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Karyn Greenstreet on Starting a New Business
Karyn Greenstreet is an internationally known speaker, author and self-employment expert who has taught business and personal development topics to more than 250,000 people worldwide. She has significant experience in starting and running home-based and self-employed businesses since 1981. Greenstreet has owned her own successful businesses as a professional wedding and portrait photographer, owner of a recording studio, personal-growth instructor and currently owns Passion for Business, a company dedicated to helping self-employed people achieve business and personal success. Here, she offers advice for the first 30 days of starting a new business.
What emotions do new business owners experience?
During the first 30 days, a new business owner may feel as if he or she is on a roller coaster ride. There is a feeling of thrill, laced with a lot of worry. I frequently see new business owners who are so happy and proud of themselves for finally doing what they want to do. Pure joy is also a common emotion experienced by those who feel free and “living on purpose,” some for the first time in their lives. Additionally, they tend to feel a sense of responsibility to themselves, their families and to the success of their businesses. It’s important to note that responsibility and fear are not the same things at all. Responsibility can be a great motivator.
What are the typical fears that you observe in entrepreneurs during the first 30 days of starting their new businesses?
One of the biggest fears that people have relates to money. People are unsure if they’ll be able to make a living being self-employed or if they have enough money to successfully launch their businesses. Also, there’s a fear of letting go of a steady paycheck: They wonder if they’ll be able to pay their bills while they’re getting their businesses up and running. New business owners also find themselves feeling overwhelmed and are fearful that they won’t have the skill or time to do everything that they need to do. There seems to be a million tasks to take care of and a million roles to juggle.
There’s also a fear of not having enough business skills. Most new business owners know their trade, but don’t necessarily know how to run a business. They’re often fearful of the big learning curve they have to master.
How can new business owners overcome these fears?
New business owners can take comfort in the fact that starting a business is a known process and there are thousands of ways to get help. They don’t have to go it alone. It can be very beneficial and reassuring to reach out to other people who are self-employed, particularly those who are successful, to get advice. They can overcome fear or feeling stuck by getting the right support, advice and encouragement.
A mastermind group—a group of like-minded people who are all trying to achieve the same goal—is an excellent way for new entrepreneurs to get the support that they need. The participants all have a big dream, and they brainstorm together and support each other in reaching their potential. New business owners can also benefit from seeking help from the Service Corps of Retired Executives, seeking the assistance of a business coach or by joining their local Chamber of Commerce.
What are the most important things to do during the first 30 days of starting a new business?
The first thing to do is to create your business plan, because it will help decide whether or not going into business is even viable. The business plan will help you answer three important questions: What are you selling? Who are you selling it to? Can you make enough money? It really isn’t possible to make any other decisions until you get these three pieces of information.
New business owners need to have a business plan that they will use as they get their businesses going. It doesn’t have to be a huge document full of charts and graphs. It needs to be something that they can use to keep themselves focused and find clarity. During the planning phase, new business owners also need to speak with their family members about support, and give serious consideration to their financial situations and expectations.
Why are the first 30 days of starting a new business so important?
The careful completion of the business plan during the fist 30 days is going to give new entrepreneurs a very solid foundation for starting their businesses or for tweaking the idea so the business can be successful. This is the time to do the background research and then make the decision based on facts, not emotions.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
Even in the midst of rapid change, I remind myself that the core of who I am does not change. It is important to remember who you are, deep inside. I remind myself that I am still the same person and that my purpose in this life is to share valuable information that helps others.
The best thing about change is...
…it’s an opportunity to learn, to master things and to master yourself.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Becoming self-employed is the best change I’ve ever made. Pursuing self-employment has allowed me to fully express who I am, challenge myself to my full potential and succeed or fail on my own merit.