don’t trip before the start line



Three years ago I wrote a simple little post which I believe still holds true for business owners and bloggers (and anyone else struggling to start something new). 

Over the past few months I have been getting more emails from women writing me about advice for their businesses or blogs. In talking with many of the women, I am noticing a pattern: people want to make things more complicated than they are. I am all for due diligence and research, please don’t get me wrong. I think that is an important part of being successful. But ultimately, I think the research and constant “what if-ing” will halt all progress which leads to the launch of the actual business.

Please don’t let your dream or purpose lie dormant in your heart (or in a business proposal binder) because of any uncertainty – all entrepreneurship will involve uncertainty. The key is to just begin, and then keep going. To cross the start line and then start tripping, then start falling, and after each tumble you get up and continue onward.

Another obstacle lurking before the start line to avoid is the “everyone else has it figured out” trap. When you look around at your competitors or even businesses that inspire you, please do not assume they all launched with perfect clarity, perfect graphics, and perfect products. They stumbled and fell many, many times on their way to success. And the key is that they learned and grew after each failure and honed their craft to the beauty you see today.

Take my {now previousbusiness for example, though I’m pretty darn proud of what it has become, I make no bones about where it began: with ugly ankle bracelets.

Not exactly a threat to Tiffany & Co.

But at 15-years-old, I didn’t let that stop me. Some women bought them from me at a pool. And the first thought in my head was, “how can I sell more ankle bracelets?” I didn’t think about creating the perfect company, I thought about how to improve from where I began. I started with selling ankle bracelets made from seed beads. Then I taught myself to wire wrap. Then I bought crystals. Then I built a website. It was all done one step at a time. It’s that simple.

It’s always that simple.

Don’t let your ego talk you into thinking you need to be anything other than incrementally better than where you are now. This is not a race for anyone but yourself. As long as you are getting faster and moving forward, you are winning. And winning beats the heck out of spraining your ankle before the race.


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  1. Chloe Moon

    I most definitely make things more complicated than it has to be. Ohh I need to take your advice to heart!

  2. Thanks for writing this. I need this reminder on a weekly basis. It’s so easy to get caught up in how great everyone else is doing. I just need to take the baby steps that are right for me.

  3. Jessica Fly

    This is wonderful and affirms what I am trying to do with my blog right now. Not focus on everything being perfect but just jumping in and posting!

  4. Lindsey Little

    Thank you! I spend most of my time researching things to death, which inevitably leads to comparison. Then I get discouraged because I’m not “there” yet. I’m just going to start writing blog posts about the things that I want to write about, the things that excite me – rather than trying to guess what people want to read. What’s the worst that can happen? Right now I’m not posting, so my readership is zero. It can only go up!

  5. Linda

    thanks so much for the inspiration! I’ve been researching my blog #2 idea for several
    months (trying to determine if there’s potential readership out there),
    but in the last few weeks my ‘research’ has sapped my momentum. It’s
    time I just started writing and worry about the what-ifs later!

  6. Love this! And it’s so true. I started my studio way before I was “ready” but I have learned SO much since then. Much more than I would have learned had I only kept re-reading those design and business books. It’s not always easy, but I totally agree that we all need to focus on incremental improvements in our work, and go from there!


    Spot on, sister! When I first pitched my business idea to my friends and family, I was surprised by the onslaught of questions I got – “But how are you going to find time for that?” “Doesn’t XX do that already?” “How are you going to pay your bills?” If I’d sat there and pondered on every one of those questions, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you for this remarkably written post, and for inspiring people to slip out of that one-track trajectory from college to cubicle. The Michelangelo analogy in your bio is beautifully relevant. Subscribed!

    1. Jess Lively

      Very nice! I’m happy to hear you heard the criticisms and went ahead anyways! Bravo!

  8. This is fabulous. It’s so much better to move forward and make progress (even with some mistakes) than to let your fears hold you back from getting things done. This is something I still struggle with but hope to improve upon. Thank you for this!

  9. Jess Lively

    Very nice! I hope your writing day went well!

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