Every time I think about starting anything up – a new product or a new business, I find myself equal-parts excited and nervous. The growth part gets me excited. The starting from nothing part makes me nervous. Still, whatever our goal is we all have to start somewhere.
That almost sounds scarier than standing nearly naked in front of a bunch of strangers. Almost.
The momentum that comes with the idea and energy of starting something new is incredible. Soon, the excitement fades. People who’ve never started a business themselves share their opinions and try to rain on your parade. At the very least, they look at you like your idea is “cute,” but not really one that will pay the bills. Motivation and excitement are met by discouragement and wonder.
Will anyone really want what I am dreaming up?
Then, there is the realization that yes, yes, I’ve got this. Well, most of the time, if I dig deep, I can find that voice reminding me: “I’ve got this.”
Even when you find your personal voice of encouragement, the voice of knowing, there are times it still isn’t worth it to move an idea forward into a full-blown business. I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that there were many failed, or rather deserted, business ideas along the way: Prioritize, a local concierge service; more MLMs than I can count; and that mystery shopping business I laid out the plans for.
The two businesses that did actually make it past the idea and dreaming phase were completely different entities and came to life in very different ways:
Three Boudoir: Creating photography experiences for women
Amber McCue LLC: Partnering with small business owners who want to be free and get paid.
What do these two businesses have in common?
Both were started from nothing.
Nothing but an idea.
Starting is something very different than running a fully functioning business. Starting takes a different mindset than working a 9-5 and having the comfort of a full-time job.
Starting a business will challenge you. You will regularly wonder if you can actually do this. Even though you are a total pro and know that you have skills that can help people, you will question yourself. You will want to quit. You will dream of going back to the full-time job.
The honest truth about all of these feelings: This is all normal.
If you want to change your life and live a new style of life, you have to do things you’ve never done before.
As you step into action, one day, you’ll wake up with the realization: I am doing it. It is really happening. By golly, I’m doing it well.
To make it through the rollercoaster of starting a business takes a strong sense of self, constant self-evaluation, and a willingness to be bad at some things so you can be great at the things that matter.
Yes, of course, I’m talking about the things that matter to you in your personal life: your values, life goals, and the people you care about and want to make time for. I’m also talking about the things that matter to your clients. Too often, people spend time and energy on things that are not going to make or break a business as you work to bring in new clients and customers.
In Start from Nothing, I’ll walk you through two different ways I started two different multi-six figure businesses… from nothing.
As we work through two very different examples, you’ll see the constant focus and re-centering on a few key things like values, our priorities as business owners, our personal talents, our clients’ priorities, and the data. Why am I walking you through these examples?
Why this story of starting instead of giving you a step-by-step playbook to make your next move?
Truth be told, I have a lot of step-by-step guides to help you build a new business or grow and scale an existing business.
Yes, I have playbooks. But there’s a place for a how-to guide, a course, or a program. I learn best when I see how how-tos actually play out in real life.
I learn and brainstorm ideas for my business when others gift me an opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes in their business. If you like to go behind the scenes too, this guide is for you.
My goal is that you’ll brainstorm ideas as you read through these real life examples; apply a few strategies to grow your own business; and, most importantly, see that there is a new way of living for you, too. If you take the first step – Start.
First, Three Boudoir. Three Boudoir is my boudoir photography business that I co-own with a business partner. It was founded in 2008. Second, my online consulting business Amber McCue LLC where I partner with small business owners to scale and grow their businesses without the torture. We accomplish this through courses, consulting programs, and group experiences like The Modern CEO, CEO School, and How to Clone Yourself.
In Start from Nothing, we are going to break down the two very different ways that these two companies started from nothing and grew too a $1M+ collective. As we go, we’ll compare and contrast the differences so you can call out nuances and things you may be able to incorporate into your business. Before we dive in, let me highlight some key differences between these two businesses.