“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” Walt Disney
‘Fear of failure’ is probably the most common reason budding entrepreneurs never get beyond the armchair idea:
- Fear of putting yourself out there
- Fear of quitting your day job
- Fear of what friends will think
- Fear of having no money
- Fear that we don’t have what it takes
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear that your idea is rubbish
Let’s be honest, starting up your own business and making that dream a reality is an exciting but scary thought. Much can go wrong and some things will (you can count on it). It certainly requires belief, boldness and courage – you are stepping into the unknown.
Go for it
I have worked for myself for over 20 years and during that time I have re-invented myself countless times, often taking a completely different path with each new (ad)venture.
Sometimes it hasn’t worked and the bank balance has hugged the ground more often than I would have liked. I have gone from earning almost nothing to over £250k a year and back again.
My point is, you can do it and you should do it. Life is too short to be in a job you hate, waiting for the day you retire just for a few rounds of golf and some ‘me time’ in the garden. Live life on your terms, not your bosses.
Things to think about before you begin the journey
- Finish what you start, or know when to call it a day and move on. There is a saying somewhere (I can’t for the life of me remember who said it) it goes something like ‘Good entrepreneurs never give up, but wise ones do’
- Trust your gut feelings. I have found out the hard way that this is a very under valued resource.
- Find people who will tell you the truth
- Find people who will support you with honesty as well as encouragement
- Find a mentor
- Celebrate the small wins. Every win brings confidence, proof of concept and trust in your own entrepreneurial abilities.
- Don’t guess. Get the facts, do your research and establish a sound business plan.
Note: I have a good friend who would begin every new idea for a business with a huge business plan spanning dozens of pages. He took so long to do this, that by the time he was finished his enthusiasm for the original idea had gone. Each plan ended up on the shelf, never to be looked at again. It was the wrong sort of plan.
- Good ideas are common, and quite honestly anyone can come up with one. What is uncommon and will turn that idea into a reality is self discipline, the ability to listen and a willingness to keep going. It may sound harsh, but if you don’t have all of these then stop now. You will only waste your time and your money.
- Going it alone or with a partner. Now, I have done both a number of times and the most important thing I have learned is that, if you do choose a business partner, choose wisely and for the right reasons.
Starting a business with another person is like being married to them. You are embarking on a serious relationship that will inevitably come under pressure at different times along the journey. There are shared banks accounts, legal obligations, contracts and finance agreements to manage. Any partner must bring a dimension to the partnership that you can’t do without. Should you just go it alone instead?
- What if your idea doesn’t work? Do you just pack it in or can you make it work another way? Some of my past start-up ventures have lasted no more than six months, whilst others are still going strong.
- Don’t keep your new idea a secret. Yes, it is tempting to keep it to yourself. What if my friends think it is a ridiculous idea? What if someone steals it? My view on this is, don’t keep it a secret. Get it out there and get some feedback, get some advice. Often the initial idea in your head bears no relationship to the final finished version.
Note of caution: Some people are, by nature, filled with negativity; they can drain your own fragile beliefs and fill you with doubt. Recognise these people for what they are, take from it constructive criticism, then move on.
- Saying NO frees you. We are all people pleasers at heart, even the grumpiest of us. We want to say ‘yes’, especially to friends and customers. Wise entrepreneurs say NO. By saying no you allow yourself to stay focused and avoid your valuable time being wasted or misdirected away from your core idea. This is a lesson that has taken me many years to master.
Questions you must face up to
These questions are tough, questions that are too often avoided by new entrepreneurs of any age.
These crucial questions and my own perspective on them will help you decide whether your idea will succeed or fail, whether you should pursue the dream or walk away. Whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur or ‘olderpreneur’.
But remember – ‘You’ve got to jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down’.
Dream big my friend and never give up. Yours is a dream worth chasing
If you’re ready to take the next step on your exciting start up journey, I can help you.