Starting your own business is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. When I started my first business in 2010, I had no idea what I was doing. I literally Googled “How to start a business” and then hoped and hiccuped my way through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, making countless mistakes along the way.
I’m more than a decade into my entrepreneurial journey, and I’m still learning! That’s why I was thrilled when I learned that Amy Porterfield, the queen of online marketing and an entrepreneur I’ve admired for years, was collecting her considerable wisdom into a book. It’s called Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World.
Here’s the thing: I wish I had this book when I was starting my own business. If you’re even curious about starting something new, you can’t afford not to read this book. It’s a game changer — which should come as no surprise, given its author.
Amy Porterfied is a powerhouse. Her top-rated podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, has been downloaded nearly 50 million times. Less than a decade after quitting the corporate world (including a stint traveling the world with Tony Robbins), Amy had built an eight-figure empire serving more than 50,000 students, plus countless more turning to her on socials and via email for advice.
While it was nearly impossible to narrow down my favorite insights from the book, I’m sharing three below that I wish I could go back in a time machine and share with myself right before I gave my two weeks notice.
HAVING NON-NEGOTIABLES IS NON-NEGOTIABLE
Amy wrote this book to help aspiring and new entrepreneurs build a solid foundation. Most new businesses fail — and many entrepreneurs lose parts of themselves or their families trying everything to make them work — so the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Amy told me that, looking back at her journey, she wishes she had known the importance of setting boundaries from the beginning. When you’re launching your own company, it’s easy to fall into the trap of over committing yourself and working 24/7. Eventually, your business creeps into your personal life, or worse, overrules it. Instead, Amy advises you to identify the type of lifestyle you want, and build your business around those rules.
“Do you want to be home at the dinner table with your family? Do you wanna be able to do pickup time with the kids at three o’clock?,” she asks. “These are things that if you decide early on, you will create the business and life that you really have never even imagined you could have.”
Amy’s genius concept of “tiger time” is a strategy that she uses to hold herself accountable to her non-negotiables. Whether it’s blocking out time to create content or spend time with the family, she makes a plan and sticks to it. “I’m like a tiger with her cubs. Nothing gets in the way. This is what I’m doing with my time.” Outline what is most important to you and fiercely protect those values. After all, as Annie Dillard famously wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
A 10% EDGE IS ALL YOU NEED
A constant theme throughout Two Weeks Notice is the idea of always iterating and improving. When you start your own business, you won’t have everything figured out right away. You have to start somewhere and then evaluate what’s working or not working.
When you feel like you aren’t prepared enough to launch the business of your dreams, Amy encourages her students to simply identify their “starter idea.” What skills or personal experiences do you have right now that you can use to teach or serve others? You don’t need to get yet another certification or go back to graduate school. As long as you have a 10% edge, meaning you are 10% ahead of your prospective customers, you are knowledgeable enough to shorten their path to success.
Over time, your business model will likely develop into something different. You’ll adjust as you learn more about your workflow and your customers’ needs. In fact, when Amy first left the corporate world to launch her own business, it was something entirely different than it is today. The starter idea for her now $85 million empire was to do social media for small businesses. She knew just enough to get off the ground, and continued learning on the job. Although she didn’t enjoy it, her starter idea helped her get to where she is now:
“Today, you couldn’t pay me enough money to do that. I have no desire whatsoever. And I didn’t enjoy it when I was doing it. I didn’t know that till I started to do it and thought this isn’t the kind of business I want. So I had to make some pivots, but I had to start somewhere. Thank God I did. So I wanna encourage everyone listening that it’s not your end all be all. What you start with doesn’t need to be what you end up with or do forever and ever. It’s just to get you going.”
CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE ARE NOT THE SAME
One of my favorite parts of Amy’s book is the poignant distinction she makes between confidence and courage. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have confidence to start your own business, you just need some courage.
Courage is taking a leap of faith because you want to achieve your goal badly enough. You move forward even if you don’t have proof that everything will work out in the end. On the other hand, confidence is what courage becomes after you learn from your experiences or have some success.
Amy explains that the higher your “capacity for zero,” the more courage you’ll have. This is one of my many favorite gems that Amy shared. “Are you willing to start with zero social media following, zero money in the bank from your business, zero email subscribers? Are you willing for people to look at you and think, ‘Hmm, what is she doing? This is different…’ It’s this capacity for zero. I’m willing to start over to get to where I ultimately want to become.”
Starting from zero sounds terrifying. However, Two Weeks Notice provides readers with a step-by-step manual for how to set yourself up for success when starting your own business.
If you want to be your own boss and create the business and lifestyle of your dreams — or even if you just need a gut-check on the business you’re running now— bet on yourself. Take the first step, and then the next one. You’ve got the courage, I promise!
For more from my conversation with Amy, you can listen to our conversation on my Creating Superfans podcast. Amy’s book, Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World, is out now and available everywhere books are sold.