Somewhere inside of you is what I call your money-making moxie. It’s something you are so passionate about that it motivates you enough to turn your hobby into a paycheck and a potential movement.
But there are so many questions to consider when starting a business:
When is the best time to launch?
How much capital do I need?
What are my chances of success?
Should I test-run the business before quitting my job?
How long should I stick with it?
I always say that there’s no time like the present to take the leap and jump right in to your new business venture.
But in the words of billionaire makeup icon, Bobbi Brown—“I never thought I was starting a company. I was just mixing colors, and then selling lipsticks…and then Bergdorf wanted them. I was just doing it because I loved it. It was cool and fun and interesting…and 4-years later, Estee Lauder wanted to buy the whole thing.”
So you have a product you created, an idea, or maybe nothing more than a passion. So where do you start and how do you launch?
Here are 5-tips that can get you up and running fast:
1. What problem can you solve in your industry? Start there.
In Bobbi Browns words—“When I started as a makeup artist, I wanted to use makeup that didn’t feel like makeup and look like makeup, and I knew my models and clients would appreciate it. But there just weren’t any soft, natural or nude tones available on the market at the time, so I always had to mix my own colors and materials…I had to fix every makeup I bought. I would arrive at a shoot with a huge bag of makeup with 15 taupes, and 15 beiges…when I just need ONE taupe and ONE beige…and I started thinking—‘I wish there was a line where you had the best of each makeup category…’ But it didn’t exist… and so I started thinking.
Then one day, I was doing a shoot for a magazine at a pharmacy. There was a chemist there and I told him I wanted to make a lipstick that wasn’t smelly or greasy, and looked like the color of the lips. He made it for me and it was amazing.
That one lipstick turned into a collection, and I said—‘I bet I could sell these.’ The next thing I know, Bergdorf’s wanted to take it! Now I just had to find a lab to recreate the whole thing.”
So start where you are now, with what you have available. Start by solving a problem in your industry for the people you serve. As you’re in motion, more ideas and resources will come to you as you get going. It will be both scary and exciting, however, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment from pursuing your passion and helping people along the way.
2. Trust your gut and make a move.
According to Bobbi Brown—“I was in college but I wasn’t doing well. Nothing was stimulating me. And my mom said to me, ‘If today was your birthday and you could do anything you want to do, what would you want to do?’ And I could’ve said go to Paris, and buy clothes…
But I always loved makeup. So instead I said—‘I want to go to the department store and play with makeup’. She said, ‘Why don’t you be a makeup artist then?’ The following week I flew up to Emerson University and started the next week for an interdisciplinary degree for beauty and cosmetology. While there I did makeup for everything and with no clue where any of this would lead…but somehow, I knew I was where I belonged.
After I graduated I moved to NYC, went in the Yellow-pages and called up any agency that would hire me to get my craft stronger and my name out there. One day someone hired me to do some freelance makeup work. Then a magazine hired me. Then a stylist. Then a photographer. And it just kept building…”
Unlike those who are burdened with uncertainty, possessing a resilient self-belief will motivate you to step out and take risks. I’ve learned more about business and made more money when I started taking fast action—implementing what I learn, going with ideas and trusting my gut. Action breeds clarity and clarity breeds confidence. The more you win, the more action you take.
3. Amp up your digital presence.
Are you using social media to grow your business? When Bobbi Brown started, there were no social media networks to grow, promote or scale her offerings. But now with a growing number of niche social networking sites, you can easily connect and become a resource for people who want your product and services. Just with platforms like Instagram, you can announce your offering to the world, test market your products, get know your ideal client and learn how to better service them. You can interact with your audience, get them engaged and entice them to connect with you further.
“I’m 100% visual, and nowadays you you need a digital presence”, says Bobbi Brown. “I know with all the changes in technology it can all feel like one MORE daunting thing you’ve got to learn, but you need it. You really don’t exist to the world if you don’t have a social media handle. That’s why I also keep young people around me… to make sure I stay learning.
In order to have a business that stays alive, you really have to be aware of your surroundings and know if people love something or not. That’s what I use my social media for. Before Instagram and Twitter, I’d have to go around and ask my neighborhood, my friends, strangers, and SHOW them the product and wait for their authentic reaction to know what works and what doesn’t. Now I have social media”.
4. Be your authentic self.
“My way of being is authentic… but I’m focused and like to work hard and get things done.” -Bobbi Brown.
The key to standing out in the world and in a saturate marketplace is staying focused on your own authenticity and providing stand out product and services.
Instead of being a jack of all trades and a master of none, pick an area to focus your expertise. I had a client that left her job to become a virtual assistant. After about six months on her own, she barely had any traction. During our consultation, I encouraged her to specialize in one area. Soon after our meeting she needed a plumber who showed up late and disorganized. And that is when it hit her: to become an assistant to the service industry owners. She re-branded herself as the virtual assistant to plumbers, contractors, lawn care businesses, etc. It was an untapped market of business owners who were skilled at what they did, but needed someone to keep things in order. Now her business is thriving.
Find a need and fill it with your unique and authentic expertise.
5. Have fun and always take care of yourself.
I know at times the long hours, financial concerns and emotional roller coaster ride that comes with running a business can create enough stress to do real damage.
So remember, the number one contributor to your success is you. You are always the most valuable asset to your business. So it stands to reason that the care and keep of you is essential to manifesting more in your life and business.
So get a full nights rest, get up and get moving with some exercise, take thought walks and deep breaths, laugh more and eat well.
According to Bobbi Brown—“I really believe we should be taking care of our inner beauty as well as our outer beauty. That means our internal health. We even have BEAUTY FOOD at home and in the office so that we can be our total healthy selves”.
Now let’s chat! Have you been inspired by Bobbi Brown’s story? Do you have an idea or a solution that you would like to launch, test or bring to the market? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!