don’t trip before the start line

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 business 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. tiffany

    Such fantastic words! We do like to make things hard on ourselves, don’t we? Thanks for the reminder!

  2. So true. I’m definitely guilty of overthinking things, wanting to plan too much and have everything be perfect on my first go. That said, at some point I usually wake up (sometimes my boyfriend gives me the dose of sanity I need) and I just start DOING something about it. It’s hard yes, but trip, trip, tripping is still moving forward. (It’s hard to trip backwards right?)

  3. CB

    This is really good advice. It is so much better if we can just get ourselves DOING instead of thinking too much. One step at a time… not getting too caught up in the future, but rather, focusing on the present!

  4. Tee

    Thank you so much for this insight. I recently began on a life changing journey that started with an illness and those thoughts of failure, and fears from past experiences, start to cast doubt. Hearing things like this really do help us to keep moving toward our dreams and live in the now. Thank you! 🙂

  5. I have been SO guilty of this but something clicked a few weeks ago and I have to agree – action is scary but it’s so much more fullfilling! Instead of over-analyzing to the point of second-guessing myself, taking action (even conservatively!) is motivating and inspiring. The more I work on moving forward, the more I am propelled forward, more (and better!) ideas are generated, problems are solved. Sure, I’ve screwed up a few times and am already seeing places for improvement, but I’m a heckuva lot farther than I would have been just planning!

  6. Monika

    This reminds me of the saying (I don’t know who to credit for it, sorry), “Don’t compare your insides to others’ outsides.”

  7. Great post. Nice to hear the encouragement that no matter what it is (starting a business or not), we can just go do it! It’s just a matter of having the guts to put yourself out there!

  8. perfectly said, Jess. I love your blog and this post spoke to me. If it’s not something you want to persist at, not something you are already doing, then perhaps it’s not your passion. Ana

  9. Kate

    This totally speaks to me….as if you were writing it right to me! Thanks Jess, I love your posts!

  10. pve

    I had a prof. in college who would say, “it is better to get it up ugly than never at all” which always meant to just start! Jess, you are so right to not over-complicate things.

  11. Clara

    Such a good reminder. For a perfectionist (moi), the fear of not having everything in place, perfectly, is a constant. And, of course, if I don’t move forward, then I can’t fail (major fear). Relating your experience is a help. Thanks.

  12. Betsy

    Three reasons why this post is awesome

    1) I totally needed to read this as i get prepared and more and more excited for Business With Intention later this month. I’m so stuck on the idea of having a blog and website design I love before putting anything up.

    2) Then I read through the comments and find this quote from PVE ( ““it is better to get it up ugly than never at all”

    3) As it turns out PVE is an illustrator, what I am trying to be, who happily by chance is an alumni from MY alma mater

    So thank you Jess, for an amazing post for for the connections you bring us. 🙂 Now I just have to work up the courage to email PVE.

  13. #LLinaBC

    I’m printing this & hanging it in my office – THANK YOU!

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