Building a Business Foundation: Why it can’t be avoided & why you can’t ‘buy’ your way through it
The concept of ‘stages of business’ is relatively new to a lot of people and you might not have heard about it. But having worked with hundreds of solopreneurs I can tell you that it’s one of the keys to success. The first three (of five) stages is the road from 0 to 10K consistent months, not one offs. To make it easier for people to remember the stages and what they’re about I call them The Foundation (1st stage), The Hustle (2nd stage) and The Flow (3rd stage). The names pretty much sum up what the stages are about if you ever want to remember. If you don’t know what stage you’re in, take the quiz now
Today I want to talk about the importance of stage one – The Foundation.
A lot of you reading this or watching the video above probably have already moved through this stage one and are in the Hustle stage. I encourage you to still read this, even if you probably recognize what I’m talking about, as going through the following stages is nearly impossible without a solid foundation. For those of you who are new to business, this will be important for you to hear and more importantly to implement.
So stage one is the time where you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. You feel like you have no idea what’s going on, you have some sort of idea of ‘I think I want to be this’ but you’re not even really sure of what to call yourself, you maybe even have some idea who your clients could be…you might have created some free stuff, done some volunteering or it’s a hobby that you love and people have started to show an interest in and asked for more from you.
In summary it’s an idea with the potential to becoming a business. It’s called the Foundation, because it’s about building the solid ground underneath you.
Here are 5 things you need to know about this stage:
- It is an absolute must and can’t be skipped
Imagine building a house on a wobbly foundation. The first earthquake or strong wind is going to collapse the building. Just like the house, your business will collapse without a solid foundation. The reason why it sucks and why a lot of people want to avoid it is, that it doesn’t feel like it’s going well while you’re in it. It feels like nothing is happening and you want to skip to the fun parts, the making money, changing lives and you’re a success story parts. Let’s take that idea of a house again. What’s the most fun part about designing or building your house? The decorating of it, when you get to put your own taste in colors and make it look beautiful. It’s certainly not pouring the cement..Who wants to do that? No one!
But fact is, it can’t be avoided to build a sustainable, long-term successful business.
- Investments are important but make sure they’re the right ones
Yes you have to invest in things, but make sure they’re the right things. In the online world there are a lot of temptations, people promising you to get you to 10k in 3 months. As a once off maybe, but not as a sustainable consistent income. So before you invest in the wrong things and end up in a mountain of debt, stop. Think of the analogy with the house when you’re tempted. Think whether this will help you build a foundation or if it’s a quick fix. In the foundation stage things you absolutely SHOULD invest in are: a website, email marketing software to build your list, basic branding. You don’t need the most expensive and complex systems either. As your business grows so will your systems.
- You’ve got to go through entrepreneurial school
The foundation is your entrepreneurial school. There’s no place that you can go that’s just like a college where you can like ‘hey I want to practice being an entrepreneur’. No, you go be an entrepreneur, that’s your practice and the foundation stage is the school part of it. It’s when you’re trying to figure out where you come from, what your message is, who your clients are, what your niche is, you’re in school. And what usually happens when you’re in school, you’re broke. You’re usually broke and you’re usually working your ass off. There’s no doctor I know, no teacher, no lawyer, no super successful person that gets big decent money that just woke up one day and decided to be a doctor and they just showed up at the hospital and operated. No! They study at school, they’re broke, they have student loans, it’s awful, they never sleep, they don’t have a life.
Sound familiar? Why? Because they’re building their foundation. And that’s the thing that we’ve lost along the way in the online world of entrepreneurship. We’ve lost this sense of ‘hey I have to put some hard work in here’. I have to put some blood, sweat and tears in to here and build this foundation, I’ve got to go through entrepreneurial school and it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of time, guts and discomfort. I remember when I was in university studying for tests and stuff like that sucked, right? But eventually you build your foundation and you graduate and that’s part of going becoming who and what you want to be.
- You can’t buy your way out of it
You can’t buy a course that’s going to teach you this one thing that’s going to bring you all this money, you can’t buy a ninety-day program that’s just going to solve everything for you and now you’re going to be making six figures. It doesn’t exist. I’m not saying that you don’t need certain courses to learn the skills you need, but in the foundation stage it’s not about a quick fix payoff. It’s about learning who you are, about trial and error and about studying things. It’s about getting practice with some free coaching sessions and it’s about failing because in the failing you actually learn how you can really succeed. You’ll be going through a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows that’s what it is because you are in training. But what happens when you allow yourself to go through the foundation stage, to try and fail, to celebrate the small wins and keep going, is you build the two things resiliency and perseverance. Two absolute characteristic traits that entrepreneurs need to succeed. So you learn how to persevere and you build resiliency. By the end of the Foundation stage you’ll get so clear on your vision, your mission and what you’re here to say and what you’re here to do. That’s when you know you’re ready to start hustling and heading into the second stage.
- You need to change your mindset to succeed.
Expect that if you’re in it, you’re going to want to avoid it. You’re going to feel like you’re no good, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re g it’s going to be so many highs and lows, you’re going to think that you’ve finally found the answer to something and but nope sure enough it sets you back again, this is normal.
Every stage comes with its own challenges and mindset issues that need to be addressed. Don’t get frustrated if you’re in the foundation stage. Change your mindset. Think about the house that needs the foundation to stand on, the broke doctors going through med school.
You’re out there and you’re in school, so you don’t get down on yourself, if you’re not making a pile of money or you don’t have thousands of followers. No, you’re learning how to do that. Financially speaking by the end of the foundation stage you’ll be usually around like 0 to maybe 1K a month.
Your strategy at this stage is to get out there and practice, to offer free calls or low cost calls, to maybe hire a coach and work with the coach, it’s going to help you practice and get in touch with what you really want to say especially when they can help you with your messaging in your niche. You want to start getting visible, to get known and having a strategy around that. It’s more in a way where you’re practicing, you’re seeing, you’re trying and you’re putting yourself out there and it’s really uncomfortable.
So, stay away from shiny objects syndrome, you don’t need to go buy a million things. It’s a great business investment to invest in a coach that could help you through this first stage. I coach solopreneurs on the strategy and mindset shifts that need to happen to make consistent income build momentum in their business. If you feel like you’re in the foundation stage and need guidance to navigate through this difficult phase, book a call with me and see how we can work together