Thirty episodes ago, in Episode 016: Entrepreneurship in Permaculture with Adam Jastrzebski, we brought up the topic of entrepreneurship in permaculture and the sustainability realm. We believe that helping these eco-preneurs and permie-preneurs is vital to the current and future economy, so we're back to revisit another side of entrepreneurship with Steven Bourne. In the episode Steven tells all about the real life struggle of budding entrepreneurs, and definitely doesn't sugar coat it. He uncovers some vital steps to launching into the entrepreneurial life, and tips for those already wading in it. Before we dive into those steps, if you'd like to get in touch with Steven, you can do so in the following ways...
Instagram - @ripplefarms
Twitter - @ripple_canada
Website - Ripplefarms.ca
One of the very first things Steven points out in the blog post, which is definitely one of the most obvious steps, is to start with an idea. For those of us in the sustainability and permaculture realm I think we can all agree that we've got no shortage of ideas around here. The question is, with all of those beautiful, inspiring ideas, which one are you going to take to the bank? You've got to zero in on the one big idea you want to move forward with. If you can't decide on which to follow through with, you'll split your focus, try to move too much forward, and cut your knees out from under you. Pick that one idea, one that resonates with your personal WHY, one that lights you up, and one you feel like you can build a community around. That's the idea to move forward with.
Steven shared a great story in the podcast about him and his partner, in the early stages of his business going around and asking people for their input and advice about their business idea, which is such a magnificent idea. Any marketer will tell you how important market research is. We like to follow Ryan Levesque's ASK Method for our market research, which involves systematic surveys to uncover your market's language and desires. We've found it extremely helpful, though it certainly isn't the only method out there. Validating your idea is an vital part of taking your idea to market, you may even, like Steven mentioned, find mentors and investors along the way!
Once you have your idea validated, it's time to dive into the research. Learn about your customer, about your market, about your competition... the more you know the better. Steven talks about how important it is to educate yourself and we definitely agree! Knowledge is totally power.
In the episode Josh chimed in and mentioned his background in marketing and branding, and noted how important it is to have your messaging powerful and to the point. Creating a story-driven pitch will make or break your conversations with potential partners, investors, and customers. DO NOT skip this step! If marketing messaging is totally a foreign idea, get a marketer on your team to help you craft this. Weak and vague messaging can stop you in your tracks.
Sixty five percent of businesses fail during their first 10 years. The odds are against you. Does that mean you shouldn't try? Absolutely not! It just means that you need to be OK with potentially being a serial entrepreneur. Your first business will probably fail, and also your second. But, as Steven noted, most successful entrepreneurs didn't find their big productive business until into their 40's - that means potentially a lot of failures before them! Edison tried 1000 times to create the light bulb before it worked, and yet that made the success all the sweeter. So take heart and inspiration from Edison, and just keep moving forward.
One of my favorite anecdotes that Steven shared was towards the end when he was talking about timing. He mentioned a gal he knew who got the diagnosis that she only had a year left to live, so she jumped into her side-hustle that she was super passionate about full-time. There really is no time like the present. Sometimes we will talk ourselves out of situations because we're scared to take the leap. We'll tell ourselves, "When the time is right..." "When the kids move out..." "When I have more savings..." And yet those are just things we do to keep from potentially failing. There really is no time like the present.
Take heart permies, your amazing idea is worth going after. However, understand that an entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. Keep dreaming, keep acting, and keep growing!
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