The term “start your own business” used to be one of the most intimidating concepts on the planet for me. The phrase “You can never get rich by working for someone else” has always been very appealing. I just had no idea how to do it and I was scared to death to even try. I thought it involved thousands of dollars in startup costs, making no money at first, and possibly losing everything I have. I feared failure, I feared the unknown, and I feared financial risk.
I then came across a few people who had started their own businesses successfully. I wouldn’t say I officially ever “studied” them but I did ask them a lot of questions about how they did it.
Just Do It
At some point in time you have to go ahead and start. Take the plunge, jump off the cliff, whatever you want to call it. You want to do a certain amount of research and have some sort of plan, but if you wait forever, well, you’ll be waiting forever.
You would think this would be an obvious part of anyone’s startup business, but I disagree with that. For both businesses that I started, I never established any goals until after the first six months. Why? Because in the beginning, there will probably be unforeseen obstacles or delays. Plus, if you’re already dealing with a fragile ego regarding your new business, why input something into it that may exacerbate the issue? If you have some grand set of goals and you don’t achieve them right off the bat, your odds of giving up are higher.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
Another common mistake that I see is that people want to do endless research before opening their business. This is their subconscious fear of risk in play. Guess what? You’re never going to know it all. Do your due diligence, but don’t let it get in the way of reaching your dreams.
Don’t Fear Making Mistakes, Fear Repeating Them
You will never start up a business mistake-free. It’s just impossible to avoid all of them. What you can avoid is repeating those mistakes. In order to do this, you have to be able to identify when a mistake has been made, find out why it happened, find a viable solution and institute it. I’m getting a little subjective here, but I think you get my point. Too many times I’ve seen people’s egos get in the way, or they’ve been unwilling to ask for outside help. One thing I’ve always kept in mind throughout the short lives of both of my businesses is that I don’t know it all, and there are lots of people out there who know more than me and can help me foresee and avoid mistakes.
Feet First, Not Head First
I found one thing in common with almost all of the people I spoke to regarding starting their own business. They minimized their risk in the beginning. They all did something very similar to this:
- Worked a day job.
- Started a second venture on the side.
- Worked hard to develop it and make it successful.
- When/if successful, slowly eased into making their second business their main source of income, and then let that day job slowly slip away.
Starting your own business can and should be a pretty scary thing. If there is not at least a little fear in your mind, you’re probably a little too arrogant. But don’t let this fear stop you from realizing your dreams. Find your talent or passion, turn it into something people are willing to pay you money for, and then get after it! Use some caution, do some research and don’t dive in head first, and you could very easily be working for yourself one day.
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(photo credit: maveric2003)