Two years ago I was working in the business field as a Project Manager, for a Fortune 500 company. I was content, paying my bills, and had money in my Roth. Some people love this feeling, to them it’s heaven, but I died a little each day, and felt trapped. I started to dream and wondered what it would be like to start my own business.
I remember driving into work, everything was dreary and my hopelessness grew as I got closer to the office. Inside my heart was caged and I saw no escape. Even my ability to dream and imagine was stifled. I needed a change, and that’s why I became an entrepreneur and started my own business.
My journey to start my own business wasn’t simple. Sometimes I felt like I was going backward. I’ve watched the money in my savings account disappear, and I had to cancel almost every snowboard trip that I wanted to take. These are choices you’ll have to make if you want to become an entrepreneur.
To get where you want to be, you’ll have to make sacrifices.
How I Started My Business?
There’s been a lot of signs that point me towards business ownership. I’ve had issues working for bosses that didn’t see the vision as I did, and I hate punching a time clock. And I love to change my direction at the snap of my fingers.
The “Sign” I received came when I was walking into the office one day. I sat down in my cube and looked around at my prison. While I took stock of my surroundings a realization hit me at high speed. This was my life now, and it would be for the next 40-50 years.
It was depressing to me, and I wanted to run.
An hour later, I was able to calm myself down and was called into the boss’s office. My supervisor chewed me out for terrible “metrics” (I hate that word so much). I was supposed to close 6 projects a month for the company. However that month, I was only given 2 from our sales team. Of course, I couldn’t finish six (it’s simple math). None of the project managers on my team could. Even with my commons sense statement, I received a bad rating from the company.
This gave me the kick in the pants that I needed. So I began looking for side jobs, and I began reading again. I started by reading books about how to be run a small business. I wanted something that could take my mind off the craziness at work. That’s when I picked up the manuscript for my book Hurricane Jerald and started writing again.
How To Start A Business: First Find Your Passion
Back in those days, I looked at many different ideas, and I failed at many as well. When you’re looking into ideas and asking yourself how to start a business. It really boils down to 1 question.
Where is your passion?
Currently, I’m working on businesses for 2 different passions. I love writing, and I love snowboarding.
For Writing, I wrote the book Hurricane Jerald, and I began writing blogs on ESterlingLLC.
And For Snowboarding I Began SnoFall Gear.
If you want to learn about starting a business. You’ll have to first find your passion. Because the times will get tough, and if you’re doing it for money, you’re not going to last.
Passion will hold you to the project.
Hurricane Jerald, My First Business Idea
I’d begun writing this book a decade before when I lived through Hurricane Katrina. After the first three months of running a shelter, and driving supplies to the coast. I sat down and wrote my experiences down. I was scared that I’d forget them, and so much had happened. Writing burned me up inside, and that lasted for a few years, but then I just stopped. It was like the fire had left me.
5-6 years later I came across an old manuscript. It grabbed ahold of me and I started spending every free hour writing in coffee shops. It inspired me to be different. I was going to change the course of my life. So in June of 2017, I sent an email to my boss and the department head resigning.
It Was My Time To Quit
I spent the next two weeks going into work, giddy about the prospect of working for myself and becoming a writer. Time wasn’t passing fast enough and I became upset on the last few days when it stood still. Then after an eternity, it was over and I left the building and reality hit me.
I was on my own, and alone. There were no more paychecks, no more health insurance, and no more safety nets. This was a do-or-die situation. I had no option but to succeed. So I started to write, and rewrite my book daily. It was intense, and I put a ton of effort into it. Finally, the book was completed 5 months after I quit. I made a small amount of money off it, but I was excited that people’s lives would be changed through it.
That’s ultimately what mattered, even if I’d hoped for more.
A Published Author;
When I was writing Hurricane Jerald I believed the book was going to be a viral sensation. it will change the world I would tell myself daily. Instead, I had around 400 downloads, (which is amazing for a 1st-time author). But I got depressed because my dream didn’t come to fruition.
I felt like a failure, and couldn’t believe my book did so poorly. But sometimes failure can be a blessing. Even when I was looking at everything negatively, I kept writing.
In the middle of this, I started to run out of money and knew I needed to do something that would help support me. So I moved onto my second venture. For some reason, I stopped paying attention to book sales. That was a huge mistake.
How To Start A Business: Stay Focused On The Long Term
The reason I’m adding this break is that there’s an important lesson here.
When you are learning How To Start A Business, you must understand that there will be setbacks. There is no guarantee that you’ll succeed. But the passion and the journey are what should drive you.
When you observe the short term but focus on the long term you’ll be able to avoid the pitfalls of depression. Your business will face setbacks, and it might even fail. That doesn’t mean you won’t succeed, as long as you learn from it, you’ll be a success. Time is what you’re really fighting.
Don’t let the pitfalls stop you, they’ll slow you down but you gotta get up and keep going, chase your dreams, and eventually, you’ll catch them.
Becomeing Mobile Closer; How To Start A Business
My sister works in the Title Loan industry, and her company needed a mobile closer for real estate deals. It was good money and seemed pretty fun. So I jumped on board. I never went on staff with the company, I was the guy they called whenever an extra hand was needed.
At first, things went amazing and I was making a good amount of money, but then the winter hit, and people don’t buy houses in the cold Minnesota winter. If the temp is below 0, would you like to be moving a couch in?
Once again, I felt like a failure, and couldn’t understand how God had brought me to a place where I would experience this. I felt like I had heard God, but he wasn’t giving me the success I wanted. That was his job. Keep in mind, that if your mindset is like mine was, you’re horribly mistaken. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, and if God wants you to learn a lesson, he’ll make you learn it.
With my second venture not working the way I expected, I started to look into other options. This led me to amazon FBA selling.
***An important lesson, I learned here, when your livelihood is based on how busy others are you walk a dangerous path.
Amazon Seller; Business Takes Capital
I was really excited about this prospect, and I saw people making decent money doing it. So I became a third-party seller on Amazon. My site was making decent money for the first few weeks, then all at once people stopped visiting my listings.
Sales dropped dramatically and I called client support. For 2 months they couldn’t figure out the issue. I became more and more frustrated because I couldn’t make money, and I got myself into debt. It sucked, and I was fighting depresseion again. Life is hard, and when you can’t succeed your emotions will play tricks on you.
***The lesson I learned here, don’t get paid from one place You Need To Diversify Into Different streams of revenue. If one dies on you, the others will hopefully keep going. You won’t be as stressed and you can take time to figure out what went wrong.
How To Start A Business: Shopify Sales
I moved into Shopify so I could have more control over my financial status. With Shopify, I could focus my listings properly, write blog posts, and dropship. I loved the idea of drop-shipping because I didn’t have to ship anything as I did with Amazon, and I was able to meet a lot of suppliers from Hong Kong, which was fun.
I did this for six months and finally came into my own as an entrepreneur. However, I realized that I hated drop shipping. My feelings changed because I was selling crappy products that took 3 weeks to deliver. I didn’t want my name associated with junk.
My site was like every other snowboard shop online, just different colors and pictures. I wondered how could I begin to differentiate my store if we had the same products? Lowering or raising my product prices were the only option, and we were at the point of making no profit anyway.
I also wanted to give my subscribers and patrons some value. Eventually, I decided to close my Shopify store.
From now on I’d be a blogger with some online products, not an online store with a blog.
Products aren’t what I focus on, now I focus on people.
How To Start A Business; WordPress Blogger; Small Business Development.
My fifth and sixth ventures are going on for 4-5 months (at the time of this writing), and they’re going strong. I decided to focus on my strengths, and stick with writing. Part of me is still annoyed that I haven’t been doing that, but you can’t blame yourself for the regrets of the past. It’ll only hold you there. So now I write about topics I’m passionate about.
Currently, I run two websites, and sometime soon I’ll have two more that I want to launch. I need to decide what to name them. Both URLs have been my Shopify site at one point or the other, but now I wanted to make some expansions, and focus on changes.
ESterling would become the site you’re on now, while SnoFall Gear stayed branded as a snowboard site. ESterlingLLC.Com and SnoFallGear.Com.
How To Start A Business: Stick To Your Strengths:
When you get into something that you don’t know anything about, you’re not utilizing your strengths properly. I’m not saying don’t take risks.
Instead, I’m saying know what you’re getting into. Google it, open some books, know your skill level and see if that’ll be a good fit for you.
Make sure everything fits together before you take the leap.
Snowboard Instructor; The Final Business Venture
I became a Snowboard Instructor around the same time that I made my Blog Sites. I did this because I love snowboarding, and I wanted to do something I was passionate about. This last winter was the best winter of my life, and I improved my Snowboard skills tremendously. Next season I’m going to try for my level 1 snowboard instruction certification.
Life is good, I just had to go through a bunch of crap to get here. By no means am I a success? I’m having to do odd jobs to survive, and sometimes I’ll get a short-term Project Management contract.
I will make this work, and I will thrive.
Something I tell myself every day is to play the long game. My websites, my SEO, and my focus are on working for myself. By doing odd jobs, I’m surviving today, by working on the website I making tomorrow.
To Be An Entrepreneur, You Need To Perservere; How To Start A Business
Most people won’t let themselves try, because they’re afraid to fail. I’ve failed so many times in the last two years, I think I’d barely recognize success. I won’t call myself a failure, and I refuse to give up. I’ve seen freedom and I’m running after it. When you become an Entrepreneur you have to change your thought processes.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t punch in at 9 AM and leave at 5 PM. Especially in the first few years. This also means you have to shut things off once in a while. I specifically don’t work on Sundays. This is my religious belief, but it’s also very smart. I feel reenergized on Mondays when I get back into it.
Do you feel like giving up? Do you consider surrendering when things get tough? Take a deep breath, look deep into your heart, and ask God for help. He’s the only way I’m making it. I should’ve been bankrupt a year ago, yet somehow I’m surviving. Becoming an entrepreneur is a rewarding experience, but it’s tiring and extremely draining. I love that I’ve become an entrepreneur, it’s helped me learn a lot about myself that’d otherwise be unknown. It’ll do the same for you.
My Belief In Jesus
My faith in Jesus gives me the strength to do all things, I believe he’s the way the truth and the life. While I was praying this morning, he spoke to my heart about success. I’ve never really thought about Jesus helping me in this, but I realized he’s been doing that all along.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.James 1:7 – Bible
For the last year and a half, I believed I was holding myself back from success. I told myself that I was horrible at starting businesses. In truth, I thought I lacked the skills, and constantly referred to my failures. Instead, God changed my paradigm, and I realized how much I’ve been learning. An Entrepreneur will fail constantly, but they also need to be learning. They have to constantly be thinking on their feet. They have to adapt, and most of all, they need to hang in there.
Life is hard, but when you have freedom, it’s amazing.
Where Are You In The Entreprenueral Journey?
Are you an entrepreneur that is hitting the edge of your luck? Do you believe that God doesn’t love you? Are you sitting in an office, wishing you’d have the guts to break out and become an entrepreneur?
You can win, just because others are winning doesn’t mean you have to lose. In fact, when you hang out with other winners, you’ll start to win yourself. It starts with a mindset change, and then actions.
I also believe when you surrender your life to Jesus, that’ll transform your life. He is my source when I’m lacking, and my source when I’m succeeding. Life is meaningless without him. My success comes directly from him, and I know what I’m striving for because he created me to accomplish this goal.
If you’re struggling and don’t know how to keep going, look to heaven. He’s waiting for you to act. If becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for you, that’s totally fine. Figure out what makes you happy, and what your gifts are. Then run for them.
Have an awesome week! I hope you like this.