Lets talk money, shall we?
Now don't get stressed, I know its December! Hello Uncle Visa!
I have good news for you though.
First the bad news: It costs between $3000 and $30,000 to start a business in the U.S. And, the failure rate for new business is about 50%. (source: US Small Business Administration)
One of the reasons businesses fail is that they run out of money, sometimes because they spend money on the wrong things at the start.
Here is the good news: In the DreamBiz phase, you do not have to spend a lot of money to get the most important information you need to know BEFORE you start your business.
Information that can reduce your risk of failure.
Information like "What does my customer really want? What is my competition? How do I really feel about this idea after all?"
There are SO many things you DO NOT have to spend money on at first.
This can be confusing because we get advice that we need this, then that, and then more of all of it.
So, to simplify we have created a visual of the Business Box. You should spend almost all of your time in the pre-business phase OUTSIDE of the Business Box.
We’ve prepared a short fun video to explain. We hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post them up in the Facebook group.
I hear this all the time - "I’ve never started a business before."
Or, "I don’t have any experience so I’m not ready."
Yes, it can absolutely help to have experience, not doubt about it.
But think about it, if we all had to have experience to start a business, there would be a serious shortage of new, cool businesses out there!
Martha Stewart had no experience in magazine publishing. Jessica Alba (The Honest Company) had no experience with selling consumer products and now her company is worth over 1 billion dollars!
Those are big examples, of course. But I know you could walk around the shopping district in your town and find small business owners who had no experience before they started.
In fact, that is exactly what you should do. Why?
What does experience give you? Knowledge and contacts.
You can acquire knowledge. Even more quickly, you can start to get out and meet people in the field that you are interested in.
Tony Robbins advises us to find someone who has done what we want to do and learn from their experience. Makes sense, no?
Lets see, you know how to be curious, ask questions and take some notes, right?
Then you have all the experience you need to get started right now.
I talk more about growing your social capital in the video above. Oh, and how it might grow your social life in a really interesting way, too! It did mine!
Well here you have a mini-case study and a bit of a Fail in action.
A few weeks ago we did a soft re-brand from DreamBiz Test Drive to DreamBiz Blueprint and ran a couple of promotions under the new brand.
The thinking was that DreamBiz Blueprint would speak more directly to what is going through the minds of our audience - are they really thinking, "Gee, I wish I could test my idea"? Or are they thinking, "I wish I knew where to start" - something a blueprint implies more clearly perhaps than a test drive.
We did not go behind the scenes and change all of the course materials, all our social media "handles" (accounts on FB, Twitter etc) or much else.
That's what made it a "soft" rebrand. Why?
1) honestly, part of it was a lack of time to implement all the changes
2) lack of conviction that the new name would be measurably better.
Here was the strategic error:
Its OK to play out a hunch. Try to keep the process like, well, a mini test drive - we tested only the logo change and name for a couple of promotions, and not everything else in the business associated with the name. We'll still use the term blueprint as a generic description for the step by step nature of the course.
Viva la DreamBiz Test Drive!
You are sitting at your desk, or on your couch, looking out the window, wishing you were working on something that was engaging and making a difference but not sure where to start on your ideas.
We have all been there. Every idea starts out fuzzy and unformed, confusing because we are looking at something we don't have all the pieces to yet..
Try not to let that energy have the last word. Take a few minutes and get inspired by women who have started small and found success.
I particularly loved this video, its from a series called My Business Story. It has an unexpected zing related to her first client that might cause you to tear up, but that also beautifully illustrates a point that can be hard to see, especially if the view is from your couch or cubicle.
When you build a business around your inner gifts and passion or motivation, the energy that flows through your business becomes a vehicle for connecting to others and the world in ways you will not expect.
Do you have a story that inspires you and keeps you working toward your DreamBiz? If so, let us know in the comments below.
The DreamBiz Test Drive is different because it SHOWS you what will work about your idea before you dive in, gives you 4 steps to test your idea, the shows you how to AVOID the 3 biggest reasons new businesses fail. all this BEFORE you spend a lot of time and money on an official business launch.
Our FOCUS on the early, or "ideation" stage, and on COLLABS for you makes us different. The video above talks a bit more about that.
There are literally thousands of sources of information for people starting businesses. I should know, I ran across at least a couple hundred of them in my own journey of exploring my ideas.
What I didn't run across was one single resources that made sense for the stage I was in at that time - with a few ideas in my head, very little clarity about where to start, and no organized way of testing the waters before I dove in all the way, spending a lot of time and money "starting a business.'
You may have seen this graphic already on the website or on our Facebook page:
It illustrates many of the activities in the Business Box - these are the areas you will find lots of advice about online. Yes, they are important but most of them are logistical tasks you need to take to start a business - I think of them as Phase 2 activities.
The place to spend your time getting clear and getting organized is outside the business box - which in reality are the areas that matter, first. You can find out a lot about your business idea - BEFORE you start your business. The video below tells more:
What is your biggest challenge in getting started? Let us know in the comments below.
We are offering webinars about the DreamBiz Test Drive next week. You can learn more by visiting our VIP Portal.
Fear of failure or loss has become the new saber-tooth tiger in the bushes.
Let me explain with an example.
Q: Would it be helpful to talk about your DreamBiz or Passion Project idea with someone objective?
I bet your first reaction was "Yes!"
And then your brain immediately said, Wait - what are the details? is there a catch? If we talk about it that might make it real. We'll just get excited about something impossible. I don't have time right now.
Naaaaah. Thanks anyway. I need to go re-arrange my sock drawer, I've been putting it off.
See how this works?
I have known for awhile, and you probably do, too, that fear stops us from doing many things. More things than we can imagine, really.
Fear on autopilot = habits our brain thinks are keeping us "safe".
Here is what I did not know a couple of weeks ago - part of our brain is hard-wired to hesitate. If it senses we are contemplating something new and different, stepping out, it will kill our initiative with hesitation while we "think about it".
This was to keep us alive in the days when stepping outside of our cave could get us eaten by a tiger in the bushes if we weren't careful.
The problem is that this section of our brain doesn't know the difference between the tiger in the bushes and what might happen if we take sign up for that new class, take that trip, start that blog, or take action on any other thing that is new and different today.
All our brain sees is the stress (perceived threat) associated with the action.
I imagine that women, as the main caretakers of children around the hunter-gatherer campsite, developed this tendency to hesitate - in the form of evaluating risks - to an even higher degree, keeping track of several things at once.
What to do about it.
In brief, this is what I've learned from a few different sources*:
This is how it works:
First, breathe deeply. This send oxygen upstairs and signals to our brain that its OK.
Second, procrastination is not a bad thing you do because you are bad. It is your brain trying to keep you safe. Don't take it personally.
Third, you are the boss of your brain, right? The way you change it is by taking fast action - like in 5 seconds - on things you are avoiding, and spending at least 5 - 10 minutes on that which you are avoiding. This is how you chase the tiger out of the bushes, because in reality, its just a mouse rustling around.
Fourth, baby steps are key. You could give your notice to a job you hate in 5 seconds, and I'm not going to say you shouldn't. If you've been unhappy for years it may be exactly the antidote. Deadlines work for a reason; quitting your job immediately gives you all sorts of real deadlines. But it also ratchets up your stress level.
Instead, you could turn a more prudent approach (see how nice that sounds?) into a platform for action (instead of an excuse not to act) by grabbing a piece of paper and list the top 3 things to do, now, to transition out of that job in 6 months. For example, start a savings account, update your resume, get help having that difficult money conversation with your partner, get serious about generating part time income from a passion or idea you have.
Then, what is the next fast action you can take on each step? Do that one. I bet after spending an hour of 5 second baby steps you will feel a little woozy and more alive than you have in weeks, months or even years.
This small shift towards a bias for action will change your life. Why? Because life is a series of small decisions, many of them we make on auto-pilot, also called habits.
Here is the piece that was missing from what I read. All of the advice was focused on individual change, and yes, change starts with you.
However, no one does this alone. Women in ancient societies developed collective safety nets for their children. If you are considering birthing a business or passion project, you need 2 things:
Lets take on the tigers together. <3
Thanks for visiting!
You have a DreamBiz idea, right? How do you know if its a good one?
If you want to KNOW where to start, and KNOW what works about your idea BEFORE you actually dive in, in this FREE live meeting online I'll share:
sign up on the calendar below!
Sun 9:30 AM
Mon - Wed at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Simple, right? I can't wait to meet you!
Hello! I'm Kala Philo, Founder and Producer of the DreamBiz Test Drive and a bunch of other magic, too.
Did you know that the business failure rate for new businesses 80%?
The good news is there are simple ways to see what works BEFORE you start your business. I am passionate about helping new women entrepreneurs minimize their odds of business failure. I developed this process from many years of diverse experiences to use with my own ideas, and am now using it to help women find clarity and direction around their business idea. BEFORE they even start their business.
We compared 3 articles from top business publications about why businesses fail. I share a few of the reasons here. The point is a lot of businesses fail on the job, so to speak - if they had taken some simple steps ahead of time, it may have made a difference. You can get the 5 Out of the Box steps to test your DreamBiz Idea and the graphic on Why Businesses Fail here: http://www.yincaravana.com/dbtd
Inspiration or Heat Stroke?
One day, I was googling some of my business ideas in a bungalow in Todos Santos, Mexico, trying to figure how to organize my questions and approach.
I had just wrapped up about 18 months of solo travel in the US, Mexico and Latin America.
My mojo was back (see videos on this page for more about that!) after a painful divorce. I was super inspired and dying to dive in and create something really amazing.
But that day, things were not going well. It was incredibly hot.
The wifi in our bungalow was lame. There was no air conditioning and the nearest coffee shop with A/C and decent wifi was an hour away.
I was almost in tears (well, OK I was in tears) and I finally said to myself, "Enough. Let's take a break".
I did take a break, and I'll get back to what happened next in just a sec.
Right now I want to step back just a bit and connect the dots for how all this started. The DreamBiz Test Drive was born out of my own experience and frustration in finding a way to explore, organize and act on my dream business ideas.
Like many women, I spent my 30’s and 40’s juggling priorities of family and a dual career household. My career was always second priority to my spouse’s career and my family’s needs, and I was (mostly) fine with that at the time. I accepted the career risks of the tradeoff I was making and don't regret it even today, even though now my position is less financially secure.
You see, when my youngest daughter graduated from high school, I had separated from a 26 year marriage.
When the marriage ended, I chose not to pursue alimony.
So, practically speaking, I knew the money I had been making from my previous flex-time freelance video production work was not going to be sufficient for me to achieve my goals.
Plus, I had always had my own DreamBiz ideas lurking within me, I just wasn’t sure which one to choose.
I spent many years networking in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Austin TX and Northern California. I read tons of books and talked to hundreds of people over the years about how successful startups and innovative big companies test THEIR ideas.
I advocated for women starting small businesses in other countries. I hosted a salon in Austin to talk about how business and social benefit intersect.
I thought about graduate school. Did I need an MBA to start a real business?
Basically, I read, and I talked, and I THOUGHT a lot about how to start but I did not do much about starting.
Why? Because I was afraid. Because I did not know where to start.
So, with my sweet girl on her way to college, I left the nest really empty.
I sold or donated everything that wouldn’t fit into my trusty Honda CRV and hit the road.
I worked online and traveled solo for 18 months throughout the US, Mexico and Latin America. My daughter and I trekked through icy mud fields in the Middle of Nowhere, Iceland, to find hidden thermal springs. We stripped down in the frigid air, hopped in and communed with our inner Valkyries!
I shredded my comfort zone, up-leveled my skillset and reclaimed some of my own chutzpah.
Oh, and my Spanish got a lot better too. (Like the time in Quito, Ecuador when I demanded that a rude cab driver stop and let me out. It was 10:30 p.m, and he had picked up male friend after I got in at the bus stop. My internal radar, the one I always listen to now, said, EXIT NOW. This cabrón let me out in the middle of a dark neighborhood; suddenly it was more than just a whim to practice my Spanish with the owner of the only store still open, to help me find my AirBnB! )
During my travels, I got clear on the impact I want to make, and Why.
But the How was still missing.
And now we return to that stifling afternoon in Todos Santos.
I went to the pool and was standing in deep water, looking out over the edge at the gleaming green tropical plants and preening lizards on a stone wall. THEY were happy with the heat.
But maybe it was the heat that caused me to start talking to myself, because suddenly a voice in my head cut through my confusion.
I paused for a minute.
I heard a lazy insect buzzing nearby, children playing across the street, dogs barking, because basically there is always a dog barking in Mexico.
Have you ever had a moment of clarity when your surroundings zoom into sharp focus and your brain offers up a new perspective?
In that moment I realized I was asking the wrong question. I realized that the first question around starting a business is not “How do I start this business”.
No. The first question is:
“Should I start this business, and why?”
That is the step that was missing from all the business advice I found.
Its like when you buy a car. You research different models and test drive cars before you buy, right?
And suddenly, all of my diverse work experience in video project management, producing visual projects and past learning around business testing, visual design and entrepreneurship finally made sense in context.
I knew that the most innovative startups and companies test their business ideas before they fully fund production. I thought, why can’t anyone use these ideas?
Well now they can.
What is the DreamBiz TestDrive for Savvy Women?
It is a 4 Step holistic and practical online course where you explore your motivation and your idea, and then organize and act on what you discover. You can do it in as little as 2 weeks; we recommend 4.
It is engaging and fabulous because, as a former video marketing professional, that's how I roll.
It includes 25 professional short video lessons, bonus videos, over 75 hand crafted presentation slides, downloadable exercises, charts and worksheets.
The themes we explore are:
The course is approachable and adapted for women who have just started a baby business, or even never started a business before.
The course experience is not something that I just made up on a whim. I've been working on it for almost a year. As I'm not a trained teacher, I've invested over $15,000 with the leading expert in online course design and launch coaching.
I reached out to mentors and experts, many of them that I met after I was accepted to the Circular Board, an innovative accelerator for women entrepreneurs that has been featured in Forbe, Huff Post, and Inc. magazine.
I combined ideas from the world of software and corporate product development. I also researched how women approach challenges differently from men, and included steps to optimize the process for us.
I followed my own advice and tested the DreamBiz Test Drive with a small group of business dreamers, and some incredible guest coaches, too! I have great testimonials from that to share with you later.
And after all that, I figured out a solid roadmap for test driving a dreamBiz idea.
And guess what.
It works. I am able to zero in on my good ideas and just as importantly, this process helped me cut several ideas and saved me thousands of dollars and hours plugging away at flawed concepts. Other women have clarified their ideas after years of indecision, based on their experience in the class.
I am over the moon excited to be launching the full course again in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to learn more, please go here. And I look forward to seeing you on the highways and byways of your Dreams someday!