Excuses. We all have them. And eventually we all regret making them, especially when those excuses kept us from chasing--and possibly achieving--our dreams.
So if you've always wanted to start a business, even just a business on the side while you keep your full-time job (which in many circumstances is the best approach to take), see if any of the following are unnecessarily holding you back:
1. "I'm too late."
Yeah, Jobs beat you to the graphical interface and mouse, but Xerox beat him.
Dell wasn't the first to cobble together his own computers. Zuckerberg wasn't first in social media. The list goes on.
Innovation is never one-and-done; some of the most successful companies are based on refining earlier ideas and innovations.
You're only too late if you're not willing to be faster, stronger, cheaper, or in some real way better than whoever got there "first."
2. "I'm too afraid."
Think you're special? You're not. Every entrepreneur was scared, and is still scared.
That means you have a choice. You can let your fears hold you back, or you can use those fears to fuel you to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Complacency is the enemy of achievement. Fortunately, the fear of not achieving your dreams can drive complacency away.
You just have to decide you're more afraid of not trying than of not succeeding.
3. "I don't know the right people."
Between company websites and LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms you can reach almost anyone besides the Pope and maybe Mark Cuban. (Wait; even I pulled that off.)
In fact some people are surprisingly accessible; maybe that's one of the secrets of their success.
Of course the people you reach out to may not respond. If they don't, that's probably your fault. Never forget that the more influential the person the more they're besieged with requests. Have a good reason to connect, give before you expect to receive, and you might be surprised by who responds.
4. "I need to find funding first."
Entrepreneurs are masters of the art and science of accomplishing more with less: less money, less people, less time, less everything.
You will never, ever have "enough" cash or capital or funding. If you don't have enough money to launch your business the way you plan, then change your plan.
You can't always control what you have, but you can control what you choose to do with what you do have.
5. "I don't have the time."
You, like everyone, has the same amount of time. The only difference is what you do with your time.
If you were trapped underground and only had 24 hours worth of oxygen you wouldn't check your Twitter feed or chat with friends or spend a little "me time" in front of the TV. You'd dig and dig and dig and pour all your energy into tunneling free.
Apply the same level of importance and urgency to what you want to accomplish and your schedule will instantly clear... because finding time is always a matter of how badly you want something.
6. "I don't have the right skills."
No problem. Go get them. Go to school. Read a book. Read ten books. Talk to friends. Get a part-time job at a small business. Get a part-time job in a completely different industry. Find someone who has done what you want to do and volunteer to work for free in return for the opportunity to learn.
Does that seem too hard? Like too big of a price to pay? Or simply not fair? Then accept you will never have the skills--and stop complaining.
Skills and knowledge are earned, not given. Go earn them.
7. "I can't seem to come up with a great idea."
Dreaming up something new is really, really hard.
Reacting to something that already exists is really, really easy. Just walk around and think about all the things that don't work well, are too expensive, that waste time... you'll spot tons of problems.
The solutions to those problems are ideas.
"New" is hard to imagine. "Better" is much easier. Most companies are built on "better," not "new."
8. "It just seems too risky."
Any risk you take today is a risk you can recover from. In time you can overcome almost any setback, stumble, or failure, and emerge stronger and smarter and better equipped to succeed the next time.
If you never try all you wind up with are regrets. When you're old and grey and "done" you'll look back on your life and think, "I wonder what might have happened if I had only..."
That might be the only risk you should never take.
9. "I'm more of a big picture person."
No you're not. You're just too lazy to do the grunt work. Or you think you've already paid your dues.
Every successful entrepreneur rolls up his or her sleeves and outworks everyone else around. (That's one of the reasons they're so successful.)
You don't need some undefined innate quality to be great at execution. All you need is self-discipline.
10. "I really need to wait until everything's perfect."
"Everything" will never be perfect.
Do your best. Then step back. If a little more work will result in a markedly better outcome, go for it. If a little more work will not make a difference anyone but you will notice, let it go.
Then you make improvements based on the feedback you get from the only people whose opinions really matter: your customers.
11. "I have a great idea... but no one seems to get it."
Oh, they get it. They get that it's no good.
Truly great ideas can be described in a few words. Truly great products can be described in a few words. When no one seems to get it, the only person not getting it is you.
Let go of your pride and agenda and "unique point of view" and figure out where you've gone wrong.
12. "It just seems too hard."
Long journeys are hard.
Individual steps are easy.
You can't accomplish any difficult goal overnight, but you can accomplish one step, however small, towards that goal. Think about the end of a journey and all that will be required along the way and you'll never start.
Instead, just do one thing that will help get you there. Then build on it. That you can do.
13. "It will be too embarrassing if I fail."
Failing in public can be embarrassing. (You should have seen me when I first started speaking; talk about public failure. Ugh.)
If you fail, a few people will talk about you. But those are the same people who would never dare try something themselves. So don't worry about them.
On the other hand, tons of people will respect you for taking a shot. They'll recognize a kindred spirit. They'll pick you up. They'll encourage you. They know what it's like to try and fail and try again.
Why? They're people living their lives on their terms.