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Starting with yourself
(how and where do I start?)

Written by: Tom Zonneveld

Learning from yourself, smart, you have to live with it and from it. Taking a moment for yourself to reflect is essential. Getting to know and reinvent yourself as well. Or is only understanding your current and desired situation sufficient? In this article, I will describe in 5 bullet points how you can stay true to yourself to make a start that suits your personality. Long story short: get to know yourself well enough by moving ahead and reflecting on your journey.

1. Understand why you want to do business.
Entrepreneurship. For many, it is more than just making money; it is sometimes romanticized itself as a way of life. Starting a business certainly must also have a purpose and added value. Entrepreneurship simply means that you will earn money by selling your knowledge and skills. Therefore, find meaningful reasons that motivate you and remind you daily of why you set the goal, why you chose this way of life. Because you want to decide what time to start, or with whom and what you want to work on. Check the “Business Model You” before you start with a “Business Model Canvas”.

2. Believe in what you do (it will work out in the end).
Fun always shows your best side. It is the best motivation and the best impression you can give. People like to do business with people who know what they stand for, what they look up to, and what they can identify with. I had lost my pleasure in doing what I do for a while. My product was always “not finished” (perfectionism is a killer of joy). This led to me forgetting that I have a load of knowledge about my future product. I could have gotten (renewed) energy and money from just sharing my experience with other people. So, in the end, you don’t really need a product or website for this… it also saves a lot of money when you’re on a journey of (self) discovery. Take it easy. Don’t change yourself.

3. Teach yourself as much as possible (and know what you outsource).
Entrepreneurs are often just like a centipede. They know everything about their own field, from the market to the target group, and about the technology or expertise they have to outsource. But don’t teach yourself too much, you should be able to sell a minimum viable product. Not endlessly specifying and optimizing.

Choose the role that suits you. Three simple positions that can be distinguished at the start are the creative, the technician, and the seller. Which one are you? You can try out all roles, of course, but choosing your focus is wise. Teach yourself as much as possible within that role. Delegating is good, but make sure you speak the language of what you outsource. This also saves you euros in the end. It can be quite simple to get started: for example, delve into every customer you have, and not only to achieve the desired result for him or her, but also for yourself. This way, you continue to learn, both about disciplines and about people and motivations.

4. Focus on small successes (and positive things).
Am I saying that? Yes, especially to myself. Entrepreneurship takes time, a lot of time. Investing is definitely and always needed, especially at the beginning, but you, more or less, still have to keep freeing up space to celebrate something. If only it’s just your weekend. For a long time, I felt that I had not earned a weekend. And it still happens regularly. But you know what? There is always a problem, opportunity, or possibility. Which of these is coming next Monday? All three will probably return. So, bring them on. I know why I do it, and that gives me something to focus on.

So, join that wave of energy. Are your wrong focus or bad habits reinforced by others’ influences or from the daily grind that adds nothing to the quality of your life? Then stop it. It should be as simple as it sounds; it will not help you, cut it out of your life, but remain calm and kind and clear to yourself and others. Something I still have to keep telling myself every day. Because although there is no problem, we always see an opportunity or possibility. That’s how we are. Embrace it.

5. Mentally prepare for failure (it is never fun, but it is going to happen).
You will never feel like you’re up for failing today, and you’re never really ready for it. But you can be prepared for it. How? By reflecting on failure. Don’t hide, ignore, or neglect it, or just keep going. Reflecting helps you to identify the causes that precede it, to learn from it. By doing this, you can recognize a connection between situations that lead to failure, which will help you make adjustments the next time you bump into this situation. Failure is part of doing business, it forms your personality and company. Let it be. Let it come. Keep it moving.

PS: I wrote this from my own experience. An experience full of mistakes, failures, trial, and error that has made me who I am today. Can you identify with any of this? I would like to hear if you have any additions or suggestions!

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