Eating Elephants and the Cure For Entrepreneurial Paralysis

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Starting a business is thrilling.
Just taking that first step - finding your passion and making the decision to go for it...
it's a feeling that only someone who has been bitten by the entrepreneur bug can truly understand.
But after you've decided to start your business, you quickly realize how much work has to be done to get this baby off the ground.
Suddenly the thought of getting started is much more overwhelming than it is thrilling.
It's as if someone put an elephant in front of you and handed you a fork.
All of the individual steps that have to be taken between the conception of your idea and the day you start turning a profit can quickly turn your entrepreneurial enthusiasm into entrepreneurial paralysis.
But don't despair.
My job is to help you find your business brilliance and by the end of this article, you will have a powerful tool you can use to propel your brilliant idea towards a concrete and profitable reality.
There is a cure for entrepreneurial paralysis: Goal Setting.
I know, I know.
You are saying, "That's it? There isn't anything groundbreaking about that! I've heard that many times before, Jessica!" I know you have.
But have you really listened to that advice? Do you really know how to implement it? Chances are that if you are experiencing entrepreneurial paralysis, you don't.
So bear with me and keep reading.
The reason you continue to hear this advice is because it works.
But the only way it works is to really know what it is you are trying to accomplish.
As the old saying goes, "If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
" You need daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals in order to know what your path is from here to success.
In other words, starting a business is like eating an elephant: it can only be done one bite at a time.
So, the first bite...
er...
step in setting an attainable goal is to really think about what you want to accomplish.
And think in concrete terms.
Saying, "I want to have a profitable business" is not specific enough and won't have the ability to provide you with the roadmap you will need in order to reach that goal.
A better goal would be something like, "I want to set up my website and be able to take orders by March 30th.
" That is specific and enables you to know what you need to do to get there.
Once you have determined your goal, then grab a crisp new piece of paper and a pencil (or your laptop) and start mapping out the steps needed to reach that goal.
For example: Goal: Launch Website and Take Orders by March 30th
  1. Find Wordpress template
  2. Get bids from designers to customize template
  3. Write copy for main page of website
  4. Make list of first 10 blog posts
  5. Find autoresponder service and get set up to collect email addresses on blog/website
  6. Find shopping cart service in order to take orders
  7. Get merchant account (to take credit cards)
  8. Etc..
    ..
Get the picture? Once you have outlined all the steps you need to get from today to your goal, then open your calendar and begin to methodically break those steps down into specific and attainable daily goals.
Assign a date or "Goal Deadline" to each of your goals.
These steps are your bites towards eating the whole elephant.
Do your very best to estimate how much time you need to complete each step (elephants can be chewy so give yourself time) and work backwards from your Goal Deadline, calendaring those individual steps until you get back to today.
Now the important part is to actually put these dates on your calendar - the one you look at every day - and make sure to accomplish that goal just like any of your other daily tasks.
Just do it.
If you get sick or a child gets sick or something makes it impossible to complete your goal(s) for that day, just move it to the next day and keep marching forward one day at a time.
Each day that you accomplish your task, you'll be satisfied that you crossed something off your list, and you'll feel a sense of control knowing you only have to cross off one or two tasks a day in order to get to your goal by your deadline.
It's a huge stress reliever and it will prevent you from choking on your elephant.
Bonus: This is one step that almost every successful entrepreneur or business owner does regularly (not just at the start of their business but always): Find yourself a mentor, business coach, or business mastermind group to help you define those goals and to help determine the tasks you need to complete before reaching them.
A mentor or group like this will help hold you accountable, can share their own wisdom and experience, bring fresh perspective and energy to your venture and can prop you up when you feel overwhelmed or experience setbacks (which you will - all entrepreneurs face setbacks).
Any form of support like this is well worth the effort and/or investment if you're really serious about eating that elephant.
Lastly, try to continue to stay connected to the passion and excitement that got you on this path to begin with! Launching a business is exhilarating and terrifying.
It can help you grow as a person, and no matter what happens -- whether your business ultimately succeeds or doesn't make it -- you will have learned invaluable lessons about yourself, what you can endure, accomplish and how to actually launch a business.
Embrace the process and enjoy the meal! Bon appetit!! ©2010 Jessica Eaves Mathews International LLC, all rights reserved.
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