So, I've set out on my entrepreneurial journey, and let me tell you, it's all about grit. Actually, it's about a lot of other shit, too, but we'll get there in a bit.
Research. It's about research, too. Reading, connecting, building a network, learning.
When I set out on this journey, I thought, Aha! Coaching! I'm fucking ACE at coaching! It's what I do, it's what I love, it's what kept me in corporate retail for over 25 years. An easily transferable skill! I just need to learn the language of one-to-one coaching and the intricacies outside the corporate setting, and Bob's your uncle, I'm good to go.
Today, I find myself navigating a minefield to become an expert marketer, social media manager, accountant, writer, photo editor, tax expert, course creator, international banker, web designer, copy editor... the list is endless. All while finding time to do what I love, which is help people discover their best selves by connecting in a genuine way.
No word of a lie, it's exhausting. And I love it.
Tonight, I came across an article. Actually, it's a listicle. No, I did not make that word up. Yes, it's a real thing. Who the fuck knew? [They're the articles that say, 5 ways to make your life better than you knew it could be!!! With slick headlines, followed by some words or something that give you all the details. Sometimes, we read what they actually say. Most of the time we read the headlines, and decide if it's worth our time. Most of the time, we don't go further than the headlines. It's an article! It's a list! Ah, the listicle.]
Today's is about: The 4 Cognitive Biases Entrepreneurs Should Avoid. Yay! I'm a few months in and it's telling me that more than half of all startups fail! Whoop whoop! This on a day when I've been mired in payment options, course creation, and finding someone to finish my blasted website.
Here are the headlines, followed by my translations, after a few months in.
1. Optimism Bias "That Won't Happen To Me." FFS. Let me tell you, it will. You'll need to dig deep to get whatever it is you're doing even launched. It happened to lots of other people. Expect that it will happen to you. Also, expect that shit will happen and come up that you never even knew existed! You'll hear about a great new app or service that will make your life so much easier, except you can't sign up for it, or it doesn't apply to you and so, you go back to the drawing board.
2. Planning Fallacy "I can probably do this faster than the average person." No fucking chance. Maybe, you will have a skill or some knowledge about one of the myriad things that are now thrown your way. Most likely, you will never have expected that something seemingly simple will take so...fucking...long.
Let's build a website! Great! There's ads on FB and comments and even ads on TV for what is the best. So you look into it, and then you talk to someone who mentions something so you look again and you realise you need to figure out what works best for you. One is great at SEO! Perfect! Except no one knows me and is unlikely to find me before page 4862 on Google anyway. Another is really easy to use! Hurrah! But is limited in what you can add in future once you've set up and you know your brand / venture is going to be AMAZING! and will need more capability in the future. And its SEO sucks; and when you have reached the AMAZING! heights you know you're capable of, this just won't cut it. So, option 3 is in the middle for both these things - user friendly [I'm not sure what user they're talking about because it certainly ain't me, but this is what the reviews say]. You will discover that when you finally figure out how to do something 'on your own' without constant toggling between user guides or YouTube videos, that you undo 2 weeks of work and then you have no clue how to fix it. You will then think, I need an intern. 25 years in retail, I can fucking delegate.
3. Cost Fallacy "I've already come this far." I think the rest of this says something to the effect of, ...So I may as well keep going on this path since I've invested so much. But, this is a listicle so why read everything? Who has time for that shit? All I can say, is I think maybe don't do this. Entrepreneurship is a learning journey. Take what you've learned and cut your losses. What you've done so far is valuable and if you discover a new opportunity that you know is stronger than the first, don't be stubborn. On the other hand, grit is where it's at, so don't quit too soon. At least, not until you've managed to get some shit done. Clear?
4. Confirmation Bias "All signs point to YES!" Trust me, they don't. Unless you've produced your own signs, and then fair play to you for finding your niche market. All signs point to, someone else has done this before [and they're probably the people you are following in your newly researched FB group], so you really need to find your USP [again, trust me... it's a thing... Unique Selling Proposition] that sets you apart from everyone else. All signs point to, This has been done before.
The trick is being badass, having grit, and knowing the world will be vexing. Some days, it all comes together, and some days you realise it's trickier than you thought.