You may have had an idea to start your own business for many years without knowing what it would be. There are many ways you could have gotten to this point: maybe you’ve been working in corporate America for years and you believe you’ve gained enough experience to go out on your own. Maybe you’ve had a hobby or passion project and you want to start monetizing it. Many people feel the itch to start their own businesses and spend their entire lives sitting on the sidelines. At ESQx, this makes us very sad. We believe that free enterprise leads to a free society, and a free society is a good society.
The process of getting started on a business is overwhelming enough to cause you to keep procrastinating forever in your predictable 9-5, replete with steady paychecks and paid time off. To make things easier for you, here are some things to think about as you evaluate whether it’s time to get moving.
(1) They Have Skills
I believe this is the number one thing that is often ignored by people who are considering starting a business. People frequently underestimate their own abilities and claim that they are not able to stand on their own in the free market, preferring to work under the aegis of a comfortable corporate environment so they don’t have to worry about surviving on their own. This is totally understandable, but what you must understand is that almost any skill in the American economy can be monetized. “How will I sell my skill?” you ask, as you ignore the simplest career for many self-employed people: consulting.
A business does not have to be a pizza shop, an Etsy store, or a blog. If you have a skill, you have a potential business. Period. Everything else is details.
You may have to brush up on your marketing and presentation skills, or discover how you’re going to articulate your value proposition in the marketplace of ideas, but that’s part of the fun. It’s also imperative because now that you are directly engaging in the economy, you must become comfortable listening to what your customers want and meeting those needs. Who’s your target market? What makes you better than the competition? Why do customers need your service?
(2) They Hate Mediocrity
There’s a high level of confidence that small business owners must channel in order to be successful. One of those things is a severe dislike of mediocrity. If you find yourself constantly underwhelmed by the goods and services you consume as a customer, you may be a future business owner. Ask yourself if you are constantly complaining about poor quality, a lack of customer service, or a general feeling that your needs are going ummet. These problems present a market opportunity—for you to exploit.
Mediocrity runs rife in most professions. Do you know how many Americans earn a paycheck by checking into work in the morning, dicking around on their cellphones, and leaving early? Look around.
If you’ve spent most of your life working in different companies and you’re tired of making money for someone else who has lower standards than you do, then why are you letting your employer keep the profits? If you can figure out a way to do a better job, you will reap the profits (and the respect, admiration, and opportunities than usually accompany excellence).
(3) They Accept Risk
Each person has a different survival strategy. If you are in the middle of a normal distribution (bell curve) in a particular category, it may be advantageous to seek the protection of the herd to keep yourself out of trouble. There’s no shame in working for a Fortune 500 corporation or the government, as long as you accept that it’s a relatively risk-free environment that is likely to ensure a steady paycheck, healthcare benefits, and a gold-plated watch at the age of 65. You could also get laid off.
People shy away from starting businesses because they carry a high degree of financial and personal risk. Got a family to raise? Probably shouldn’t do it. Have extremely high levels of debt? Don’t do it. Need a steady income? Stay away.
Also, remember that being passionate about something is not enough to start a business. You cannot simply build a business and expect it to work. You have to do market research to figure out whether investing time and money into a new venture is worth it. You might have to go without income in the beginning. You have to refine operations constantly. Understand that this is no panacea.
However, these risks can be mitigated with a business plan. Having a good business plan allows you to design strategies and to hold yourself accountable throughout different stages of your new venture. A business without a plan is doomed to fail. Is it any surprise?
Just Do It?
Nobody will ever tell you that you’re ready to start a business. It has to come from within. Understand that the process will be a journey of unprecedented ups and downs. It will be exciting at times, even energizing. It will be intimidating. It will be scary. It may unlock possibilities you’ve never dreamed of. It may run your life. However, it can also be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make. If you’re ready to take the next step, ESQx is there for you every step of the journey. Let’s build your dream together.