I have talked with hundreds of people about starting a business. People often tell me would love to start a business--then follow up with a list of reasons why they aren't able to take the first step. From "I'm not good enough" to "not enough savings" and everything in between, there are many reasons starting a business can feel impossible.
And I understand. Starting a business feels overwhelming. Though I knew from my first lemonade stand that startup life was for me, it took me years of hesitating before I finally took the plunge. Here are the seven common reasons you might be hesitating--and seven ways to overcome these fears.
1. I don't know how.
The beauty of business is that you can learn everything as you go from web resources, books, and peers. Most libraries have a business desk staffed with knowledgeable librarians who specialize in helping people just like you get started with business planning. Many libraries have free online access to the Lynda.com training database so you can learn online free and at your own pace. When I first started my company, Google was my best friend--anything I didn't know was only a few clicks away.
With increasing numbers of people working for themselves, chances are you know at least one person who is self-employed. Take them for coffee, ask them how they got started. It doesn't have to be in the same industry. Ask for introductions to other entrepreneurs they know.
2. I'm too young or too old.
I hear twentysomethings say they're too young and sixty somethings say they're too old. But it doesn't matter. The average American will change careers 5-7 times. That's careers, not jobs. Age is truly one of the most meaningless measures of readiness. You can learn new things, you can adapt to change, and you can start a business at any age. You're never too young or too old do change your life and start something you're proud of.
3. What if I fail?
I fail frequently and you will, too. Get comfortable with the reality that 99 percent of everything you do won't work. But the 1 percent that does work is magical.
4. My parents don't support my startup dreams.
There are a lot of difficult dynamics at play when discussing your life choices with parents. But unless you're asking your parents to bankroll your startup, it's not really up to them. You only have one life, build one that you're proud of without worrying about the opinions of others.
5. I don't have the cash.
It's a common misconception that you need a lot of capital to start a business. If you have access to a computer and the internet, you can start any number of businesses. I started my business with a $500 credit card loan and a hefty chunk of student loans. A lot of the software you need is available free and there are a variety of businesses you can start small. As you start collecting payments, you can grow your business.
6. What will my friends or partner think?
If your friends or partner don't support your dreams, get new ones. Seriously. It's hard to let friends and lovers go, but if they are only contributing negatively to your dreams, it's time to let them go. Practice now by telling your friends about your business idea--they might surprise you.
7. I'm not good enough.
Stop it. You know you're wrong about that. It's going to be scary, but no one else is better equipped to make your ideas and dreams into reality.
Running your own business is a lot work and there are many stressful moments. But the real rewards of building something you're proud of far outweigh the imagined obstacles. Now you're ready to start a business--no excuses!