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How to Start a Business in a Weekend

Is it really possible to come up with a great idea on Saturday, be in business by Monday, and hit the $1 million mark in the first year?

You can if you’re willing to ditch a lot of lame rules that hold most people back.

That’s what serial entrepreneur Maria Elena Ibanez did.

It all began at her hairdresser’s when she struck up a conversation with another woman who had a background in the Latino food business.

The chance meeting stimulated Ms. Ibanez’s hunger — not for food – but for opportunity. In that instant, she decided to become a player in the Latino food business.

That was in 2002.

By the end of year one, her business, Intermark, had $1 million in sales from four food products. Today her brand, El Latino, carries 256 products.

Ms. Ibanez did have a background in business. In fact, she’d already launched two successful international computer distribution businesses and sold one.

So, starting a business was nothing new.

But this new enterprise was in an entirely different industry.

In fact, she knew absolutely nothing about the food business whatsoever.

Despite a lack of knowledge, Ms. Ibanez leapt at the opportunity!

What can you learn from this “weekend business launcher” that can help you jumpstart your own entrepreneurial dreams in a matter of days? Plenty!

Lesson 1: Find People Who Know More Than You Do

Stop thinking you need to know everything before you can begin. As Woodrow Wilson once said, “I use all the brains I have and all that I can borrow.”

There are lots of ways to tap the expertise of other people.

You can partner with a subject matter expert, you can apprentice with an expert, or you can pay someone to consult with you from time to time.

Lesson 2: Create Your Own Crash Course

You don’t need to get an MBA or have worked in a field for 20 years to figure out the basics. Ms. Ibanez ordered a couple cases of books on Amazon and spent a few weeks creating her own crash course in the food and grocery industry.

Pretend your boss told you to put together a three-month self-paced training program on how to make money growing irises in your backyard or how to get a syndicated sports radio show.

You’d figure it out, right?

So why not do it for yourself?!

Make a list of what you need to know to move your dream forward.

Then create a plan for how you’ll find the information, skills, and/or resources you need.

Lesson 3: Trust Your Instincts

Humans tend to make things more complicated than they need to be.

For example, Ms. Ibanez built her brand by going into an under-served niche in the Latin food market — dairy foods.

How did she know to specialized there? By walking the aisles in the supermarket.

How many times have you seen a solution right under your nose only to second guess yourself because it’s too “obvious”?

That’s why you need to trust your instinct.

If your gut is telling you to DO IT you need to pay attention because, within seconds, another voice will chime in.

That other voice is the one you mistakenly think of as your more “practical” or “logical” side.

“Well, if cheese for the Latin market is such a great idea, someone else would have thought of it, right”?

The thing is, this so-called “logical” side is usually the far more emotional and fearful side.

If something looks like an opportunity and acts like an opportunity and your heart is saying, “Yes, go there!” then pay attention.

Lesson 4: See Problems as Opportunities

Opportunities often come disguised as problems.

Rather than pull back during the slow economy Ms. Ibanez capitalized on it.

Cheaper rent and more available brainpower looking for work are just two reasons why she says an economic downturn is the best time to start a business.

What problem can you capitalize on right now?

If you lost your job, can you use the extra time between job hunting to read a book on marketing or create a small profit center?

If you have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, can you invite a group of friends to dinner and ask them what they think you should “be.”

[Warning: Only invite friends who are entrepreneurially minded… otherwise your brainstorming session will probably lead you back to working in a glorified cubicle.]

Lesson 5: Take Action

Notice Ms. Ibanez did not spend days, weeks, months or years locked in analysis paralysis.

She made a decision, and two days later was in full-blown action mode.

So fast in fact, that the Latino food expert she met at her hairdresser’s on Saturday reported to work in Ms. Ibanez’s home office on Monday!

She didn’t even have time to tell her husband.

Fifteen years later, Amazon announced a partnership with El Latino to offer foods from every country in South and Central America in its Miami deliveries.

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to run out and start an empire tomorrow.

But imagine what you could do if you just dove in and started somewhere…. anywhere!

Will you make mistakes along the way?

I certainly hope so. Because if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning anything.

Will you go from 0 to a million in a weekend?

Not unless you’re doing something illegal. What about a year?

Ms. Ibanez’s story proves that some people do. But this is definitely the exception.

Does that mean you shouldn’t start? Not at all.

It took me about seven years before I became an “overnight success!”

If I’d understood these five simple lessons at the outset, I could have cut that time by more than half.

There are lots of ways you can profit from your own passion.

Lots of ways to turn interests into income.

Lots of ways to make money on your own terms.

Lots of ways to go from having a boss to enjoying the freedom and satisfaction of being your OWN boss.

Use all five lessons, and there is no reason why you too can’t get your own entrepreneurial dream in motion in a weekend.

Why waste another moment when you can take the first step creating the life you really want?

Praise

A New Direction

I decided to take the Work @ What You Love Workshop and also work one-on-one with Valerie. The workshop explored so many unusual and unexpected solutions to my specific questions. I made so many new connections to what clearly works for me in crea...

Julia Raymond
Curvology Studio

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