Starting Your Own Business: Getting Beyond The Excuses

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Everyday as we slip further and further into recession, I’m hearing more and more complaints from my friends and coworkers about their job security and overall satisfaction in the workplace. The level of concern and panic is very real, even worse than I can remember from the dot com bust of 2002.

Most of my friends depend on their day jobs as their primary source of income so they are very afraid of getting laid off. What’s worse is that some of them absolutely hate their line of work but are sticking to it because they need the money.

Lately, I’ve been fed up with listening to their complaints. Why? Because it’s one thing to complain and another thing to do something about it. You people know who you are. Why don’t you start your own little side business to make some extra cash?

Photo By JM3

That way if you lose your job or get laid off, you at least have other income streams to carry you through the bad times. Why are you sticking with a job that you can’t stand? Why are you sitting here complaining to me instead of taking action?

I’ve heard my fair share of excuses to these questions lately so I thought I’d take the time and put these concerns to rest. While some of these excuses are valid for some people, most of the them absolutely do not apply. What are the top excuses for not starting a business?

I Don’t Have The Time

This is by far the excuse I hate to hear the most.

“I have kids and a day job. When am I going to find time to start a business?”
“I have a hard time keeping up as is. I only can do so much in a day.”

Let me ask you this. If you had a friend or family member in need, would you be able to find the time to help them? If your children really needed you to help out with their homework, would you brush them off? If you can find the time to help other people, you can find the time to help yourself.

Send me your schedule and I’ll bet that I can find a small block of time for you to explore business ideas. A buddy of mine told me flat out the other day that he had no time or energy to think about doing a business and then proceeded to chat with me about the latest episode of a popular television show he was watching.

If you’re going to make an excuse, at least be up front about it. Don’t complain about your job and how you have no time, and then tell me about how you are wasting it.

The fact is is that we all have extra time, but we are lazy. In these hard times ahead, laziness is not going to cut it.

I’m Afraid of Failing

Well geez, you’re also afraid of getting laid off too. Which is worse? Would you rather be afraid of something you can’t control, or would you rather be afraid of something that you can help make succeed?

Would you rather spend a good chunk of the day in a job that you hate or would you rather devote your time to something that you actually enjoy?

You can’t really predict how your employer is going to act so why bother worrying about it? Spend your valuable time thinking about ways to ease your pain and stress. These days, the penalties of failure aren’t that great.

Starting a web based business is extremely low cost and there’s practically no financial risk if your idea goes under. Start a freelance business, an online store or a blog.

It’s only like 10 bucks a month to host a website. Throw something up and go with it. Learn as you go along and take your time.

What Will My Friends Think If I Fail?

Stop being so self centered. Nobody cares or will judge you if your business does not succeed. The world does not revolve around you and nobody is keeping tabs on your progress.

Would you think any less of your friend if he or she took a risk and failed? Would you look down on your friend for trying to take charge of his or her life? If anything, your friends will respect you even more for taking a chance and going out on your own.

There are no stupid ideas period. I used to think selling wedding linens was a boneheaded idea but after making 100k in 12 months, I now think otherwise. It’s not about the idea, it’s all about the execution. Be proud of your idea even if it sounds ridiculous.

If you still can’t get over your reputation, use it to your advantage. Tell all of your friends that you are going to start a business and force yourself to follow through.

I Don’t Have The Skills

We weren’t all born with natural abilities. I wasn’t born with the innate ability to design computer hardware or design microprocessors. I had to spend time to learn about it. If you don’t have the skills, pick up a book and learn. It’s that simple.

One thing that I’ve learned is that most people are more than willing to help you out. If any of you readers are interested in starting a business, I’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

If you don’t have friends that can help, make new friends. Hang out in circles that discuss topics within the niche that you are trying to pursue. Because I’m in the wedding linens business, I actually take part in some of the wedding forums discussing wedding favors with brides to be.

If you have lazy friends, hang out with them less. Find other entrepreneurs to chat with and motivate you.

I Don’t Have The Confidence

This is probably the hardest excuse to get over. The only thing I can say is that you’ll never gain any confidence unless you give things a shot. Confidence can be bolstered through knowledge.

Perform extensive research about your business idea and the confidence will simply come with time. The more you know, the less afraid you will be.

If possible, find a mentor to help you out and give you advice. Find a similar business and offer to work for free so you can learn the ropes. Do whatever you can to learn and you’ll feel better about yourself and your prospects for success.

Are there any other excuses that I’m missing?

Further Reading

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17 thoughts on “Starting Your Own Business: Getting Beyond The Excuses”

  1. I do get what you and so many other people are saying when it comes to starting your own business, but I have yet to see/read/hear anyone address the issue of HEALTH INSURANCE. Many Americans work just so they wont end up in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I am just about thirty and not eligible for private insurance, no way, no how. My fiancee works for himself and has to pay for his insurance at $500 a month. I have insurance from my employer and still had to put out $5K last year in health and dental expenses. Thankfully $3K of that was from my pre-tax flexible spending account.

    I am in the process of starting my business and just have to have faith that I will be taken care of. Having been in deep debt in my early 20’s from medical bills, this is not something I take lightly.

  2. Chi says:

    Agree about the health insurance is tough, but I think the best thing to do is to keep your regular job until you get going. The bottom line is there is no job security, the days of staying 20 years at a company and getting a pension are pretty much done. At the end of the day anybody can get let go if events warrant it. I am lucky to have some medical benefits from the VA but it is scary if you gave a family.

  3. When I started my business I never had any excuses. I was determined to make it work.

    I did have some family that was not very happy and tried to steak my dream, but I paid them no attention.

    Now, they all ask how I did it.

  4. Hi Carla,

    Good point Carla. Health insurance is ridiculously expensive. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m still working in the meantime and have my entire family under my health insurance plan. I wish you all the best for your business and hope that it will solve your problems.

  5. Hi Tara,

    Good for you! I just checked out your website and it’s definitely a place I’ll be stopping by in the future.

  6. @Steve, it’s not only that its expensive, but some of us don’t qualify for private insurance, money or no money. I am determined to make it work and hopefully, things will change for me regarding insurance. I’m not quitting my job anytime soon, but having been laid off four times in eleven years, I’m not holding my breath.

    Good topic by the way!

  7. Great article, Steve. I love the excuse of time most of all. Each of us gets 24 hours in the day – we’re all in the same boat. It’s amazing how some people manage to start their own business while working a day job, and others don’t. That excuse just doesn’t fly.

    The thing is, whenever we’re about to start a new venture, everyone in our lives is half cheering us on, and half waiting for us to fail. If we succeed, it means they have one less excuse to stay where they are. If we fail, they can feel justified in saying “thank God I’ve never tried starting my own business.” So I like your advice about hanging out with successful entrepreneurs!

    If we wait until we’re confident enough, skilled enough, supported enough, financially secure enough … we’ll never start.


  8. @Andrea – I actually never thought of it that way. I tend to believe that my friends are always cheering me on though I have no idea what is going on in the back of their minds. I’ll bet many of them thought our business was a dumb idea. I probably would have too. As for confidence and skill, I think it is necessary to have “enough” before starting but my definition of “enough” is probably much lower than the rest.

  9. referring to the part “I don’t have the time” In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV…You work your 9-5 come home pet the dog and then 7-2 is a great time to make shit happen.

    It’s true, if you want it bad enough there will always be ways to find the time.

  10. a b says:

    Here’s the excuse I can’t get over: I have a day job, but I can put together a product or service on nights and weekends. The hard part is selling it to other businesses. How can I meet with key decision makers at prospective partners and client companies and make deals, if I can’t meet with them during normal business hours? I don’t want to project the image of a two-bit fly-by-night operation. Or is it only possible to start a side business if your target market is retail consumers?

  11. Hi A B,

    That’s a tough one. If you have to meet with partners and client companies, I no longer really consider it a side business. You probably have to quit your job and pursue it full time which is a much harder decision. If you have faith in your product and your skills, then I would say go for it.

  12. a b says:

    Steve, thanks for the feedback. It’s an excellent article, and your thoughts are appreciated.

  13. I agree with you for the most part that these are just excuses, but I do think there are some legitimate reasons for not quitting your job and starting your own business – health insurance is only one of them.

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