When I was starting out, I was convinced I was the only person doing what I was doing. No one had my targets. No one had my ideas. No one had my vision for where I was going. And I was committed to figuring things out on my own…
But a simple search on google or browse through Facebook or flick through the news revealed that thousands of other people were just starting businesses, and thousands more had done so in the past. Who knew!?
This small realization was a huge (if obvious) relief, and thankfully, it came quickly. It meant that instead of trying to come up with a better wheel, I could follow tried and proven steps that other people had tested before me.
So I started talking to and asking questions of anybody and everybody I met who had started a business. It didn’t mean I blindly accepted everything they said – things change and people don’t always keep up to date – but it did mean that I could tap into their experience for lessons I could apply to my own.
And it was amazing how generous people were with their time and expertise. I may have gotten lucky with the people I encountered, but I am a firm believer that you get what you put out into the world. If you are willing to share and be open then other people will be the same. Sure, I couldn’t offer expertise back then, but I could offer a testimonial or a connection with someone in my network, or simply offer the satisfaction that comes from helping someone. (I know from my own experience that it feels good to help other people, and most human beings want to be helpful if given the chance.)
Now, I totally understand that finding and meeting people might not be something you can fit into your schedule (or want to do!), but you can download expertise and experience in other ways. There are tons of books, magazines, podcasts, forums and Facebook groups. You can sign up for e-courses, do online networking, book a call with a mentor or coach. You can learn a lot without leaving the house (but I would recommend at some point getting out into the real world!).
You can tap into the knowledge that is out there before you try to come up with a better wheel. Your sanity and your business will thank you if you do.