She had come to the end of a big chunk of time and a lot of money spent and she wasn’t where she had expected to be. In retrospect, she had gone into the project not knowing what needed to be done. She had been overwhelmed and because of her inexperience in developing an online business, she didn’t have a clear overview and she had not chosen wisely. She had not even followed her heart. So what do you do when you don’t know what you need?
Explore and collect
As with everything else in life, the more self-aware you are, the more on-target your choices will be. The first step is to not quit your day job until you know what it’ll take to sustain you and how to make that happen. My friend’s problem was that she had been in a huge corporate job with ten-hour days and didn’t have the time or energy to explore new possibilities.
But you have to figure out what combination fits you. You have to know how skilled or unskilled you are in certain areas. You have to know what you love to do and what you’d rather not even learn to do.
You look at what other people are doing in a similar venue, decide what resonates and what does not align with who you are and then you make your list. Prioritize what you need first. And they explore one piece at a time.
Allow your direction to evolve
Look at a choice as an exploration. Wander down the path of that choice and see where it takes you and how that feels. If it doesn’t fit, make another choice, try another path. Build on what you learn.
Identify your weaknesses
Early in my entrepreneurial career, I took a marketing class. The advice was great but marketing was and is not my skill set. A wise choice would be for me to consider a partner in my endeavor, one with the skills I am lacking. Or even to hire someone to coach me through my reluctance. The bottom line is that the skill and willingness to market is not there for me. I’m an introvert. It has always been a hole in whatever I try to do.
Go with your strengths
What have you been doing well all of your life? How does that fit into your business? I’ve been a communicator in many forms throughout my life, so I build on that. The rest I have to learn or hire out.
Learn by doing
It seems like I’ve been immersed in technical stuff forever. I had to learn Rainmaker , I switched from PC to Mac and had to learn GarageBand and KeyNote. Then I got Scrivener and loved it, even though there was a big learning curve for me.
When I was setting up my site in Rainmaker, I often cried with frustration — not at having to learn a wonderful new platform that was going to make a huge difference in my life, but because I felt overwhelmed by all the digging in I had to do to learn a new, better system. I wanted the final result so much that I just dried my tears and went at it again.
An entrepreneur is responsible for it all
If you’re an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to learn. You have to be willing to fail and thereby to learn what does not work. You’re going to have to learn enough about every facet of an entrepreneurial business that you can know when the person you hired is working effectively.
Explore before you dive in
Start simply. Master one thing at a time. Perhaps you start with a blog, a WordPress site and an email provider. Use that platform to try out your idea, to measure the response, to shape your own method.
Failure is a gift
When something doesn’t work, that’s a gift. When you do it poorly, you have received the gift of at least going through the process and you know that next time will be easier. You know what you like. You know what you don’t like. You increase your strengths and you make adjustments to allow room for your weaknesses.
What do you do when you don’t know what you need? Go exploring. Go adventuring. Try on some ideas. Learn some techniques and give yourself time for it to all flow together into the gift you, and only you, can give to the world.
To Sing a Deeper Song Consider:
The Move From Inner to Outer Work
What Do You Do When You Feel Stuck?
What Makes You Valuable?
The Responsibility of an Artist
How Do You Define Success?