3 Things You DON’T Need to Start Your Business

3 things you don't need businessHave I told you about my first business? The one I started in college?

When I was about 19 years old and a sophomore in college, my life changed when Lisa Price, owner of Carol’s Daughter, came to campus to share how she grew her business into the household name it is today.

After listening to her tell stories of whipping up body butters in her kitchen, storing boxes of product in her basement, and selling them to customers out of her living room on the weekends, I was totally sold on the entrepreneurial lifestyle. That day, I walked out of that auditorium determined to start my own business.

The first business I started, literally the day after hearing Lisa Price’s speech, was…you guessed it — a natural hair care company named Material Gurl Beauty (with the “girl” spelled with a “u” because I thought I was cool).

material gurl biz card material gurl product pic1 material gurl product pic2

Though I ultimately let that business go, I always look back on that little experiment positively because Material Gurl Beauty is what ultimately led me to Think & Grow Chick. Many of the mistakes I made back then taught me major lessons that I use on my business today.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was what you think you need and what you actually need to start a business are often very different when you’re first starting out. One of the biggest mistakes I made with my first business was wasting time (and money) on things that didn’t really matter in the infancy stage of a business. Here’s my top 3 things you DON’T need to start a business…

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7 Must Read Books for New Women Entrepreneurs

As this year rolls to a close, I think it’s interesting that more and more women are declaring that 2015 will be the year they finally get their business off the ground. Well you already know that I’m totally with it! I think everyone and their mama should start a business — it’s such a powerful way to take ownership of your skills, time, and income!

To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of my top 7 books for new women entrepreneurs. Here are my picks:

7-books-for-entrepreneurs

#1 – E-Myth Revisited (click here to buy)

This was the first business book I read that really taught me how entrepreneurship actually worked. I was a freshman in college with big dreams of being “an entrepreneur” but I had no idea what that actually meant. Author Michael Gerber does a great job in this book of breaking down the difference between working in your business and working on your business. A lot of people (especially women) start businesses based on something they do well and are passionate about, but they don’t actually know how to run a business. For instance, if you are an amazing baker and you bake the most delicious cupcakes in the city, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be successful at running a bakery. Baking cupcakes and running a bakery require two totally different skill sets. This book shows you how to be more business-minded at what you do.

#2 – The Lean Startup (click here to buy)

This book is slightly technical but it’s still a pretty easy read. I put this book on this list of best books for women entrepreneurs because I’m tired of talking to women who think they need a fancy website, immaculate business card, and a million-dollar investor to just to START their business. I love this book because it cuts to the chase and shows you that you don’t need any of that stuff. What you need is a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) which is what this book teaches.

A MVP is basically the smallest, most basic version of your product or service. For instance if you wanted to open your own hair salon, your MVP might be doing your first customer’s hair at home in your living room. If you want to travel the world hosting big conferences, your MVP might be a free 30-minute talk you give at your local library. The point of an MVP is to get the core part of your business idea out in the marketplace, in front of real customers so you can see how they respond to it. Based on how customers respond to your MVP, you keep tweaking your business idea until you’ve received good enough feedback to warrant building the larger, “full” version of your business.

#3 – Book Yourself Solid (click here to buy)

I’ve only recently read this book but I love it! Book Yourself Solid, written by Michael Port, is especially helpful to entrepreneurs who want to start a service based business. I’m spotlighting this book for women especially because Port teaches you how to effectively market and price your services — two areas that many women entrepreneurs are flat out uncomfortable with.

I like this book because he also forces you to determine who your ideal customer is. This is hugely important and where a lot of women entrepreneurs fail. It’s not enough to know what kind of business you are starting — you also have to know who needs or wants what you are selling (and no, it’s not “everybody”). This book comes with a free downloadable workbook to help you go through all the exercises. It’s super comprehensive but when you’re done with it, you’ll have a complete plan and system in place for finding your dream clients and making your dream sales. ;-)

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[PODCAST] How to Break Down Big Goals into “Do-able” Steps

break down a big goal

Got big plans for 2015?

Oh I know you do.

I see you on Instagram…

A photo posted by Raevyn Jones (@raevynjones) on

I see you on Twitter…

Mmmm hmm. Everyone is talkin’ BIG game for the new year.

Which is amazing! I LOVE it! I’ve got big goals on deck too! But the questions is…

…do you know what to do with those big goals? As in, now that you’ve set your big goals, do you know how to reach them?

The #1 key to successfully reaching your biggest, baddest, kinda scariest goals is to break them down into “do-able” steps. But just how do you do that? Glad you asked! I recorded a podcast outlining my 7-step process for breaking down big goals:

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Got Goals? Here’s Some Free Printable Goal-Setting Cards…

goal-setting-cards

By now you know that I’m a BIG proponent of finding an accountability partner for your goals next year. I just linked up with an amazing accountability partner last month and already, I’m made so much progress towards my goals for next year.

One of the best things about having a good accountability partner is that they come up with great ideas. When I met up with my accountability partner for our first meeting to go over our goals for next year, I was intrigued as she busted out these super cute goal cards:

Career Goals - Charminae

She told me she preferred to keep her goals on cards because (1) she’s a visual person and like being able to “see” her goals and (2) they’re so handy that she can take them with her and review them everyday.

I LOVED this idea! So much so that I decided I would put my goals on cards too! Here are the goal-setting cards I came up with. Voila!

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B-Side Mastermind: Monthly Meeting #10 (December)

b-side meetingHello and welcome to The B-Side, a mastermind group for entrepreneurial women! On the first of each month, I share my business-related goals, challenges, and triumphs while inviting you to do the same! I’d love for you to join me; you can learn more about participating by clicking here.

Today marks the last B-Side meeting of the year!  Below are my results for November, plus what I plan to do to finish the year off strong:


Last Month’s Results

  • Get new, professional photos taken. I successfully got some GREAT professional, “business-y” shots last month. My friend who I only recently found out is an undercover photographer was so gracious to do my photoshoot for free! The initial shots looked really nice; now I just have to wait for her to retouch them and send them to me. Here’s a sample shot:

  • Finish the videos for my newsletter offer. I didn’t finish this — but for good reason! I initially was going to offer a free 5-day challenge that included videos as my newsletter offer but I decided to put that on hold and offer my new Think & Grow Chick Private Community instead. I’d been toying with the idea of having a separate community for readers to share ALL their life goals (vs just business goals like we do here in the B-Side) for a while but kept putting it off. I finally pulled the trigger on it last week! If you haven’t joined yet, check it out here.
  • Stick to my editorial & social media calendar. I did pretty good with this last month! I hit my posting goals and even got a few new podcasts up. I will continue this going forward.

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