The 9 things no one tells you about starting a business

If you dream of starting your own business, there are plenty of resources. Coaches, books and websites detail specific steps you should take or rules you should follow. But to be successful, you have to break the rules. You must be unapologetic about who you are and dare to be different. Here’s my advice for anyone ready to do that.

  1. Realize there’s nothing special about successful people

It’s common to separate yourself from those who are successful. You think, “She’s confident,” or “He knows how to speak publicly. I’m not like that.” But you’re wrong.

Everyone feels that way. I still wake up with those fearful voices in my head; I just don’t listen to them anymore. Most people who meet me are often surprised by how shy I am. I’m an introvert, and it takes effort to put myself out there. If I can do it, so can you.

  1. Try the megaphone exercise

Many entrepreneurs struggle to get started because their message isn’t clear. You might think you don’t know what you’re meant to put out in the world — but you do.

The megaphone exercise helps you clarify your mission. Imagine you are standing on a balcony above thousands of people. You’re holding a megaphone and have one minute to tell them what life is about. What would you say? Whatever comes out in that minute is your message.

  1. Don’t wait for permission

Your inner voice may make you doubt your message with thoughts like “That idea isn’t big enough,” “No one will listen to me,” or “Someone else already does that.” But no one does or says it like you — so do it anyway.

Our whole lives, we’ve been taught to wait for permission or approval. The reality is you’re allowed to share your message with the world. You just have to give yourself permission.

No one is going to knock on your door and tell you they need you or your ideas. You need to start somewhere, even if you don’t feel ready. Let go of whatever is holding you back. Get out of your own way.

  1. Seize your responsibility

How do you start when you don’t feel ready? Realize that your message and calling is bigger than you. If you have something that can help people right now, you have a responsibility to take that message to the world.

You also have a responsibility to yourself. If you were your own employee, would you fire yourself? This is your job. Just like anyone else, if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid.

  1. Ignore strategy and identify your non-negotiables

To make it real, you need to act. What you don’t need is strategy. If you sit around planning, you’re unlikely to start. The path will become clear once you take the leap, and it won’t look like anything you could have planned.

Identify a small list of non-negotiables that will move the needle daily. Ask yourself what three to five things would change your life if you did them every day. Then do them.

Here are the four things on my list that I do every day before anything else: First, I connect with myself by journaling. Don’t start the day reacting to everyone else; set your internal compass by writing down your vision.

Next, I create content. Then it’s sales activity, even if it’s just a call to action at the end of a blog post. If you aren’t selling, you aren’t an entrepreneur. Last is fitness, which isn’t negotiable for anyone who wants to live an extraordinary life.