How long have you got?

I meet a lot of people who want to start their own business.

Since Sarah and I set up My Business HQ (for people who want to set up their own business as VAs or Bookkeepers) we’ve met hundreds of lovely people whose dream is to start their own business. Only a few of them have done it.

This is no surprise. Giving up a job and regular income is difficult, particularly if you have kids, a mortgage and bills to pay. Having a dream that one day you’ll own your own business just isn’t enough. Rarely do dreams come true unless you make them.

But before you can make dreams come true FIVE elements need to be in place, and it’s the lack of one or more of these five elements that so often causes otherwise well intentioned people to fail to achieve their dream.

The first is that to get what you want in life you have to be really clear about what that is. Really clear. And you must want it – a lot. So much that not having it hurts you every day. You must desire it more than anything else.

Some people understand this more easily than others. They may have longed to start a family, lost a loved one, had kids and don’t want to miss them growing up, or been made redundant and realised  it’s the best thing that could have happened to them.

If you’re finding it to difficult to put yourself in this position, consider this exercise. How many days have you got left? The average life expectancy in the U.K. is 80-85 years which means you’re going to experience something like 30,000 days in your lifetime. How many days have you got left? In my case, assuming I live to be average, I’ve got something like 7,500 days left. I’ve already lived for 75% of my life.

I intend to enjoy those days and have some FUN! Not ‘one day’ or ‘in a couple of months’ or ‘next year’. Right NOW.

If you are stuck in a job you hate, have the commute from hell, or just miss seeing your kids grow up you get it. If not you probably don’t want the freedom and flexibility that owning your own business gives you enough and will keep talking about it rather than doing it.

Maybe you know what you want badly enough to make it happen but you don’t know how. That’s the second element you need: a plan. And it needs to be a detailed plan, you need to do some research, find out the things you don’t know (some of which you won’t know you don’t know), work out how much money you’ll need and a hundred other things.

Then again, maybe you’re clear about what you want and have a plan but you lack the necessary knowledge to get there. This is very common. Why would you know how to set up and run your own business? No one ever taught you. You need help. A mentor, a course or to invest in a Business in a Box. Fortunately this is the easiest element of all because all the help and support is available if you look for it.

Element four is what stops most people who get this far and know what they want, how to get it and have the skills and knowledge to get there. They are in a negative environment and don’t have the support from family and friends they need. And this is tough to overcome. The challenge in getting what you want is greatly influenced by your environment. Think about how hard it is to diet when everyone around you is eating chocolate!

You can optimise your environment by making changes and by adding or subtracting things from your life. This can be really difficult. But by letting go of things we can free ourselves in ways we sometimes can’t imagine. Letting go of people can be the hardest; but remember that however they respond to your dreams it isn’t personal. Its about them, not you.

Lastly, even if you have all these elements in place there is one more element to master: your mindset. What we call your inner game. For example maybe you don’t feel you’re good enough, or worthy or you’re fearful of going up to someone you don’t know and starting a conversation at a networking meeting.

Your confidence can easily be affected if you’ve been off work having children, or if you’ve lost your job or if you have an illness or disability that affects your day to day life. Fitting into a conventional 9-5 job may not be an option for you. Family and friends, whilst well-meaning may not understand how you are a feeling and may suggest that you get – or continue with – a ‘proper job’, which only makes things worse. And your boss – if you do have a job – definitely doesn’t get you (or even want to). And it sucks.

Mastering these five elements – or areas of focus – will change your life and help you achieve your dream. Is it easy? No. Is it worthwhile? Heck, yes!

Less than 5% of people who say they want to start their own business will do so. That’s fine. But if you have the desire to achieve your dream of running your own business, working the hours you want for the people you want, you can make it happen. And I’ll be here to help.​​​​

PS If you’d like to find out how you can start your own business, or know someone who would, please book a complimentary phone call with me at www.calendly.com/noelguilford.

Noel Guilford, Principal at Guilford Accounting
Noel Guilford is the principal of Guilford Accounting a small business accountancy practice specialising in advising owner-managed businesses on current accounting, finance, and tax matters. You can reach him via email at noel@guilfordaccounting.co.uk or by phone at 01244 660866. He is the author of the 'Figure it out - an entrepreneurs guide to understanding your business numbers' which you can obtain by visiting guilfordaccounting.co.uk.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ His latest book, How to Build a Successful Business' will be published in 2018.

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