up your own business, whether or not you go “full time” with it in a hurry, or instead run it as a side hustle for a considerable period of time.
Starting your own business marks a transition — a point where you move away from the world of conventional work, at least in a small-scale incremental way — and take steps to establish yourself as your own boss, and the author of your own professional destiny, in a way which you likely wouldn’t have been before.
Of course, none of that is to say — even in the least — that the actual process of running your own business and striving to make a success of it will be, by any means, easy. Quite the contrary. As every entrepreneur has previously discovered, there’s a whole lot of work, trial, and error involved in making your business vision into a reality.
The first step is to ensure that you construct your business on the right foundations, and move ahead with the right sort of mindset and series of expectations.
For the sake of helping you to get your business off the ground in the smoothest and most productive way possible, here are a few basic suggestions that might be worth keeping in mind.
Ensure that you’ve filled in the requisite paperwork to be above board
Whatever sort of business you’re planning to launch, it goes without saying that you will have to deal with certain legal procedures in order to ensure that everything is above board. The specifics will vary from place to place, but will typically involve things like investigating a registered agent, registering yourself as self-employed with your revenue authority, and so on.
Often, new entrepreneurs are slow to fill in the requisite paperwork and to ensure that everything is properly aligned and done “by the book”. This is understandable. Most businesses barely seem to be existent entities at all in the early days — likely they won’t be earning you much, if any money for some time, and depending on the nature of your business you may not even have much in the way of material signifiers that a new professional entity has come into being.
Nonetheless, you need to ensure that you’re covered from a legal perspective at the earliest reasonable stage. Don’t assume that you’re above trouble or turmoil as a result of overlooked or delayed paperwork.
Set yourself a strong initial goal, but expect to adjust it as you gain experience
There’s been a trend in recent times, among some “productivity experts” and successful commentators on best business practice, to disparage the idea of goal setting, in favor of a more “systems-focused” approach.
Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comics, has perhaps been the most famous — and maybe the first — advocate of this concept, with his immortal line “goals are for losers”.
It is certainly true that your business should include a proper regard for good systems, and that you should maintain fruitful habits on a day-to-day basis, rather than acting haphazardly in the pursuit of a great goal.
You would, however, be doing yourself an immense disservice by removing goals from the equation altogether. In fact, the point can well be argued that it’s essential for you to set yourself a strong initial goal when starting up a new business, but with the caveat that you should expect to need to modify it as you gain experience, and as your circumstance changes.
To put it simply — a goal is an awareness of a desired state that you’re striving towards. Without a goal, you run a very high risk of getting lost in the fog. A goal is not infallible — but you simply do need a strong, meaningful target to pursue, in order to orient your professional efforts properly.
Structure your days, instead of getting drunk on the freedom of being an entrepreneur
When people start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs, they are often “drunk” on their newfound sense of freedom. Suddenly, the everyday work uniform is pajamas. Mid-day naps become a frequent reality. Sleep cycles become disturbed. Everything takes on a more chaotic quality.
Unfortunately, that kind of chaos is absolutely deadly to professional success, and psychological research indicates that conscientiousness — that is, orderliness and discipline — are some of the best predictors of professional success.
If you want to ensure you have the best possible odds of professional success, structure your days. Impose a set daily routine, waking up at the same time each day, and starting and finishing work at the same time each day. Get dressed like you mean business, too.
It might not be immediately apparent, but these sorts of orderly and disciplined routines will play a major role in your ability to remain productive, on task, and keep up a productive mindset.