Today’s article is about starting a business and what my premature born, 3 pound son taught me.
My son Christopher was born three months premature and weighted only 3.1 ounces. He had to fight for his life. My wife and I had been out to dinner and a movie that night, when suddenly about 3:00 am my wife woke up and had a severe abruption. Chris was coming into this world, we weren’t ready and neither was he.
Neither of us panicked, we jumped into our sports car and sped 12 miles to the Charlotte hospital, as fast as I Could, exceeding every speed limit, only slowing for stop signs then flying through them. I was in controlled panic (controlled panic: a good metaphor for starting my own business years later). It’s ironic but three weeks before this I spent a weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway learning how to performance drive my brand new Porsche convertible. I never thought I would ever need those skills…but life always throw us curves.
Well Lynne and I and our, ready or not arriving into the world now son got to the hospital in record time. They put Lynne on a stretcher, quickly checked her out and saw she was delivering Chris…. right now!
Chris arrived premature, three pounds one ounce, struggling for life and air, but still alive. The nurses and doctor cleaned, wired and tubed him up and immediately put him into a waiting warm incubator and took him to the “Preemie Room.” We never even had the customary chance to hold him. For the next 3 months Chris remained in the incubator on life support. We came every day, spent time with him and touched him through the incubator as he put on weight. As he added weight and got stronger we were allowed to take him out of his incubator. We held him and rocked him in the rocking chair in the room, experiencing him get strong and grow bigger.
Finally, after three months Chris grew from 3. 1 pounds to 5.1 pounds. When he broke the 5-pound mark we were finally able to bring him home. Chris is now healthy, over 6-foot-tall and a great son, who is thriving.
About 15 years after that night I abruptly left the corporate world. The analogy to Lynne’s abruption and my Corporate abrupt departure has not alluded me. In my case, like Chris, I was ready to launch a new life and I decided to bust out now, not later. Like Chris I decided now was my time to really come to life. I felt dead in a Corporate world, that no longer nourished me and no longer was big enough to hold me back. So without a plan and without ever looking back I left the security of the corporate womb, where I spent my life till then and launched a new life and my own business.
The womb was Chris’s incubator and Chris’s support system. And the Corporate world of 20 years was my Womb and Support center. A support center that could no longer hold me, just as Chris’s could no longer hold him. With a quick abruption we were both set free.
I now believe that a support system and an incubator is what every entrepreneur needs when he decides to live fully and leave the comfortable, but small womb he or she is in. If you are going to become all you can be and bring your new business, your child into this world, you need to do it abruptly. If not you will get comfortable, lazy and never be fully alive and born.
But when you come out you are going to have to create a new support system. You cannot successfully build a successful business, or life for that matter, by yourself. So I always help those I mentor build a support system to nurture them and their business.
So how do you build a support system, an incubator or nourishing group? Well, some large colleges have business incubators, but that is not available to most new entrepreneurs. And frankly when you are launching your own business, you need to be on your own, but have a support network, to help you navigate your new world.
You need to be the one in front, thinking on your own. But, and this is a very big BUT, you do need a support network. You need an incubator group. Or like I have you need a Mastermind group. You need experienced people to provide all the things you by yourself cannot afford to pay for, or do on your own yet.
When Chris abruptly arrived Lynne and I were not ready. In his delicate, live or not live stage he needed a team. He needed people with experience, with resources, knowledge, been there done it people. He needed professionals. He needed people who could see the big picture. Lynne and I were too emotionally involved to make good decisions. The doctors and nurses, his support system, were focusing on the solutions. The ways to get him healthy and on his own. As parents Lynne and I were emotional and worried and focusing on the problem, not the solution as his professional network was.
If you have a few hundred thousand to start your business…congratulations! But, what can you do to get the support you need, the resources you need, if you have only a little cash to start your own business? How can you get free or low-cost resources today? When I launched my first business 15 years ago I had to self-fund. There were hardly any internet companies that provide free or low cost support like there are today. Today is the best time ever to create a new business. There are resources and networks to help you launch your own business today.
While today I now spend my time coaching and mentoring I still start businesses. The business’ I launch now however are non-profits. One is Green Pets America Charities and the other is Meals Fur Pet Whole Foods Market Store. Since they are non-profits capital is limited. So for the support we need I use the following free to low-cost service supporters: We use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to spread our marketing message. I use Squirrly free edition for my SEO for my blog site. My last three logos I did with Fiverr. I got great original logo designs for only $25.00 each. I use Fiverr for other outsourcing, marketing or creative needs as well. I use WordPress.org which is free, but with that version I do have to pay for hosting. I chose Blue Host, a bit pricey, but it is worth it. If you are starting out, or are very small you can self-host with WordPress.com however.
I am also an author and I use low-cost services to publish my books on Amazon with Create Space, an Amazon Company.
Also, I belonged to toastmaster for a few years. I did that to practice my public speaking.
And I launched a Mastermind Group to brainstorm with other entrepreneurs. We feed off of each other’s thought and ideas. If you are not familiar with Mastermind then buy the classic book, Think & Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. Think & Grow Rich is about how the richest people in the beginning of the Industrial Age made their fortunes. Hint they built networks of like-minded entrepreneurs and shared openly their expertise. Today everyone wants to do it alone…what a sad mistake.
So to recap:
- In starting and running your own business you need a support system, an incubator if you will, when you decide to live fully and leave the comfortable, but small womb you are presently in. If you are going to become all you can be and bring your new business into this world you need to be your own boss.
- You need an experienced Mentor. You cannot build a successful business, or life for that matter, by yourself. Seek out a mentor, or coach.
- Join a Mastermind Group. If there is none around you start one yourself. Read Think & Grow Rich and learn how to create a group.
- Don’t spend money like a drunken sailor when you start your business. Get free to low-cost resources. Use ones like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to spread your marketing message. Try the Squirrly free edition for SEO. Try Fiverr for many outsource needs. Use WordPress.com which is free or WordPress .com which requires a hosting company.
- I am also an author and publisher. I use the Amazon and Create Space to publish my own books and those of a select groups of clients. I feel self-publishing is the best and least expensive way to go today. And publishing a book is a great way to market yourself and your new company.
- Join a local Toastmasters group to learn how to speak in public. If you cannot speak comfortably at business meetings, network groups, events or seminars you will never reach your potential in business. Toastmasters will teach you to overcome your fear of public speaking.
- Finally, lose your ego. Use your brains AND your heart. Help others as you help yourself. Build others up as you build your business up. I believe that in Life and in Business we are all in this together. Your life and your business is not a trivial thing. Fight for it daily.
“We will all succeed together, or we will all fail separately”
If you have questions on starting a business, getting outsourced support, creating a Mastermind Group, joining a Toastmaster Group, or Publishing your first book, drop me a note.
All the best, Steve Monahan
StevenMonahan.com – GreenPetsAmerica.org