Why you should start to take action on your entrepreneurial idea before you feel ready.
Starting your own business can feel like a daunting task. There are many things to consider, and you may feel at times like you don't have the skills or knowledge necessary to succeed.
A success strategy that most successful entrepreneurs have in common is to start taking action before you feel ready.
Startup Advantage Eps 34 with Lydia Lee - How to Take Intentional Imperfect Action Into Entrepreneurship with Lydia Lee
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Please enjoy this transcript of episode 35 of the Starting Advantage Podcast. This transcript is lightly edited for readability.
[00:02:25] Tania De Ridder: Welcome to episode 35 of Starting Advantage with me, Tania. Thank you for joining me today. This week, I want to spend a few minutes focusing on a strategy that most successful entrepreneurs have in common that I've seen many new entrepreneurs struggle to develop: to start taking action before you feel ready to.
[00:02:55] Let me ask you a question: How consistent are you in taking action on your business goals? Whether that's starting your business or building your business. If I gave you a rating scale to try and make it easier for you to measure your answer to this question with this scale being either excellent consistency (meaning I take action every day),
[00:03:23] or it being good consistency (meaning I take action most days), or then a final option of choosing questionable consistency (meaning I feel stuck and rarely take action). How would you rate yourself while keeping this scale in mind? Excellent? Good? Or questionable consistency? How would you rate yourself when it's just you?
[00:03:54] And you're trying to be honest with yourself? Now, if you didn't answer quickly to say strong consistency, meaning to take action every day, or good consistency, meaning to take action on most days, I do want you to know that you're not alone. That's exactly why I want to talk about this today. Many new entrepreneurs feel challenged in this area when just starting out.
[00:04:24] And when you're just starting out, you might not even realize it's very common because when you compare yourself to entrepreneurs that you know, in your community, or that you follow in the news, it just seems like they're doing so well. And they're making incredible progress despite their challenges.
[00:04:43] And it might even seem that they don't have any challenges. So if you rate yourself as having questionable consistency, meaning that you rarely take action towards your business goals, then I want to encourage you today and I want you to start questioning yourself about how you're choosing to think about taking action.
[00:05:10] Because the truth is that you don't have to have all of the answers or know what the outcome will specifically be as you're starting out. And it's very likely that no matter how much time or work you invest into trying to control the outcome, you won't be able to.
[00:05:37] At the end of this episode, I want you to feel encouraged to take action, even when you don't feel ready, because a good idea, plus the courage to act despite the uncertainties equals a starting advantage for you. Here are a few reasons why you should challenge yourself to start before you feel ready that I want you to think about. Reason number one: entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint.
[00:06:08] Running a marathon is hard. It's hard work to prepare yourself to complete it. And just like running a marathon means pushing yourself past what is comfortable, starting your own business requires doing the same thing too but in different ways. Running a marathon is about endurance and grit. While starting a company entails staying focused with an unwavering vision of what success looks like.
[00:06:37] While also staying open to failure and adapting your vision. There will be ups, high ups, and there will be downs, low downs, and it is so important to know that you are going to have some setbacks along the way. It can, and very likely will take more time than you think it will for your idea to come together.
[00:07:01] It's not as simple as putting in some work for a few months and then succeeding. There are so many variables in play. So if running a marathon or then starting your business successfully feels daunting to you, like it does to every other entrepreneur; don't give up on your idea quite yet. If you haven't really been investing the time to take action, to try and bring your idea to life, understand it is a process.
[00:07:34] And that you need to start taking imperfect actions, small daily actions, small thoughtful actions towards the bigger outcome, the business that you want to build. Try and think of taking consistent daily action as showing up for a workout every day. You can improve your fitness over time, which leads me to reason number two: there are no shortcuts on the road to success.
[00:07:58] There are no shortcuts on the road to business success. So it's important to be prepared, to work hard and stay focused. People who succeed, who take short cuts, usually don't lay a strong enough foundation to have long-term success. And that's not what you want to do.
[00:08:22] You want to build something that will last, and it will take time for your idea or your business model to catch on so develop your ability to be patient and to take consistent action. Goal-setting can help you with this as it will support you in measuring your progress. Especially if you struggle with motivation, it really helps to set smaller goals that can help you feel like you are making progress as you work towards those bigger outcomes that you want.
[00:08:53] And this can help you stay motivated. Reason number three for why you should start before you feel ready is that starting will help you build momentum. There are so many unknowns. I mean, starting a new business may seem all too daunting, too overwhelming, but there is one thing that starting a new venture
[00:09:19] has in common with everything else in life. And that is momentum. Momentum builds upon itself as you take steps forward, as you take daily action. It's will always be difficult at first, but if you keep moving towards your goal, it can become easier to keep taking action to build that consistency. My fourth and last reason that I want you to think about as you're trying to adjust your mindset on why you should take action before you feel ready,
[00:09:55] is that starting before you actually feel ready, will help you understand what you're good at and what your strengths are that helps your business move forward. And it can also help you understand where there are gaps that you should build upon; what those areas are, and where you need to focus on developing skills more.
[00:10:17] Or where you need to maybe partner with someone else that has the skills that you need for your business to succeed. As an entrepreneur, you will face many different tasks. Some of these will be unexpected tasks. As you start your business and build your business, you will over time naturally develop your skills.
[00:10:39] For example, I want you to think about a time when you had to do something uncomfortable. That wasn't easy for you to do at that moment, but that's now easy for you to do because you took those steps to get started and take that chance and to take that action, to try something new. Maybe you went to school and you got a diploma or degree.
[00:11:05] And going through the process of studying and doing projects and practically applying what you learned, you were able to build skills over that period of time that you didn't have before. And now you feel confident in those areas. That's exactly how I want you to think about the action steps that you need to take now in order to start or build your business.
[00:11:31] Right now it's feeling very uncomfortable for you. You might feel as if it is overwhelming or uncertain, but remind yourself that just as you are able to build a specific skill set before, you'll be able to develop your entrepreneurial skills as well over time by taking action; by taking imperfect action.
[00:11:57] So you're probably wondering, but Tania will knowing these reasons automatically remove the feelings of doubt and certainty, or maybe even fear that you're feeling around taking action? Probably not, but what it can do for you as you're starting out if you choose to remind yourself of what we just spoke about, is to know that no matter how you are feeling,
[00:12:27] you can act, and take action because what you're experiencing is a normal part of the process that most people feel when they're starting out and that you can't push through it; that you can build it like a muscle. Now I know I'm asking you to do something challenging. I know this isn't always easy.
[00:12:48] And I have to remind myself of this some days too. Something that I regularly think of that helps motivate me when I start feeling frustrated with slow progress or feeling disappointed about not taking action consistently enough is a recent conversation I had with my coach, where he challenged me, to remember how lucky we are to be in a position to pursue work that we feel called to do and to work on something that we believe in. That we're building something that we actually really care about.
[00:13:24] That we're building something that we choose to build. So many people in the world don't actually have either the resources or the opportunity to do so. What a humbling realization, right? That, despite the challenges we have, and let's be real, we all have challenges, but that despite all the challenges we have, how lucky are we to be on this path we're on right now. If the factual reasons that we spoke about before doesn't help push you forward,
[00:13:57] I do hope that this reminder will. That realization that you actually have the opportunity to create something that you really care about. I also want to remind you of a recent conversation we had with work reinvention strategist, Lydia Lee on episode 34, in which we spoke about taking imperfect action into entrepreneurship.
[00:14:21] And this is where you if you're really struggling around having everything be preplanned perfectly, and having it executed, just perfectly. Listen to what Lydia had to say.
Lydia Lee: "One of the biggest strategies and habits that I've embraced a lot over the last few years that I wish I did more of at the beginning of my business is taking imperfect action, taking tinier actions rather than big indigestible goals.
[00:14:53] It's actually reverse engineering those goals and making things smaller and chunk down, which is going to be a lot more motivating to achieve. Imperfect action is what I've really discovered that when I do take them, even though not every imperfect action worked out to be a success.
[00:15:09] What it has always done for me is it has provided a lot more clarity about what I wanted to do or what I didn't want to do by taking that imperfect action, because that's the only way clarity is going to come is if we take any kind of action to give ourselves a place to explore what that feels like.
[00:15:35] Tania De Ridder: This is such a freeing way to look at it, to think of it as imperfect action. Lydia also had some great advice on starting to take action when you're worried about the long-term implications of decisions you need to make now and you're really unsure of what to do and that's causing you to not take action:
Lydia Lee: "If I don't get started in what I know for right now, I'll never get started.
[00:15:56] So I think we need to take imperfect action. We need to trust what we know with what we have as assets and knowledge at the moment and give ourselves permission to evolve that body of work and not embrace such permanence to our decisions in business.
Tania De Ridder: But what about if your feeling a lack of confidence around your ability to take action, that can cause a lot of overwhelm and a lot of procrastination?
[00:16:24] Lydia has this great advice:
Lydia Lee: "When you were going through the stages of doing anything different with your life, right? Whether you're going through a career change or you're launching a business for the first time, or just doing something different with your personal life, this is a stage where things are shaky, but you're experimenting.
[00:16:44] You're dealing with all the emotions that come with change. You're in a vulnerable position and that's the truth. No matter how much people say you should just be courageous is not something that happens overnight. Like to meet courage. Confidence. We ease ourselves into it through tiny action. We just can't expect that to happen right away.
[00:17:03] But what we can control to help our confidence is to heavily curate the people, the conversations and the exposure of the right information that we need currently at where we're at.
Tania De Ridder: If you want to hear the full conversation with examples. I encourage you to listen to episode 34, you'll find the link in the show notes of this episode.
[00:17:27] So how do you feel now about taking action even though you don't feel ready? I want you to make a point of regularly reminding yourself of what we spoke of today. That entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint, that there are no shortcuts on the road to success. Not if you're building something for the long-term. That starting will help you build momentum.
[00:17:55] And that starting before you feel ready now, can build your confidence and your skills. I hope you feel encouraged to start to take action. Even if you don't feel ready, just take one step and one day and one action at a time. I want to leave you with some wisdom from one of my favourite books.
[00:18:20] It's not an entrepreneurship book, but it's very much about life's journey and following your own path. The book is called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Quote, "The only time where we have any power over anything at all is in the mind," unquote. Let this be another reminder that how you choose to think about your situation is powerful.
[00:18:46] Choose to start. Choose to take imperfect action, choose to trust yourself that although you can't control your external environment completely, you can control your ability to take action and you can respond to whatever challenge comes your way. Trust yourself, and your ability to adapt. Take the next step imperfectly before you feel ready.
[00:19:14] If this episode helped you, please share it with a friend who you know, will also benefit from this gentle reminder to start before you actually feel ready.
[End] Tania De Ridder owns the copyright of the content in and transcripts of the Starting Advantage Podcast, all rights reserved.