Some people aren't cut out for entrepreneurship.
The highs are high, and the lows are... devastating.
Running a business, regardless of size, can be an incredibly revealing experience. It's a long-haul race that takes longer than you think.
Many people working full-time often uncover a revelation at some point in their career: they can make more money, have more free time, and be more fulfilled if they work for themselves.
Why not take your graphic design skills and drum up a few clients of your own rather than work for your boss? You know how to take beautiful photos - would it make sense to step out and try to make it as a business owner?
After taking that leap of faith, it's not uncommon to feel far more stressed and overwhelmed than ever. You've gone from being responsible for one aspect of a business to all aspects; your job has increased 10x.
Still, running a business is an incredible opportunity to help others, build something bigger than yourself, and make money.
How do you know if you should start a business, and more, when's the right time?
You've Got to Have a Vision for Change
Michael Gerber's 1986 novel, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, has been hailed by many as a must-read novel for small business owners.
In The E-Myth, Gerber expertly analyzes and breaks down the approach many small business owners take. He defines three key personalities: the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur.
Technician: You live in the present and are focused on making your product, selling it, and delivering it. The day-to-day entirely absorbs you.
Manager: You focus on achieving results through people and systems in the present and strategizing for the future.
Entrepreneur: You define the business and focus on closing the gap between where you are today and where you want to be.
Under Gerber's analysis, most small business owners fall under the Technician personality; they focus on getting the work done rather than casting a vision for the future.
There's nothing wrong with starting a small business based on what you're good at. If you're a competent accountant looking to go out on your own, running a solo accounting firm could make sense! If you're working in web design and decide to build up clientele on the side, you can be incredibly successful.
It's when your dream of having a burgeoning empire remains unfulfilled because you're stuck in the day-to-day operations that frustration begins to fester.
You suddenly find yourself stuck.
Instead, it's critical to start with the end goal in mind. Defining your vision before doing any work can help you identify your North Star, the guiding light you're working towards. Creating a clear plan, defining and understanding the roles involved in your small business, and knowing when to hire help to slowly make the transition from Technician to Entrepreneur are essential steps.
It may take hard work and plenty of time, but your vision, regardless of how big, can be realized with proper planning.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Small business ownership means wearing every hat imaginable.
You're fully responsible for accounting, marketing, product development, customer support, sales, operations, and more. No matter how much you study, it's impossible to be an expert in every field.
Luckily, you don't have to operate your business in a vacuum!
Finding help early and often at the beginning of starting a small business can significantly impact your success. Outsourcing things you're not good at or don't understand might seem expensive or intimidating, but it'll consistently save you time and money over the long run.
Similarly, finding a community of like-minded business owners with similar goals can help ensure that you're following the right path.
With a community around you, you'll be able to learn from the mistakes of others and prevent issues before they happen. You'll find new ways of doing things you wouldn't have seen before. You'll reach your goals faster from the accountability of the people around you.
You've Got to Actually Start
"It's like Uber for pets."
Everyone has a friend with the next big app idea.
You can read and talk and think about starting a business all day, but your idea remains abstract until you venture out into the world and create something of value for others.
Many people view starting a business as an impossible endeavor. There's paperwork to file, bank accounts to open, contracts to create, websites to develop, a brand to make... the list goes on and on!
The truth is, in the beginning, all you need is something to sell.
Try selling something to find out if starting a business is right for you. Create a product or service that aligns with what you'd like to offer and find your first customer. You can quickly learn a lot from their feedback and see growth opportunities over time.
The hardest part is getting started.