Do you feel like you need to learn absolutely everything you can — to truly master the subject — before you can even contemplate starting your business? Do you feel so panicked at the prospect of how much you have to learn, how much stuff you need to get right, that you can’t even take the first step?
We’ve all been there. There’s some fear or anxiety or whatever that holds us back. Take me. I sat on the idea of starting this business for a solid ten months before I actually did anything about it. Before then, I was a pro-dreamer. I read countless books and blogs and forums, and yet I just couldn’t get started.
And it doesn’t end when you finally do get started, either. You will always feel like there is too much to learn, and that you will never get it all down. But hey, guess what?
There will always be more to learn, and that’s a good thing. More to learn = more potential to make more money. So here’s my advice:
TAKE. IT. SLOW.
You will improve as you go on. There’s absolutely zero need to get everything perfect right off the bat (or ever, for that matter). No one will even be looking at you when you first start out, so who gives a fuck? Now is the perfect time to start experimenting.
So instead of trying to craft the most beautiful website with the most captivating copy, just throw something together — something you can start to generate income with. That’s what I did. In fact, here’s what my website looked like when I first started out. I threw that thing together in one day. And I started making money from it in the first week.
Let’s take a look at my business’s trajectory since it first began, shall we? Yes, we shall. Because timelines are fun.
Untamed Writing’s Evolution
Decided to start my own online writing business.
Reached breaking point at my job. Actually started working on my own online writing business. Threw together my first site.
Started writing for a guy at less than £5 per article.
Built up a few more clients, ditched the £5 client. Decided I wanted to build a personal brand. Came up with the idea for Untamed Writing. Bought the domain.
February – April 2013
Worked behind the scenes on getting Untamed Writing set up. Got some incredible photos taken (thanks bro!), bought a WordPress theme I liked and tweaked it until it was good enough. (I use the Genesis Framework with the child theme Balance.) Wrote the main pages and some blog posts. Asked my clients for testimonials.
Officially announced Untamed Writing. Alerted my clients to the change. Then carried on writing as usual.
Realised I needed more time to work on growing my business, so started outsourcing some of my work.
June – July 2013
Revelled in my new-found freedom. Slacked off. Travelled a bit. Went to WDS. Created an ebook with some friends (which you can download here, by the by — it’s very useful if you want to start your own business but aren’t quite sure what or how. You can also read sample chapters here and here). Maintained my biz without actually growing it (whups!).
Got my ass back into gear. Created Untamed Writing School and ran the course in beta. I also incorporated, and so Untamed Writing Limited was born.
September – December 2013
Ran the course while maintaining my client work. Behind the scenes, I worked on the legal side of my business. I set up new bank accounts, drew up contract templates to use with my clients and contractors, got an accountant — fun stuff like that.
And that brings us to now. I’m switching to an inbound marketing model (getting new clients to come to me), rather than the outbound model (aka cold emailing) I’ve used up until now. On top of that, I’m changing the focus of my work to copywriting, because I’m better at it, I enjoy it more, and the pay is better.
There’s a whole bunch of other stuff I want to work on, too. I’d like to have the site redesigned, get a new logo, write a new tagline, start blogging even more frequently, blah blah blah. But I’m not stressing about it right now. I’m focussing on the most important things first: how to make more money, and how to make it more easily.
I’ll figure the rest out later.
What’s Your Next Move?
So how about you? If you’re overwhelmed with the gargantuan task you’ve set yourself, take a minute to get things into perspective. What’s your next move?
Is it registering the domain name you kinda think you want? So go register it.
Figuring out what to write about on your blog? Brainstorm a list of ten ideas.
Writing a new blog post? Scribble down a rough outline.
Finding your first clients? Pull together a list of companies to email.
This is probably the most underrated piece of business advice that nobody ever talks about, because it’s not glamorous, it doesn’t get fast results, it’s not a hack. (What is the big fascination with hacking stuff, by the way?)
BUT IT WORKS. Five years down the line, or even one year, six months — what will you have accomplished? Anything? Or will you still just be poring over books, imagining what could be?
You can either be a pro-dreamer or a professional.