You may come here to seek the golden ticket. Guess what – there is none.
Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk really did not achieve their level of success overnight. But hey, those people aren’t too relatable aren’t they? They are waaaay out of our league. But let me tell you what every entrepreneur has to struggle with – time. Time is ticking and it waits for no one, I always say. So what are you waiting for?
One of my most asked questions up to date is “How do you start a business?” and there are tons of way to go about it. With this blog post, I can’t promise that you will 100% know how to start a brand but hopefully give you an idea how to. That’s it – an idea. Before you start, at least have that.
Ok let’s start.
First off, the technical stuff. This might as well be your first five steps and let’s get that out of the way. Yikes. Grab a piece of paper and write down W, W, W, W, H. These are the key alphabets is all that you do. And mind you, I have this with me all the time (sometimes when I make life decisions too. The more you question yourself more, the more frank you are with yourself, the better! And don’t worry, do it alone in your room or at a coffee shop during your me-time. No one’s there to judge you.
1. Know your What, When, Where, Why and How.
WHAT – What are you going to sell? A product or a service?
WHEN – When are you going to start? Okay, that does not have to be answered accurately because before starting a business, you have to decide on a lot of things. But ideally, when would you like to start?
WHERE – where are you going to sell your items? Which platforms will you use? If you start a website, it takes capital and how are you going to accept payments? Payment gateway?
WHY – Why are you doing it ultimately? Because you see that the industry is earning money? Because you see your friend A, B, C are doing it? Because you want to quit your full time job?
And ultimately, HOW – How are you going to go about doing it? How are you going to manage your time? How are you going to count stocks? Here, we are talking about systems. These 5 aspects of the business will probably take more than a day of thinking and if you’re really serious, you’d have a very detailed plan. And then you’re ready for the next step.
2. Talk to your friends about it.
Yes, talk to them about it, your hopes and your ideas. Are you scared of judgements? Then you need new friends, girl. If you want to start a business, one of my advices is to talk to the people closest to you. Who knows, you might even realize a thing or two about the people around you. Some feedbacks you might not even like. They can be right or they can be wrong. Listen to your gut. My experience with this is that I’ve come across a few friends who are just very supportive of my decisions, who’d introduce me to friends they think will benefit me. Anyone doing the same thing you want to do? Talk to them about it! Ask them about their struggles and what they’d do differently if they can rewind time. Talk. Connect. Ask. Be very thick-faced about it. Some friends, on the other hand, are not very happy with your success and they will voice out to you their self-limiting beliefs which in turn can make you feel insecure about yourself. It will say more about them. Ask your friends for references. You can see through their intentions most of the time. People who aren’t really supportive of you will really show their true colors. Just keep going on and stay on your lane! You’ll do good. You’ll be fine.
3. Realize when and how you are the most inspired.
This is really important because I feel that what keeps me going is realizing what inspires me on a daily basis. If you ever want to know where I find inspiration, I watch movies, I read, I go on Youtube, I stalk Instagram accounts who are artists, creators, interior designers (usually no human personality because I often never fangirl over anyone), poets and photographers. I unfollow people a lot, especially those who do not inspire me, whose content I do not like. Know yourself and know when you are the most inspired. For me, it’s in the middle of the night like right now. It is 1am and I really have to be up early tomorrow but I’m writing this as we speak because… I know I’ll be busy tomorrow morning til night. Surround yourself with what inspires you. Don’t lose hope. Don’t think your art is too this or too that. Trust me, people will like it. You need to like it first.
4. Ask yourself the hard questions.
One thing I found the hardest is answering questions that are at the back of my head, yet I just push them back every time I find a need to answer them or when I’m at a crossroad. But write down how you are as a person and know that not everything will go your way. Ask yourself whether you are willing to sacrifice hangouts with your friends because you have to leave early to pack orders or finish a task. Ask yourself if you’re okay to be disrupted during your traveling times because you have to complete a job or handle customer service during crucial times. Ask yourself if you can say NO to many events that take up your time but are not adding value into your business. Ask yourself if you’re willing to go out less because going out is expensive and you need to save money for rainy days. Ask yourself if you’re okay if balancing a 9-5 job and coming home to do extra work. Ask yourself if you’re okay with feeling FOMO. Ask yourself, ultimately, if you’re doing this because you love it or if you’re doing this to prove to your family/friends you can do it. This last question was the hardest for me to answer because I feel like people mix them up. If you are doing something you love, it really shows and differentiates yourself from the rest. Proving your capability to your friends and family members is another thing because at this time of age, people just crave for validation because we are just so damn entitled aren’t we? The saddest part is when one might just want to start a business because he/she just wants to earn instant money. That’s okay, but the downsides are… their product is just mediocre because 1. They don’t really love what they do. 2. They know probably only basic knowledge of what they’re selling. 3. They are not focussed in providing the best. 4. They might not even want to buy their own products! So ask yourself these hard questions. If your answers are just “meh, yeah I can live with that”, then don’t. You really don’t sound serious enough about it. It has got to be a HELL YEAH I AM SO READY FOR ALL THAT.
5. Just start.
Simple. Just start. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail? Yeah so what? You live and you learn. That’s why don’t be stupid in investing too much money in your business from the start. Start slow and start small. Try selling to your friends first (I know this is hard because… I read somewhere, the hardest people to sell to are actually your friends). Oh my, and don’t even get started with those who are always asking for discounts because they think they deserve it. Reality check – you don’t. But yes, just start. The worst that can happen is you fail. But guess what? People fail every day and what do you do? You get back up and start again. Here’s also where I tell you about a famous entrepreneur XYZ who applied for a job in KFC and got rejected – who was it? Jack Ma? But point is, they try and try again. You know, I actually had a pin business before I had NIKO and BY/DJO. That didn’t work out and that was 15mio off the drain but I’m so glad I started it because I had a newfound respect for artists trying to make it big. You live and you learn. Just treat each milestone as a lesson and never be too selfish to share 🙂
Listen to me, or not. These are the steps I took before really pushing through all that I needed to before quitting my full-time job. People think I had it easy but I really had to go through hurdles convincing my parents I could do it. At least everyday now I wake up knowing I need to work because I have mouths to feed and that people actually like my products. I did it all in a span of a year and currently have 3 brands under my name. I can fund my travels and more. Now, doesn’t that sound nice?
Hope this helps!