In this blog post, I will list a few lessons I have learned about starting my own business with the hope that they will help you as well.
Starting a business can be a scary thing (at least it was for me). However, the rewards in terms of freedom and fulfillment are well worth overcoming the fears.
With this blog post, I hope to inspire you to start your own business if you haven’t yet. If you have started your business already, I hope to provide encouragement so you keep building your significant contribution to the world.
1. Going Into Business for Myself Was the Best Career Decision Ever
In December 2012, I was forced out of my corporate job and transformed jordico from a blog into a business (Happy re-birthday to me). It was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me in my career.
Even only after a year, I can hardly remember how it was to sit in the same office and dive the same way to work every day for years.
Now, I get to work from wherever I chose to. I chose when I go on holidays. I chose whom I want to work with. I make every decision myself because it’s my business. What a feeling of freedom.
2. You Can’t Fail If You Have Real Friends
This is something I have learned early in 2013. I just got fired from my corporate “golden cage” and started as a solopreneur.
The first few months were extremely though. Not much money coming in, an expensive apartment to pay, a pile of credit card debts and scared to death that I would certainly go bankrupt in no time.
What kept me going next to my burning passion for my vision of helping people do meaningful work that matters were my family and friends.
For at least a few months, I had an almost weekly Skype call with one of my best friends so she could tell me that things will be ok and that I will be successful with my business.
I doubt that I would be where I am today without the support of my friends and family. This paragraph is another big thank you to all of you.
3. The “Giving Strategy” Works
I initially started jordico without the intention of turning it into a business. Only after a few people called me and started to ask for coaching & mentoring, I started to offer services.
My main intention was and still is to give as much value as possible so you can take the inspiration and insights and put them into action and results.
If you personally want to work with me, feel free to check out my coaching & mentoring services.
However, if you just want the information, you can probably find everything on my blog for free. The thing is, knowing how something works and then actually doing it, are two completely different things.
I have put the “giving strategy” into action from the beginning. The result was almost 100 amazing and inspiring clients I have worked with in 2013.
4. Passion is Essential
Without a burning passion for what I do, I would have probably not survived my first year. It certainly wasn’t all glamour and shine. There were many tough moments, lots of fear and the persistent voice in my head who told me that it would be so much easier and convenient to stay in corporate and find another dead-end job.
Many people who engage with me tell me that one reason why they want to work with me is that they see how passionate I am about what I do. I take this as a huge compliment.
Unfortunately, many people still believe in the main motivation of money and status. These motivations lead to countless burnouts and grumpy people.
Don’t do that to yourself, you deserve to love Mondays.
5. Put a Lot of Effort Into Choosing Your Target Market
I think one factor why my business grew so fast was my insanely specific target market. To begin with, I chose to only serve professionals working in Switzerland who do not speak the local language. This is a tiny submarket of a tiny market in a tiny country (around 7 million people live in Switzerland).
Because of my extremely specific target market, I became the go-to guy for people in that market who wanted to get out of the corporate rat race and do something with their career that truly fulfills them.
Very quickly, people started to talk to each other about me and my brand.
Early in the year, I received many emails from people who told me they were referred by a client or a blog reader. Today, the whole thing goes even further.
Last week, I received an email from a women who told me she was sitting next to a girl in the train and started to talk to her about career and how much she disliked her corporate job. The girl, that she has never met before, told her to contact me.
The smarter you choose your target market, the faster you can become the go-to guy for that market.
6. Helping Others to Achieve Meaningful Goals is Pure Fulfillment
I recently wrote a blog post about The Power of Changing People’s Lives Through Your Work. In there, I mention a coaching client who wrote back after I thanked her for her testimonial. Her response was: “Glad you like it, I wish I can give you back more; you have literally changed my life.”
When I see people’s lives changed through my work, it’s an incredible feeling. I feel like I do something that matters and that is addictive. I get a rush of fulfillment and want to do more.
I want to increase my impact constantly. I keep thinking about how I can reach and inspire more people to do work they truly believe in and something that matters.
7. Designing Your Business Around Your Lifestyle is Pure Freedom
Freedom is one of my highest values. Add an international lifestyle (I regularly travel to 10-20 countries per year) to that and what you need to keep up with these requirements is a location independent business.
Early on, I decided to design my business around my lifestyle to make sure I will never be the slave of my business and to make sure it serves me. I have designed it completely location independent.
Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting people face to face. I love public speaking and giving live workshops and seminars. However, I want to have as much freedom as possible and work from where I choose to work.
For example, I am writing this blog post from my hotel room in Guayaquil, Ecuador, overlooking the ocean. I have been traveling/working through South America since the end of October 2013 with my wonderful girlfriend. We will return to Switzerland for Xmas and then see where the new year takes us.
Next year, I will regularly travel between Switzerland and the U.S. for workshops, trainings and speeches. The freedom to be wherever I choose to be is absolutely amazing.
This did not happen by accident, I built it that way. And you can do this too if you choose to.
8. Only Do Things You Truly Believe in
Throughout my corporate career, I was always supposed to do what my boss told me. I was not a very good employee because many times, I dismissed the instructions and did what I felt was the right thing.
I have a very hard time doing things I don’t believe in, so most of the time, I chose to do something else than what my boss told me. Interestingly, the things I chose usually profited the business more than the things I should have done according to my boss.
Now, I only do what I believe in. I choose which blog posts to write. I choose which products to create. Sure, I have to produce content and products that people want to consume.
I choose to create content and products that are in the intersection between what I believe in and what people want to hear. When I hit that spot, both sides are very happy.
I hope you got some insights into my business and life in 2013 and that it helps you do what you believe in.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in 2013? Leave a comment below.