Once the excitement of starting a business starts to wear you out you will start questioning your decision and possibly enter a semi confused state and self doubt.
This is absolutely common and don’t fight it. If anything this phase will help you in crystalizing your thoughts and make the whole process become real.
So how do you get through this phase? By proactively preparing and testing your ideas. Easier said than done. I know.
Ideas are great but you need to implement them to be successful. Since we are focused on online businesses you need to establish a clear path for execution.
As with anything in life, say losing weight, getting better at your golf swing, hitting the gym to bulk up, learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new language etc you need to show up, be proactive and practice. These are the basic ingredients to succeed.
Don’t make the mistake of comparing yourself to someone else that’s able to accomplish the same much faster than you.
You see, everything in life is relative. You are here to craft your own destiny. So stay the course and start showing up!
Since preparation is absolutely essential and your gut will only take you so far you need to start learning about the various aspects of starting and running a business. Jumping into ventures without having a comprehensive overview is a non-starter. So how do you do this?
What I have learned during my journey is to do two things regularly and do it without fail. It’s easy to find reasons and say you are too busy to invest time in learning but that would pretty much mean you are setting yourself up for failure from day one.
So what are the two things that will give you confidence during the Can I do it phase?
READ- I cannot emphasize enough on this. Content has been democratized. There is so much useful and actionable content available out there. Pour through the content from Industry leaders like Hubspot, Neilpatel, WiX (We are partners), Square ( We are partners), Indie Hackers, Entrepreneur.com, Inc, and Forbes, to name a few.
Newsletters: In addition subscribe to newsletters like Hustle, Morning Brew, Inside, and Startups.com. They have content that takes 10 minutes or less to go over and provide insightful high-level overview of industry trends.
Review Small Business Portals for advise:
LISTEN: Entrepreneurship is hard. There you have it. I said it. You need inspiration from peers in the industry that have gone through what you are and the best way to do this is to listen to and get schooled by the best.
Fortunately you don't need to spend 6 figures to earn an MBA. At the risk of sounding biased I would admit Podcasts/Youtube are great resources.
If you want to get inspired and learn from the best I would check out Mixergy, Sidehustle, Indiehackers, Leveling up, Seth Godin’s startup school, Hustle sold separately, Masters of scale, Tim Ferris, Noah Kagan and many more.
Decide if you want a side hustle or a full time venture
Super important. This part of your soul searching will help you in narrowing down your options. This will also help you in your business planning activities and the amount of risk you can digest.
My two cents for folks just starting out is to crawl before you walk.
Based on where you are in your career, look for profound reasons you want to start a business.
Here are a few of the questions you may want to ask yourself
Is my urge to start an online business purely money motivated?
Is it driven by a personal passion?
Have you built considerable expertise and are ready to monetize on the expertise you have built?
Have you found joy in a task that you don’t usually find in your regular job?
If your answers are not related to any of these aspects you need to conduct a deeper search via Google.
Research Google Trends
Search Google and conduct high level research on ongoing trends, potential to scale within those trends, finding gaps in the available products or services, mapping out ecosystems that are ripe for harvesting (social media, Redditt, VC blogs, etc)
As an example, let's say you are interested in starting a marketplace for say tutors. If you visit Andreessen Horowitz website at https://a16z.com which happens to be one of the top VC firms they have a research piece on Marketplaces. (https://a16z.com/marketplace-100/). Some of the stats that they produce are amazing and eye opening.
So keep an open mind and take your time...as Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
Boil it down to a service or product and keep iterating. This phase can be completed and you can hit the ground running in 2-3 months max. Don’t spend any more time than that since a lot of what you think will happen will not. So the best thing to do here is to do enough research, pick your product or service and hit the ground running.