How To Go From Can’t to Can in 9 Steps: Starting your own business


“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, & liking how you do it”

Maya Angelou


Making changes in your life can be daunting. Moving here from the UK was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. But it shook me and my husband out of the (happy) rut we had made for ourselves.

Maybe it was the sunshine or the “go for it” attitude of the Aussies, maybe it was breaking my foot and as a result, starting my blog.

Whatever it was, I wanted to get back to work and do something I loved.

Once I’d made the decision, I hit the wall immediately.

Plagued with self-doubt, the voices started:

– I’ve been out of the work place too long

– I can’t do anything

– Who will employ me?

You know what I’m talking about don’t you? We all hear those voices from time to time.

Add to the that the need for flexible working hours and I realised self-employment was the best option.

But what sort of business?

Fortunately, social media has opened up opportunities to talk, meet and work with people you might not otherwise engage with. I am so grateful for the tonnes of advice I received.

So here are my 9 steps to going from Can’t to Can.

1. Write a list of the things you are good at

2. Identify what you enjoy doing

3. Look at List 1 and List 2 – are there any obvious overlaps? Brainstorm. It may not be obvious at first.

4. Find a Mentor. People are flattered to be approached and will willingly give of their time, sometimes at no cost to you. Pick people in the industry you would like to work in. Or people you admire that have set up successful businesses on their own. (Big thanks to my mentor Kelly and my coach Rose Wintergreen).

Follow people on twitter that you like or admire. Engage with them. Ask the twittersphere for ideas. I did this one afternoon. Job suggestions came thick and fast, including my favourite – stand up comedienne!

Follow industry types, journals, magazines. Anyone and everyone from your field of interest. You’ll be amazed at the connections you make and the things you will learn from them.

6. Read other people’s business stories. Valerie Khoo‘s Power Stories is a great, easy read, with lots of invaluable advice. Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Start Up, and Trevor Young’s Microdominationare also fantastic resources.

7. Talk to people. Harness the power of your local community. Let everyone know you are looking for work. My first client came via word of mouth from a friend. 90% of my work has come from referrals.

8. Get on linkedin. I know several people who are working in jobs that have come this way. It’s another fantastic way of making business connections, although I would stick to connecting people you know already, rather than just anyone!

9. Self-belief. Sounds trite, but this is the one is fundamental. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who else is going to? Focus on the successes (getting a meeting with a potential client for example) and use any set-backs (not getting the job) as an opportunity to make a better impression next time.

It’s early days for me.  3 months in to my new marketing and communications business, I now have a small, varied portfolio of clients with more in the pipeline. I have flexible working hours, love what I do and still have time for family and my writing.

Are you are wondering why I stopped at 9 steps?

Because I’m still learning!

Do you have any suggestions for other steps for motivating someone into starting up a business of their own? I’d love to hear them!

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