Progress requires risk, yet sometimes the pain we know seems better than the pain we have yet to experience. So we just stay put (stuck). But there are a few key trapeze moments you need to embrace, and only one that will help you build a real business.

Trapeze Moment #1
Deciding to go for it. Sometimes it's not really a trapeze moment, but an "entrepreneurial spasm" because you're sick of working for "the man". But sometimes it's truly a trapeze moment, making the decision to let go of a good thing to create one you think will be even better. Welcome to owning a new business! Apple has been epically good at this for years.

Trapeze Moment #2
Deciding to take money or go it alone. Always, always, always go it alone if you can. GROW into business (use revenue to build it), don't GO into business (using outside cash). All the stats show that businesses started with your own money have a MUCH bigger chance of success. And partnerships are the worst form of business. If they work, they're great, but they rarely work.

If you need money, take it from anywhere but a venture capitalist, who's only objective is to eat your business alive and spit it out three years later for cash.

Trapeze Moment #3--The Big One
Hiring your first Stakeholder (employee in Industrial Age companies). Everyone who starts a business will take the leap on the first two trapeze moments. But this is the one that decides whether you are creating a company, or just an income; whether you will get off the treadmill, or are building one.

22+ million businesses in America have no Stakeholders (employees); just an owner. My guess is at least 15 million of those have a death grip on the trapeze that says, "nobody is as good, committed, knowledgeable, experienced or caring as I am". As a result, they will never own a company. At best they will own a job, and almost always that job pays less per hour than when they worked for "the man". They are hostages to their business and will never get off the treadmill.

Just about any successful business owner will tell you the scariest thing they did early on was hire their first Stakeholder. They will also all tell you it was the best move they ever made and should have done it sooner. With rare exception, you'll never have enough money to hire your first person. Hiring them is what will make you that money.

In today's Participation Age world, there is no excuse for not taking the leap to hiring. In his book, Virtual Freedom, Chris Ducker shows that you can start your business with Virtual Assistants, almost eliminating the traditional risk of hiring. He emphasizes figuring out what you 1) Don't like doing, 2) Can't do, and 3) Shouldn't be doing (even if you like it and are good at it), and then finding VAs who can do those things.

The hardest one for most of us is 3) Shouldn't be doing. Those are the things we're great at, love doing, are more experienced at than anyone else, etc. But they're also almost always the things that keep us from doing the one thing that will push our business forward.

Let Go. Then...

Are you facing a trapeze moment right now? Does the pain you know seem better than the pain you have yet to experience? If so, here's a great question. Look in the mirror tomorrow morning and ask yourself, "What would I be doing right now if I wasn't (doing tasks, afraid, ignoring the need for hiring, too busy, so important in my business... fill in the blank with what is stopping you)?

The pain you have yet to experience is never as deep and lasting as the pain you will experience from, "I wish I would have..."

Take the leap!

Published on: Mar 31, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.