Getting Started: From Dreamer to Entrepreneur by 2018


YOU want to start a business? Don't do that. It's difficult, stressful, and risky!" 

I've heard that several times. And they were right, running a new business is difficult,  stressful, and risky. But for me and countless others it has been the single greatest decision we've made in our lives. The uncertainty of starting a business is equivalent to that of any form of employment. I know they've taught you to think otherwise, but trust me. As much as you think you're safe building away at someone else's dreams from behind a desk, you can quickly and unexpectedly be let go- even if you're the greatest employee. 

So, if there's this little voice inside your head tossing around the idea of living life on your terms and making money doing something you love- listen to it! The likelihood that your inner voice is steering your wrong is minimal. In fact, if you are having an internal dialogue that is centered around building a business, it is likely being presented as a solution for something that is causing you great dissatisfaction in your life (i.e. You're not getting to spend enough time with your children, you hate the bureaucracy of your corporate job, you hate having very little time for the things you love). That inner voice is screaming, "Hey, here's the solution" and all you have to do is listen. 

I want to help you manifest your dreams. Then, I want to provide you with actionable steps to take yourself from business dreaming to business ownership by the New Year. NO, I'm not a coach. No, I don't want money. I just want to provide you with a little bit of guidance, support, and encouragement to begin the inner work and preliminary stages of uncovering your aspirations, shifting your mindset, and making the transition that will unlock your happy life! 

STEP ONE: Uncover Your WHY

I rambled about this a bit in my first Facebook Live (haha- I rambled a lot about a ton of things). But I truly believe that the greatest business endeavors are born out of understanding why you'd like to start a business. And NO it shouldn't be becoming insanely rich overnight- though setting income goals are important. You need to sit down and outline your ideal lifestyle. Ask yourself: 

  • How exactly would you like to live your days?
  • What is it that you wish you could do more?
  • What are you passionate about? (from tacos to your Aunt Tina in Texas- write it all down) 
  • What am I good at? 
  • What am I interested in? 

When you're finished, you'll have this entire overview of what is important to you. There may be this major theme throughout each of your answers or a culmination of things that comprise your WHY. Write this down- I want to start my own business because (insert your reasons). Writing it down not only affirms this as an action you're going to take but also allows you to reference it later when you're in need of direction or motivation.

Next, begin pulling from the things that you're good at and the things you're interested in to formulate a potentially lucrative business. There is a market for anything, but unpopular opinion here, I advise that you NOT niche down in the beginning of your business. Meaning, try to keep your business model as appealing as possible to a broad group of people- not as broad as anyone with a pulse but certainly not as specific as 40 year old women who love dressing their cats in cute bathing suits while visiting the Hamptons. If you target a niche too early into your business you'll miss out on (A) opportunities for growth and (B) uncovering what your actual business objectives are. Those first few months of your business when you begin acquiring clients, that's how you're going to determine who your true niche is and then you can be much more specific in your targeting. 

West Oak Creative started as a graphic design, social media management, and website development business. Which is A LOT. In the very first month I realized that I absolutely hated doing branding and logo design if I wasn't going to complete the website- I live for cohesive branding from start to finish. The next month, I realized that I HATED social media management- so boom, I eliminated that from my service offerings. Just this month I fine tuned my services and created a digital shop to reflect my true business objectives and passion (that's almost 5 months into my business), can you imagine if I'd niched down or tried to be to specific with my offerings too early? My business would have died. So- unless you're offering a single, professional service, I recommend incorporating any relevant services into your business model to start- your clients and experiences will help you edit and refine your business offerings. 

Homework: Guys! Please follow the steps above to uncover your why and pinpoint your business direction- then share it with me! You can comment below or send me a love note at

Next Week: Conducting research on your business, determining profitability, pricing, and where to source clients

Courtney Miller