Starting a business with no experience, no clients and no testimonials
Did you know that Sir Richard Branson is the only entrepreneur in the world who has created eight separate billion dollar businesses in eight different industries? I don’t know anyone else who even comes close!
One of the personal rules he cultivated early on was to start his businesses before he was ready. A true visionary and pioneer, Sir Richard’s ideas were (and continue to be) all over the map. He started stuff just because he had a seed of an idea and often, not much more.
He did that just about every time he embarked on a new mission, whether he was creating space exploration, cell phones, airlines or record labels. His reasoning? You’ll learn everything you need to learn on the way there, and all you’ve got within you right now is enough.
Plus, the more you do research, the more reasons you’ll find not to do something. I find that to be truer than true.
Sir Richard’s thrill–seeking, multipassionate ways also keeps making me question whether the old adage is true, that chasing two rabbits will lead to catching none. After all, the person who came up with that saying wasn’t an eight–time billionaire, and I feel it’s very important to discover the truth behind things before we make it into our belief.
But before I go off in a tangent, let’s come back to the question of the day: let’s say you are wildly inspired by a new business idea or direction, but you’ve got absolutely no clients, no testimonials and no experience.
Let’s say this is your biggest dream in life, and you’ve got no choice but to act on it. Not acting is keeping you on edge, but acting on it just leads to major confusion and spinning around in circles.
GAH! Where would you start?! And to start before you are ready — it’s unimaginable!
Or is it?
Looking back on my entrepreneurial path, I’ve always started businesses before I was ready. I jumped into things long before I had any idea what I was doing, and you know what — I was supremely proud of my naïveté and made it work to my advantage.
As a small business dreamer, I bet you (probably) don’t have the financial backing that Sir Richard has — so let me show you how you can start from where you are, before you’re ready. Specifically, I’m going to focus on how you can create your own opportunities out of thin air.
I take my clients through two initial phases before I begin creating their websites. First, we dig deep to discover their soul’s mission in this lifetime. Then, we map this out on a practical, money–making entrepreneurial journey.
Below is just a teensy little snapshot of how I work with brand new entrepreneurs. I could spend a whole year just talking about creating sales opportunities for yourself — but this is just a little taste for what you can easily create today.
No clients, no experience, no testimonials? No problem.
By the time we’re done, I hope you’ll recognize at least one way you can get started before you’re ready.
The Big Idea
What exactly is your Big Idea? What’s your vision for the future? What does your soul long to do?
When you are first laying out your vision, take some time to fantasize about what kind of work you are doing, and how your work is able to improve others’ lives or contribute to your community or society.
Fantasize about what place your work will have in the world. What meaning does it contain for you, in your heart? What contributions will it make to society? How will it change the world? What good does it do? What do you represent or stand for? Be very specific in your imagination. Capture it on paper. Dream impossibly big. See your way to the future as far away as you can.
If you’re a big visionary like I am, you will become immensely excited by the potential of what your business could be and how glamorous life would look at that point.
Enjoy the moment, but hold your horses — there’s more steps to go!
Work it, baby
After you have a big vision in view, now it’s time to aim your sights on TODAY. As hard it feels to take your eye off of the magnificent dreamland of what 10 years later could be, carry yourself back into present moment and focus on the next 5 minutes of your time.
What is the smallest step you can take in the next 5 minutes? What can do you in the next 5 minutes right after that?
Maybe the steps are as small as booking a consultation with a specialist, or making a list of people you’d like to call. You could also schedule a block of time to write or do creative work, or arrange a babysitter to give yourself alone time.
When you look at your business as a series of 5 minutes, you’ll stay focused on getting things done in a nimble and peppy manner, instead of hanging a cloud of endless, unfinished responsibilities over your head.
Or, if you’ve got a habit of starting stuff but not finishing them — what is one thing you can finish in the next 5 minutes, and in the next 5 minutes after that?
Too often, entrepreneurs and visionaries will get to the implementation stage (the part where you actually take action) and they circle around back to fantasy land, which I’ve done all too many times.
Making our first move in the physical world is an intimidating, dreadful ordeal, especially if you care loads about the outcome. Pretty much every fear in your body boomerangs around like a crazy pinball machine, and you’re stuck between a beautiful dream and the possibility that it could all fail to pieces after making one move.
If you’ve ever cried a river after you’ve launched something into the Universe, you’ll know how much significance, weight and stress we place on the work we love.
And you cry and celebrate and honor yourself, and then you continue onward. Pretty soon, the fear will be gone and you’ll be addicted to that feeling of victory when you launch, and launch, and launch stuff again into the world.
Sometimes, as a visionary, I can become a bit sad, disconnected and displaced when I’ve been taking care of the itty bitty stuff for too long. In the beginning when you are the only person involved in building your business, you’ll need to be part visionary and also a bit of a baby step sergeant.
If this happens to you, you’ll want to take a moment to reconnect with your vision and allow that confident sense of purpose to fill up your heart again.
When we’re submerged in the nitty gritty, we need to come up for air as much as we need, and trace what we’re doing today forward to that grand vision years from now. It’s vitally important to stay deeply connected to why we’re knee deep in this challenge in the first place.
A $15 million story
As you may know, my dream in life is to build my version of fantasy on Earth, by developing luxury residences, hotels and interior art. My dream began about 10 years ago. Fresh out of university and already bored by life, I started fantasizing about how much fun it would be if this existed and that existed.
One daydream led to another, to another, to another. Within a few months, I had a solid vision to create a mixed–use luxury development, filled with a master plan community of single homes, high rise condos, retail spaces, a golf course, commercial buildings and a hotel.
I even created a rewards and credit program, a builder–financing mortgage program, as well as all the bathroom, lighting, kitchen and spa fixtures inside the homes. My plan also detailed several revenue channels where I would continue to ka–ching long after the homes were sold to the owners.
I was so proud of my idea, I took my baby on meetings and traveled by plane to talk to tons of people. I even called a consultant to learn how to become a better storyteller, in order to sell my vision to investors. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. In a way, I was being Sir Richard–y.
Not before long, I was offered US $15 million dollars to implement stage 1 of my luxury community.
Guess what…I couldn’t do it. I shut it all down.
Mainly, I attribute the reason to some people wanting half of my company. Not only did I not have the right people around me, I had no one I could trust and I was also too scared to find out what I didn’t know — alone.
After that drama trauma, rather than continuing to work those baby steps or find new people to co–create with, I circled all the way back to my big vision. I ended up secretly fantasizing about it for another 9 whole years. Mamma mia! I wish I had known then what I know now, but it’s never too late to start before you’re ready — again!
You’ve gotta hustle
Nothing in the world can replace a strong work ethic, persistence and some good ol’ hustling…as in, to proceed swiftly and energetically.
Hustle is crucial in the beginning when you have no experience, no clients nor testimonials. Remember what I said about naïveté and making it work to your advantage?
If you’ve got a big dream and have nothing on the outside to show for it, you’ve got to use everything you have on the inside and work it.
What you always have is your electric enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and a willingness to be wrong about stuff.
Don’t worry about appearing goofy. I get laughed in my face all the time for being unrealistic — and guess what, it’s okay! As a visionary, people are not supposed to see what you can see. It’s your gift. So get movin’ and create your butt off!
It doesn’t matter what your skill level is or whether you’re ready — there’s just no substitute for beautiful, purposeful creation and bold action.
Hustle also revs up a tremendous amount of creative and magnetic energy, drawing clients and projects to you. Imagine yourself as a hand–cranked engine. The more you crank, the faster the wheels spin and then off you go!
You’ve got more than you think you do
You say you don’t have any testimonials or experience, but is that really true? For most intuitives and creatives, by the time they’ve considered turning their work into a profession, they’ve likely been doing this work for free for a while — with clients disguised as friends, family members, colleagues or people in the community.
Think about some of those you’ve helped the most in terms of bringing joy, healing or substantive transformation in their lives. Would you be able to have those individuals speak to the way you’ve brought them what they needed? Would they vouch for you in writing, in a testimonial?
And, could they refer any friends and clients to you?
Just because they haven’t paid you for your work, it doesn’t mean that the work or experience didn’t count.
The Juicy Joint Venture
Another way to create business for yourself when you have no experience, no clients and no testimonials is to form strategic joint venture partnerships with others. If that sounds scary and complicated, it really isn’t.
Take a look around at your peers and note the people who are slightly ahead of where you are. See who is serving similar clientele. Take a look at their services and notice if there are any gaps in what they’re offering. Is there anything missing where you can appropriately come in and fill that gap?
The beauty of a joint venture is two people with distinctive skills coming together to create a new whole. For one partner, this would be the opportunity for her to generate new business with a new marketing angle. For you, you get to immediately tap into her audience and add value to what she’s already been doing. In the best of situations, it’s a win–win–win for all.
If you are able to see your own value, you’ll always be able to spot opportunities with immediacy. It’s part creative sales and problem solving, part opportunistic, part visionariness and part having audaciousness to propose it.
When you have no experience, no clients nor any testimonials, start from your own backyard — you’ll realize there’s so much you can do.
I hope I’ve help you recognize at least one way you can begin to blaze your own entrepreneurial trail.
Next time, I’m going to talk to you about cultivating the Midas touch — the ability to see your business for what it is, what it can be, and turning it into a profitable company.
Hi, I’m Ana Coeur
I teach entrepreneurs how to create their business straight from their soul. I offer a complete Intuitive Business Suite to help you create, design, write and sell all from your intuition. Here’s the services you can take advantage of to empower your business: Intuitive Web & Brand Design, Intuitive Copywriting and Intuitive Selling. If there’s anything I can help you with, I would love to hear about it! You may email me at anaintuitivepicture.com
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