Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop (CEW)
Build a Simple, Profitable Business That You Enjoy
Many readers have requested help, advice, and instruction in starting their own businesses, especially when it comes to the practical how-to aspects.
Here are some examples of what readers have shared:
I'd to love to start my own business someday and be more independent, but how do I build something that will make good money in a reasonable amount of time?
After six months my business is only generating a tiny stream of income. I've been struggling to build a following. Is there any way to speed things along?
I've been doing life coaching for the past two years, but I'm getting bored with it because it's the same stuff every week. I'd like to have more variety in my work, but I don't want to kill off my existing income or abandon my clients. Any ideas?
I'm one of those people who still works at a regular job. It's not terrible, and the pay is decent, but I can't say I'm passionate about it. I know I don't want to still be here in a year. I feel like maybe I should do something on my own, but I'm not sure what that would be. Should I just pick an idea and run with it, or do I need to plan things out?
It's been my dream to have my own business, but where do I start? Should I try to make a downloadable product? Or create a website? It seems like there are so many details to deal with. Where to begin?
Is it possible for you to start your own successful business? Of course it is. Millions of people from all walks of life have already done it.
However, it will likely take some hard work, especially in the beginning. As difficult as you think it may be, it will probably be an even bigger challenge than you expect.
I started my first business when I was 23 years old. I assembled a small team that designed and developed PC games and tried to license them to publishers. I started with $20,000 that I'd saved up from doing contract programming work, and within five years, I had turned that seed money into $150,000 — of debt. Whoops!
I made a lot of mistakes, mainly due to being naïve about business, but I kept at it. Eventually I turned that business into a success, and it remained profitable for several years until I retired from game development to start my personal development business.
Due to the experience I gained in that first business, my second business went much more smoothly. I started StevePavlina.com in 2004 for an investment of only $9 (just to register the domain name), and it's been successful ever since. It's a great match for my lifestyle and values too.
While I know that many people are attracted to entrepreneurship for the potential income and independence, there are other important gains to be made on this path. You'll build more courage and discipline, and you'll develop many new skills and abilities. You'll become a stronger, more centered, and more resilient human being. And ideally you'll create positive ripples in the world as well.
If the idea of starting your own business keeps coming up for you, I encourage you to consciously explore this path. It's an adventure to be sure, and like all adventures, it includes both wondrous rewards and perilous traps. Regardless of the outcome, you'll have a tremendous growth experience just from making the attempt. That alone is a powerful reason to pursue it.
What Are Your Odds of Success?
You may have heard some statistics about the risk of new business failures. A common stat is that 80% of new startups fail within the first 18 months. During the 1990s when I was just starting out, I heard that 80% of startups failed within the first 5 years. So maybe we're failing faster these days.
Let's look at these failure reasons more closely though.
The #1 reason that new startups fail is plain old incompetence, which accounts for about 45% of failures. This includes wasting money on lavish expenses, ill-considered pricing of products and services, tax avoidance that invites trouble with tax authorities, and improper record keeping. These problems are most common among new entrepreneurs due to lack of experience. Fortunately they're fairly easy to avoid.
Another 30% of failures are due to bad management decisions, such as granting credit to the wrong people and expanding too rapidly. This is classic over-optimism, and it's also avoidable if you learn how to do basic risk management.
A further 10% of failures only apply to businesses that manage physical inventory and work with product suppliers, like grocery stores or retail shops. So if you don't create that type of business, you're safe from these problems. And if you do create that type of business, you just need to set up some decent inventory management processes.
If you can avoid the most common pitfalls and if you run your business honestly and ethically, your odds of success improve substantially — way better than 50/50.
In fact, most of the failure reasons for startups are basic beginner mistakes. Even if you do make some of these mistakes now and then, they'll help you develop your business sense, so your future decisions will be smarter.
I admit that I made some dumb mistakes during my first few years in business. For instance, I bought a brand new photocopier for $700, even though my business only made a few hundred photocopies per year. I somehow convinced myself that it would be a good investment, but of course it was an unnecessary waste of money.
Another consideration is that some industries have higher startup success rates than others. A new service-based business has a 55% chance of still operating after its first four years. An educational or health-related business has a 56% chance.
A high percentage of startup failures are actually food-based businesses, especially restaurants. They must stock perishable goods, deal with multiple suppliers, and usually have a lot of competition. Even so, I know some entrepreneurs who've done very well in the restaurant business.
Please don't be discouraged by general startup failure stats. When you look deeper into such stats, you'll see that the typical reasons for failure are largely avoidable, especially if you have some help getting started. And even if you succumb to such mistakes, you'll learn to avoid them soon enough.
Getting Your Business Up and Running
For many new entrepreneurs, the biggest hurdle is just getting started. This includes doing the necessary legal filings, getting your basic operation up and running, and setting up a few simple systems.
I started my first business in California as a sole proprietorship, which is the simplest legal form for a U.S. business. You can create that type of business in an afternoon.
My second business began the same way, but in Nevada instead of California, and then I converted it to a Limited Liability Company about three years later.
While it can seem complicated to start a new business if you've never done it before, most of the startup work only has to be done once. There are readily available resources to walk you through the process step by step.
Obviously there are different national and local requirements, but regardless of where you live, the general process of starting a company is already documented, so you just need to follow the established steps, and you'll have yourself a legal business.
About 550,000 new businesses are started in the USA every month... and millions globally. So keep in mind that starting a business is a ridiculously common, everyday activity. If millions of people are going to start new businesses this month, you can too.
The Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop
Readers have been requesting an entrepreneurial workshop for many years, so I'm happy to say that we're giving them what they want.
The Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop is your chance to get started on this path. The purpose of this workshop is to help you create your own business, to make it profitable, and to enjoy what you've created.
The intention for this workshop is to make it inspiring and motivating of course, but I especially want it to be down-to-earth, practical, and filled with the how-to details that new entrepreneurs crave.
During the workshop we'll cover many key aspects of starting and running a business, including:
- Business models
- Business strategy
- Creating products and services
- Marketing your business
- Generating sales
- Managing cash flow and expenses
- Serving customers
- Staffing your business
- Negotiating deals
- Writing business contracts
- Networking and partnering
- Working with professionals
- Systematizing administrative and accounting tasks
When I review the list above, it looks pretty dry to me — too much like an MBA course. So while these topics will be covered, we're not going to do this like a university lecture. I want to help you internalize the key ideas in a more intuitive, hands-on way. Consequently, this workshop will include fun activities, challenges, games, and case studies, so you can immerse yourself in the vibe and mindset of being a conscious entrepreneur.
Since our workshops are very social, you're sure to make some new entrepreneurial friends as well, which can be especially helpful for staying on track and making your goal a reality.
Purpose, Lifestyle, and Profits
Another challenge for conscious entrepreneurs is to align your business with a sense of purpose and meaning.
Is the sole purpose of the business just to make money? While some businesses do indeed focus on sales, revenue, and profits as their top priorities, they're often dehumanizing places to work.
A conscious business holds itself to a higher standard. Generating sustainable income still matters, but it's also important to make a positive difference in the world.
The basic combo to balance is this:
Let me say that if you're just starting out, this will probably take some time. It's more common to start a business that satisfies one or two of these elements versus all three.
I encourage you not to settle though. Keep striving for all three. It may take some experimentation, probably over a period of years, but you'll get there. I usually find that the people who persist in seeking this balance do eventually achieve it — as long as they remain willing to progress beyond the partial matches they encounter along the way.
Many entrepreneurs don't think about the purpose and meaning aspects of their business till long after they start, when the lack of heart and spirit alignment is nearly destroying them. Initially they're too busy trying to figure out how to make money. I think that's a mistake. I encourage you to think about designing this balance into your business from the start. We'll explore how to do that at the workshop. It's easier than you think.
By aligning your business with your lifestyle desires and values, you'll feel more motivated, creative, and inspired. You'll enjoy your work a lot more. This will lead to better decisions, more compatible partners, and more supportive customers.
Get the Support You Need
The point of this workshop is to help you take the next steps on your path of conscious entrepreneurship, whether you're thinking about starting your first business or you already have some business experience.
During the workshop we'll allow ample time for Q&A and discussion, so you can get help with the particular business challenges you have, and you'll learn from others' challenges as well.
What are your sticking points on this path? Let's pool our combined knowledge, experience, and wisdom to help you move forward.
I wish there was a workshop like this when I was in my early 20s and just starting my first business. That would have saved me so much time and trouble. In fact, it was only when I sought out experienced entrepreneurs, befriended them, and began learning from them directly that I finally turned my first business around and made it profitable. That was way more helpful than reading dozens of books on the subject.
Now that I have more than two decades of experience on this path, I'm delighted to provide you with such a service, so you can get off to a smarter and smoother start in business than I did. I believe we can knock a few years off your learning curve, especially by helping you avoid pitfalls, identify opportunities, and apply simple and effective strategies.
Here are some of the topics we'll explore together at CEW:
- How to intelligently select the right business model for you
- How to start your business inexpensively
- How to transition smoothly from a different line of work
- How to set and achieve business goals that support your path of growth
- How to put your lifestyle first and still have a thriving business
- How to systematize and simplify legal and administrative tasks
- How to express your unique personality through your business
- How to think like an entrepreneur even when you're just starting out
- How to create products and services that people want to buy
- How to negotiate and close lucrative deals
- How to keep the cash flowing in any economy
- How to do easy and effective yin-style marketing
- How to devise a simple sales method that feels good and actually works
- How to grow your business through free referrals
- How to keep your business fun, motivating, and rewarding
- ... and lots more
Create a Business That's Uniquely Your Own
Come to the Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop, and learn how to create a profitable, life-affirming business that expresses your values, fuels your lifestyle, and accelerates your personal growth.
Come with a desire to create positive ripples as a conscious entrepreneur — and to encourage others on this path as well.
Treat yourself to the immersive benefits of a positive, supportive, and stimulating environment for 3 full days with like-minded people.
Register for CEW today, and get started building your own conscious business.
And have a fun weekend of learning, growth, and connection too! 🙂
With love and gratitude,