How did you start?
As outside observers, when we look at the careers of those in the spotlight who achieved success, it’s hard to imagine what things were like for them in the beginning.
The first step is the hardest (but you know this). At the start, we can be both inspired and overwhelmed by our overall vision. When we want our idea to both impact millions and make millions – it’s difficult to figure out the direction to take our first step.
For me, it all began with a domain name. It made my idea feel like a real possibility. The year was 2008 and after a venting session about my shock that women are still held back because of the patriarchy, a friend suggested I create a website that celebrated the stories of strong bold, women.
“You can call it Her Agenda.”
I wasn’t thrilled but I loved the name. Today, having a website is the norm, and respected. At that time, it was new and unfamiliar territory not respected as a valid media property. So I said okay, I will see if the domain name is available.
I never thought it would be since it seemed like such a genius name. For sure some publishing company who makes agenda books owned it.
So my first step, before the business plan, before the LLC, before the team, before anything was written, was to go on GoDaddy.com and search HerAgenda.com. Lo and behold, the domain name was available! And on December 30th, 2007 at 9:55 pm – Rhonesha (me!) a (broke) college freshman from Brooklyn NY paid $20.38 to purchase a URL that would eventually change my life, and countless others to lead me to where I am now. That first step is the reason I continued forward with the countless other steps to create the world I want.
With Her Agenda, I am making a world where ambitious women are rewarded for their ambition. Whether it’s a promotion, equal pay, financing for their businesses, or achieving their big goals, I built Her Agenda to provide the inspiration and information needed to make it happen or take that first step.
With that in mind, here are three tips for taking the first step to making the world you want:
1. Break It Down
You want inspiration from your big vision, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Map it out and work backward. What partners will you need? How will you make money? What tools can assist you? Consider mapping out your idea utilizing the business model canvas. This helps you to clearly and simply.
Once you have this, tackle things bit by bit consistently. One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Collier, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” From closing deals, to securing partnerships, to creating consistent revenue it starts with a simple small task. Sometimes it’s sending an email, or picking up the phone, sending a calendar invite, making an excel sheet – small things in isolation repeated creates big results in the end!
2. Make It Real
Put your stake in the ground. If you have a name for the business, secure the name across social media and digital platforms.
Secure your website domain (the URL) as well. Even if you don’t know what platform you want to use to actually build the website or host the site, you can simply start by purchasing the URL from a service like GoDaddy. Creating a website can be overwhelming if you never built one before – the good thing is there are accessible ways to get help. For example, GoDaddy has a professional service with transparent pricing to build it for you. If you want to figure it out on your own, there are GoDaddy guides to help you along the way.
Next, you want to be sure to protect your domains and IP. For this, a lawyer is recommended. If this overwhelms you consider some free consultation from SCORE to help guide you on what protections you need to invest in.
But as a small step to protect your identity digitally be sure to add on the extra privacy protection for your purchases. This is especially important if you have a home-based business, otherwise, your home address will be searchable for the world to discover.
The bonus of protecting yourself and putting your stake in the ground is that it creates accountability! When your community knows what you are creating, and you send the signal that you mean business, you attract accountability partners.
3. Create A By Any Means Necessary Mindset
Creating the world you want won’t be done without resistance. Whether that resistance is in the form of people through doubt, or from society in the form of obstacles you have to mentally prepare yourself to get through it.
My journey as a founder, working to make the world I want began before I even realized it. I created a mindset through an acronym of my name, (NESHA) No one Ever Slows Her Agenda. This meant whatever my goal is I was going to achieve it no matter what. I then evolved this mantra to become the motto for my company. We all face obstacles, but there’s more than one path to achieve your vision so the route may change but the destination can still be reached. Pursue your dreams and turn your ideas into reality, against all odds.
Through it all, from lack of access to funding to going without a salary, taking a risk and leaving a secure job I made it through. Today I am a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree at the helm of a media platform changing the lives of women everywhere. And it all started with purchasing a URL. You have the power. Tell your story, build your unique platform. Make the world you want, and share it with everyone.
[Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by GoDaddy.]