Should You Start Your Own Business?
So often I meet people who are asking themselves the same question, and each time, a piece of advice my father once gave to me comes to mind:
“When no job, no salary, no golden opportunity could deter you from going out and starting your business, then it’s time to go for it.”
Everyone comes to the brink of diving into their entrepreneurial journey with different motivations, fears and uncertainties, but this is the one piece of advice that I find almost always applies.
If you were ready to take the leap and start your own thing but a job offer from your dream company came along, would you take it? If so, it may mean you’re not quite ready to fully commit to your start-up and face the realities of start-up life. It takes perseverance, grit and an unwavering commitment to make your company succeed. There is no guaranteed paycheck, no comfortable 9 to 5, no deferred responsibility. It’s all on you to make it happen!
The question is: is your motivation strong enough to see you through all of the challenges?
I’ve found that most people who are considering starting a business tend to fall into one of four categories. Depending on which type you are, you will have a different journey.
Does one of these characters sound like you?
“I want to be an entrepreneur, but I’m not sure of my business idea…”
The allure of starting a company and leaving behind the corporate grind is calling, and you just know you’d be a great founder. But you’re left questioning... is now the right time and is this business idea really the right one to run with?
My first piece of advice is always to check in with your expectations. Do you want launch this business because you believe in the importance of bringing your idea to life, or because you believe that your life as a founder will be better than your life today?
If it’s the latter, bear in mind, you’re taking on an immense challenge, and it may take time before the perks and benefits of running a successful business become a reality - which of course is never guaranteed.
My second advice to you would be to validate your business idea. If you’re not sure of your idea, there may be a good reason. For instance, you may not have thought of all the aspects, such as who would buy this product or service, and will people really value what you plan to do.
“I have a great idea, but do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?”
You’ve been working on creating a product or perfecting a service for months or years and everyone around you is telling you to launch. You know your offering is worthy, but you’re just not sure you’re ready to turn it into a real business.
What’s holding you back? Is it fear of failure, do you worry about running out of money, are you afraid of giving up that steady job and paycheck or are you worried about not having all the skills?
Any of these could be good reasons to hold off on launching your business. Then again, if you’re really passionate about your idea and you know it has potential, these challenges can all be overcome. For example, identify the areas in which your skills are lacking and take courses to upskill or bring in a partner and/or other employees to complement your skills and look at raising funding.
These are just some ideas. There are lots of different ways to overcome these challenges. However, entrepreneurship is not for everyone - and it may not be for you. Seeing you have such a great idea, have a think about whether you could bring it to life in another way. Not all great business ideas require you to give up your day job.
“I’ve just graduated! I can’t wait to turn launch my big idea!”
So, you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg? Well you’re ambitious, so that’s a good start. But consider this: if you start your own company, you’re not just responsible for producing your product or service. From finance, to HR, sales and marketing, you’re immediately responsible for everything else that goes along with it.
If you really believe you’ve got what it takes, go for it, but know this: if you haven’t had exposure to these things in an established business environment, you will have a lot more to learn than someone who’s transitioning from corporate. That curve will be much steeper and harder to climb – and some of those lessons will hurt more than they had to.
Also, why are you in such a hurry? Many people read inspiring founder stories, believing that you have to be really young to start a business. I call this the founder’s myth. You don’t need to be young to start a great business. Actually, many extremely successful founders launch post 40. You have time.
If you’re really burning to do it now – because you can’t imagine doing anything else – GREAT! Develop this core skill very quickly: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice! Be humble and hungry to learn. Ask people who have been on this journey about their experiences. Learn from them and try to find a great mentor.
“I love my hobby. People love what I do, maybe I can turn it into a business.”
Your hobby or side hustle has gotten so popular, you can no longer deny that you have the makings of a viable business on your hands. The only question is, do you really want it to be a business?
Considering how difficult entrepreneurship can be, it’s incredible how often people just fall into it. My advice is this: just because you have the potential for success, doesn’t mean it will make you happy. Afterall doing something as a hobby is quite different from doing something as a job.
Are you sure, you will still like your hobby as a job? Running a start-up can be hard – and sometimes people fall out of love with their business. Are you sure you want to risk losing your hobby?
A Final Thought
Everyone comes to this path with different motivations, fears and uncertainties. Perhaps you find yourself in one of these situations, or perhaps you’re in a league of your own. In any event, before you jump head long into your start-up, make sure you’re clear on your motivations, that you have the right expectations and that you have thought about all the aspects necessary to make your business a success.
At the core of it all, you need to be ok with uncertainty and you need to be utterly and completely convinced that what you’re doing is worth pursuing. If you’re confident about your business idea and you have the grit and determination to make it a reality, nothing will stand in your way or distract you from your path – not even the best paid job with the most attractive company in the world!
If you’ve come this far and you think you might have what it takes, I’d love to hear more about where you’re at. Leave a comment or send me a message. Let’s connect!