We often believe that successful people experience their success from day one. They woke up and boom, there was a successful company or someone suddenly became famous and had a lot of money. I wish it was true. I will help you out of this dream, because most successful people started small.
“Give yourself permission to be a beginner!”
J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. She wrote the moment she had to live on a minimum. How many publishers did she visit before someone finally wanted to publish her book. The publishers are now beating their heads if you look at the success they have achieved. The lesson she can certainly teach you is to never give up.
Self-made millionaire Dave Ramsey who started his business from behind a table in his living room and has built his millions of businesses with no fewer than 800 employees. He has helped millions of people get out of debt and build wealth.
Take a look at our Annemarie van Gaal. She is a Dutch financial adviser. As a single mother she had to pull the strings together and even went to Russia to build a business there. She sold this later and she is now one of the best financial advisers in the Netherlands (I think so!). She invests in various companies. A successful go-getter!
These are a few examples in which you can clearly see that someone did not immediately have a bright start and certainly did not become successful with his or her company overnight. Ultimately, by persevering, being consistent with themselves and allowing their environment to exercise as little influence as possible on them, they ensured that they manifested more than they had ever imagined.
Why starting small is so important.
Let’s face it, starting small is not nice and not fun. You don’t see yourself sharing photos on social media when you are working in the living room or in a room behind your desk. There’s nothing romantic about it and not nice for social media. You also don’t want to tell your friends that you now have a great life, because you can’t see that yet.
Yet when you start small you experience one of the most important moments and steps in your company. Certainly at a later stage you will see that it was good.
It is therefore important to give yourself that permission not to be big yet and therefore to start small. You are a beginner and that is good. Aside from being proven in most cases, your goal and dream can be achieved so many times easier by starting small.
What happens if you start dreaming big and set big goals for yourself? The fear that you will not succeed comes around the corner. You are going to get moments when doubt strikes. You wonder if your goal is achievable. If my goal is not too big and overwhelming, it can suddenly grab you by the throat. By starting small it is more credible for you to make it and your dream does not seem so crazy at all!
How do you start small?
Allowing yourself to start small requires dedication, a commitment to yourself and of course perseverance. The qualities that you have ensure that you will succeed. That is why I am giving you a few guidelines on how you can and cannot do to make your dreams come true.
1. Do not wait until you are ready.
Being ready for something is a belief that we impose on ourselves. Are we ever really ready for anything? There will always be a reason to wait or you come up with excuses to postpone. The only way to convince yourself that you are ready is to do it. And in the process, people learn, so you’ll have to start to be able to take the second after the first step.
The great thing about starting small is that it is always manageable. After all, you do it step by step.
What I also learned was that you first decide to do it and then you start to wonder how you are going to do it. If you ask this first you will never get further. If there is a chance on your path and you don’t feel that you are ready, you feel that you could not do it or you didn’t learn it, it doesn’t matter. Just say yes and start. You learn it the moment you start.
2. Take the small steps.
The moment you divide your big dream, your big goal, your big idea into small steps, you automatically start to see the possibilities instead of the impossibilities.
Just a simple example to make it clear.
Suppose you want to run the marathon, but you have never run fast. You will not immediately walk 15 kilometers on the first day. You start with a few kilometers and then you build that up. Step by step towards your big goal.
If you are going to start a web store, for example, it is a good first step to start selling via a platform such as Etsy or Amazon.
What you will notice, both in business and your personal life, is that the smallest steps will make the most impact. It is the small steps that can make such a change that you will see lasting results, especially if you keep repeating them. That is why it’s also important not only to think in small steps, but also to let go of the time that you still need to achieve your goal. And this also applies to the steps you still have to take to reach your goal. Instead, think about which step you can take this week.
3. Don’t worry about what others are already doing.
I once attended a workshop with artist Wilma Veen(Dutch painter) and I spoke to her about what I wanted to do and I told what was stopping me. In my eyes, every idea I had was already implemented by someone. This stopped me so much that I finally did nothing. I thought nobody was waiting for me.
“Don’t be distracted by what someone else is already doing,” she told me.
I never forgot that sentence. I am so happy that she gave me this insight and removed that blockade for me. Because of a conviction that I held, I stopped myself enormously.
There is always someone who does what you do. Probably something else, but you are probably not the only one with this idea. These days I always say to everyone: “There is no competition.” We always think of our competitors, but you know everyone attracts their own customers. Everyone can get enough customers, as long as you stay close to yourself.
Also do not compare with others, the danger of social media is that you can see everything from everyone nowadays. You see what they do, what steps they take and what results they achieve. Beyond that, you should not compare their big steps with the starting small steps of yours. They are probably at a very different stage than you.
Quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” And you can’t make changes or improvements if you’re too busy obsessing about someone else’s progress.
Get the attention away from the people around you and focus on your own life, your company, your dreams and your norms and values. Stay on your own path and do not deviate from it. Run your own race. And while making your own steps you are confident that these are the right steps.
4. Keep it simple.
When you pass your education and you are looking for a job, the first thing we often do is buy new clothes for the job interview. You want to look your best right? On the one hand very understandable, but on the other hand nonsense of course. Chasing yourself to make money is not necessary.
We often do this also when we start a new company. We buy a new laptop, a work space is arranged and other things that we “need” to get started. Let’s be honest, you don’t need all of this, you just want it and you want the look of a big company right away. With this you fool yourself completely. Your company does not need this, you only try to make your dream visible. What work you deliver to your new company is more important than the stuff you put around it. “Start where you are now, use what you already have and do what you can.”
5. Don’t make debts.
Many people feel that corporate debts are different from personal debts. As if the debt belongs to the company and not to you.
Just wake up now!
Both really end up on your plate. You will have to pay off the debt, nobody else. You no longer have anything in your hands when you start making debts. You do not want to lose your own power, your company and control to someone else. You want to be in control and that will disappear irrevocably the moment you start making debts.
Consider also that every decision that you will make after making a debt has an effect on the debt and on the growth of your company. Believe me, you don’t want to experience that feeling.
There are plenty of experienced experts who can tell you that you can build a successful business from nothing or very little. You really don’t need a loan for this.
There are of course exceptions, but look at what kind of company you are going to start and think of possibilities to build it up without debt.
One more tip: If you need real money to invest in your company, never borrow it from family or friends, but look for an investor. The loan is going to stand between you and that does not benefit the relationship.
6. Make a plan and set goals.
Of course you don’t all have a dream and an idea. A dream remains a dream if you don’t put a good plan against it. You need a plan with which you plan the steps from where you are now (the beginning) to where you are going (your final goal). Once you have made that plan, you can start to attach goals to it that will ensure that it is achieved.
The moment that you have actually drawn up a plan and worked out the goals, the chance that your dream will come true is greater. You will realize it by taking the steps in your plan. You get an overview and you see what needs to be done.
There is no such thing as sleeping a night and waking up with a big company. You will have to put time into it and work hard to reach your goal. It is absolutely possible, as long as you continue to believe in it, but also because you now work step by step. Take small steps at a time, use what you have and grow slowly. You know the most impressive results start not really impressive. They must be formed.