It goes against our upbringing to just start something without knowing everything and instead adopting a learn as you go mentality but that is what the business world requires of us. This is the part that paralyzes so many people, myself included but it is SO important to break through that. It’s important to remember that everyone feels that fear and that it is our “lizard brain” as Seth Godin calls it telling us not to take risk in order to protect us. Our lizard brain is left over from when we had to lay low and avoid predators to survive. The lizard brain is what makes roller coasters fun and diving boards scary even though we know we aren’t in any real danger.

The just start mentality isn’t just for starting a business. It can come into play when you add a new service or product, try a new marketing technique or decide to make any change in your business. The hardest part is taking the first step and trusting that you can figure out whatever challenges come your way.

When I first started marketing my business I didn’t know everything about marketing. I still don’t know EVERYTHING about marketing and I doubt that any one person does. I would learn one tactic, implement it, gauge the results and go from there. The beauty (and the scary part) of running your own business is that it is a perpetual experiment and you can change things to get better results whenever you like.

I was just in Amsterdam and I was surprised to learn that the founder of Heineken didn’t know all that much about brewing beer when he bought his brewery in 1864. The Dutch brewing industry had hit a low point and he was able to buy the brewery for a very reasonable price and even though he didn’t know everything about brewing beer, he knew he would learn and that he could bring on people who were brewing geniuses. There is another key lesson in that sentence: You can always bring on people who know more than you about a specific area of your business to help you. They get to work in their area of genius and you don’t have to spend your time on something you’re not naturally good at or don’t know much about.


Did Gerard Heineken know where his business would be in 5 or 10 years? Probably not but where is the excitement in running a business if you already know what is going to happen years down the road? He saw an opportunity and seized it knowing not how it would work, but how he would figure it out as he went. Most people seize up due to fear of failing but something I have learned to ask myself is: “What is the worst that could happen?”. Will I die? Will I put myself in serious mortal danger? Will my husband leave me? The answer to all of those questions is pretty much always “no” and all I really have to lose is some time and maybe a small amount of money. To me, that is well worth trying something new.

If you don’t start, you’ll never know what could have been. If it doesn’t work out, oh well but no one is going to die right? In my opinion, a so-called failure is often the best way to learn. After all, business is like one big experiment and scientists perform experiments by testing countless hypotheses. Do you think they worry about if their hypothesis is wrong? Being wrong is well worth the possibility of curing a disease and helping billions of people.

edison quote

What are you holding back on? What have you been afraid to start and put on the back burner until you have it all figured out? I challenge you to take the first step, whatever that may be, to getting it started today. After all, what is the worst that could happen?


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