What’s holding you back from starting your own business?

When I decided to build my own business, she had none of the qualifications and background you’re “supposed” to have. What she did have was the conviction to quit my job of 16 years and leave behind an unhappy, toxic work environment in pursuit of a business and life I felt I deserved.

I worked in the Law Department of a government office where everyone was miserable and seemed to be there more for the security of the job. It wasn’t the most pleasant environment. For many years, I tried to embrace the fact I had a secure government job, but I was very unhappy. Eventually, I realised I couldn’t do it anymore. My life started closing in on me and I knew I wasn’t being true to myself.

For two years, when not at my daytime job, I was doggedly pursuing that desire to become a social-media expert and entrepreneur. I knew nothing about marketing or social media, and I had no equipment – not even a laptop. But I didn’t let that stop me. I started out by learning to create graphics on my mobile and borrowing my father’s laptop to watch tutorials and learn. I signed up for courses, shadowed experts while they worked, interned in my spare time.

I literally grew my business from a desire for something greater. Through my enthusiasm for what I knew, and my desire for people to succeed, the clients started to appear. And, within two years, I had taught myself the skills and acquired a client base that I needed. I was able to quit my job and work full-time on my business.

Feeling “out of your depth” can be a natural part of entrepreneurism and that lack of knowledge or know-how should never hold you back from starting your own business. If you yearn to become an entrepreneur starting your own business, but are not sure where to start, here are my tips:

  • Learn from everyone, everywhere​: All it takes to acquire knowledge is to ask for it. Follow experts around, volunteer your time, sign up to learn.
  • Be grateful:​ Appreciate all the situations in your life – even if they are not ideal. Gratitude is more powerful than resentment, and it better enables you to see what you have learned or gained from each experience.
  • Celebrate being out of your depth​: ​If you feel out of your depth you are on the creative edge; being comfortable means you’ve plateaued. B​e versatile, adaptable and committed.
  • Believe in yourself​: Don’t measure your knowledge or skills against anyone else. Do things your way, and you’ll achieve results your way.
  • Use social media effectively​: Social media adds to your business and is a great, free tool. However, it’s not always about the likes and followers! Start by getting the basic elements of social media down, know your platform and who you are talking to, the rest will follow. If you’re not sure where to start with content: listen to what you are talking about, the things you cannot stop talking about, and what people come to ask you about.

More importantly, understand that successful business owners are those who don’t stop learning, expanding and adapting. ​Business is not about having the answer, it’s about constantly asking questions.

Melanie Meade, business mentor and certified Joy of Business facilitator