Thoughts on startup marketing, software, and technology

The Art of the Side Hustle: Getting Started

Published December 16, 2016 - 0 Comments
getting started

Getting Started is The Hardest Step

Getting started seems like it should be the easiest step in starting your new side business. How hard can it be to start putting real work into your exciting new venture?

It turns out that getting started is often the hardest step (while also being the most important).

In past years I have had exiting ideas and even some that were truly amazing, only to do nothing with them. Why? Does that make sense for someone thirsty to be his own boss?

We have all done this…

  • The great idea for a novel we keep in our own mind.
  • The game-changing app that never gets a single line of code.
  • The unique business you dream about starting, but never build.

There are common barriers we put in our own way. Let’s discuss these and explore ways to recognize these cancers and root them out.

Roadblocks of Our Own Design

There are a variety of fears associated with starting a new business venture. We may not realize this consciously, but the fear is real and it can kill our dreams and spirit. Human psychology informs us that a prime motivator is to fit in with the crowd. Unfortunately conformity is not medicine for the entrepreneur — it is poison. While driving down a unique path is not natural for us, we have to be willing to be different to achieve our destiny.

Fear of Failure

What if I fail? What if I waste my time? What if I waste money? Here is an important thing to remember. There truly is no failure. Even if your startup missteps in every way imaginable — you will likely still gain:

  • Knowledge about business
  • Added professional contacts
  • Enhanced technical abilities

If you frame your thinking this way, I find it helps alleviate the fears of failure. Remember that those who jest others are often people who never took their own risks.

The Seduction of the Perfect Start

You can easily get lost in the seduction of a perfect launch. The perfect name, logo, website, and everything right off the bat.

“Then my company will be a success.”

Not not really…

Don’t place excessive value in these factors. The prime value is how captivating your offering is to the market. Naming a business can be an art and certainly finding a domain name is a struggle today. But a name does not make a business.

Do you think Google dominated because of their name? They could have been named any number of different things and achieved as much. They are a success due to their innovation and diligent efforts.

Just settle on a name you can live with for now. You can rename and adjust your branding later.

The same goes for having a great website. As long as your website conveys the story and reason for being. Tell what you do and why people should care. The site does not need to win awards.

At TribeBoost we still are using the same simple, plain, and kind of ugly site built quickly in our early days. Business has been too busy to focus on revamping it and the plainness of the site has not slowed us down.

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Pick a name that works well enough with a .com domain that is available. It does not need to be perfect or sexy or groundbreaking. A method I like is taking two descriptive words about what you do and combining them. These combinations are often available as domains. Tribe + Boost = and Thought + Flame =
  2. Use someone like 48 Hours Logo for an inexpensive and quick logo. Go cheap at first and redo later if the business turns out to be something worthwhile.
  3. Use WordPress to build a quick and simple website. You can get nice and cheap WordPress themes from Elegant Themes and others. If WordPress is not for you, consider Squarespace.

With that out of the way, you can now get to building your business.

Fear of competitors

This is something I see new entrepreneurs overly scared about. You think that your idea has to be so special to be a success. You tell yourself:

“Nobody in the world can be doing this already or I have to find another idea instead.”

This is often wrong. Competition is an indicator you are doing something people care about and that is a good thing. If nobody is doing it there may not be much demand. An exception is something so ahead of the curve nobody has thought to do it yet.

Don’t let competition scare you off. As Seth Godin detailed in his book Purple Cow, success can be achieved by simply being remarkable.

And being remarkable is totally within your control.

It does not matter what your competitors do if you are truly remarkable. It does not matter if you do things with flair and go beyond with care to be great.

But you will never get to be remarkable if you do not get started.

A Different Path

I remember years ago telling my family I planned to give up my old career to go into technology.

Tech jobs back then were not the norm. My family thought poorly of the idea and only one person supported me in my decision (my future wife).

It is hard making such changes in our life with opposition from loved ones and friends. Remember that this friction is normal because you are going against the grain.

Starting a business to many sounds crazy and they believe a job is safer.

Realize that most people are average. Do you want to be average?  If not, then you must be willing to listen to your own mind, follow your own path and not be like everyone else.

Get Started Today

Getting started is strangely the hardest step for many of us, but without the start there is nothingness.

Ideas are easy, but action is hard. While only an idea inside our mind, we can feel good about our amazing idea. But it is the building on that idea that is the difficult, challenging, and rewarding part.

Outside of H.G. Wells, time is never going backwards. While you cannot go back in time and get started when you should have — you can start today.


* Here are the other articles in this series — The Art of the Side Hustle