Despite some advertisements and prominent headlines, you do not have to be drowning in profits to be a success in business. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for profit. Make money, yes. But Indie Business owners achieve success in part because they don't buy into the lie that unless you are a millionaire several times over, your efforts and your business are not significant.
These days, business is for everyone. I call it "the democratization of business," and every family should be Indie, somehow creating or aspiring to create wealth on their own terms, either on a part- or full-time basis. (I cover this topic in some detail in The Entrepreneurial Imperative).
There was a time when "small business" necessarily meant bank loans, investors and at least a few employees. Those days are gone. Consider Warren Brown, who started CakeLove out of his passion for baking cakes after long days working as a regulatory attorney in Washington, DC. (That's Erik, one of Warren's pastry chefs in the photo.) Warren had little money, and even less after he opened a store and an employee squandered much of the profits. To be successful, Warren had to take orders for cakes, deliver cakes, collect money for cakes — and then go back and bake some more cakes.
Warren's father eventually contributed a small loan, and that's the point. Family members help other family members achive their dreams. Today, Warren has two stores, a cafe, a soon-to-be published cookbook, cake baking classes and hosts the Chocolate Cuisine Cruise and a Food Network show called "Sugar Rush." A third store will open later this summer.
And the best part is that if you have a passion, you too can do what Warren did! If there are things holding you back, read on for some tips that might help you cope.
Today, the tools of business are more available than ever, and accessing them takes an Internet connection and a computer. Website domains for less than $10 a year, online options that process payment in seconds for a small percentage of the gross, blogs, online newsletters, digital photography, inexpensive logo creation firms, local copy shops providing small business services — the list goes on. Today, it's business for "the rest of us," and no one needs to be left out so long as they can buy or borrow an Internet connection and a few hours a week to create something from nothing.
But if business is for everyone, and the economy cries out to each of us to have a business of our own, why is it that so many people are still left on the sidelines wondering how on earth they can join in on the fun? I think that every person who wants to be Indie, but is not, can trace the reason back to one thing — fear.
Here are some tips to avoid being incarcerated by your fear.
- Fear Of Failure. Whether it's baking a cake, learning how to play the piano or starting a new business, no one wants to fail. But those who pursue their dreams even though failure is a possibility move forward because they look at it as a chance to do things differently and better the next time around. Don't dwell on failure. Instead, welcome it as a chance to learn how to improve and start fresh, keeping what works and replacing what doesn't with new strategies and ideas.
- Fear Of Rejection. Many would-be Indies express fear that people will reject them and/or their products. I say don't waste your time on people who reject you. Thank them for freeing you to move onto the next person. Of course everyone won't appreciate you, but if you have something of quality and value to offer at a fair price, many more people will accept it than reject it over time.
- Fear Of Ridicule. Everyone hates to be belittled, but remember that while people may laugh now and then, they really don't care enough to spend much time focusing on you. Even when they do laugh, it's not long before their attention is turned elsewhere and your situation is yesterday's news.
Whatever you love to do or make can be turned into a business of some kind. Whenever you feel afraid to fail or be rejected or ridiculed, consider what Warren did with a tiny kitchen, some pots, pans, butter and a stove.
And by the way, CakeLove made a great Father's Day cake for my hubby this year, as you can see here. [This picture was lost in a blog transfer.]