Jayson Demers via Entrepreneur.com wrote a lovely article this year about what holds people back from becoming an entrepreneur. This is a rebuttal from someone who has been banging their head against startups for about 5 years now.
'What’s holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?'
1. “I’m waiting for the perfect time.”
Jason says: "There’s no such thing as a “perfect” time to start a business. Waiting for it will leave you on indefinite hiatus."
Jonathan says: "Fuck that, go back to your cubicle and pray for a miracle, it'll never happen unless you really want it to. You need to work fucking hard at this game and just waiting for the perfect moment that will never come means that you just won't be able to cut it. Start on your idea now, work on it when you're not at your day job, live, breath and sleep thinking about your idea."
2. “I’m waiting for the perfect idea.”
Jason says: "if your idea has flaws, take comfort – there’s no such thing as a perfect idea. So, make up for those flaws with new strengths."
Jonathan says: "Ideas are like assholes, everyone has at least one. The idea you have has been thought of by about at least 2000 people. It's all about who executes it the best. Start working on it now!"
3. “It will take too long to become profitable.”
Jason says: "Delayed gratification – the personality trait that causes people to forego smaller short-term pleasures in favor of larger, long-term ones – has been hailed by renowned physicist and author Michio Kaku as the "hallmark of human intelligence." If you've got what it takes to be successful, you understand and practice delayed gratification. And success will never feel too far away."
Jonathan says: "Nothing is ever an overnight success. You shouldn't quit to work on your startup until you have profit & revenue, that is unless you have rich family members who are willing to throw their hard earned cash on the idea that you thought of yesterday. Bootstrap the shit out of it and work hard!"
4. “I like my current job.”
Jason says: "Sticking with the job you know can be comforting, but you’ll never know what lies beyond unless you go for it."
Jonathan says: "Stick with your job, many jobs are awesome. If you're young you definitely need some experience under your belt before you tackle running a business. Only quit when your business is actually making money!"
5. “I don’t like change.”
Jason says: "Change can be hard, and even scary at times, but it’s necessary if you want to be fulfilled."
Jonathan says: "Don't start a company! No really, don't fucking do it. Change happens every day when you run a business, the unexpected is just around the corner and you need to adapt to survive."
6. “I’m afraid I’ll fail.”
Jason says: "The fear of failure holds many potential entrepreneurs back, but that risk will always be present, and even failure doesn’t mean the end. Successful entrepreneurs thrive in failure."
Jonathan says: "Fail at least 5 times before breakfast. This isn't the social network where we all succeed and have millions in stock options, you are guaranteed to fail at least once in the early stages. Fail often, fail fast, learn and move on quickly!"
7. “I’ll make mistakes.”
Jason says: "If you’re afraid you’ll make an error once you become an entrepreneur, stop worrying -- of course you’ll make an error. You’ll make countless errors. It isn’t about not making mistakes, it’s about making up for the mistakes you do make."
Jonathan says: "Of course you'll make many mistakes. Wait what? I'm actually agreeing with Jason. Sound advice. Everyone fucks up, just forgive and learn from it."
8. “It will be too difficult to learn everything I’ll need to know.”
Jason says: "Sometimes a little extra effort is all you need to develop the necessary skills for entrepreneurship."
Jonathan says: "If you find that you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. No-one knows everything, I for example know sweet-fuck-all about getting VC funding. Hire the best and brightest people you can find, they can sort it out for you, that's why you hire the best people after all."
9. “I don’t want to risk my money.”
Jason says: "The financial stress of entrepreneurship is daunting, but there are grants, loans and lines of credit available to ease that burden."
Jonathan says: "Or just tap a VC for that sweet VC cash....no really....you don't want to risk your own cash then you will never enjoy the rewards of your business...but your VC will, only if you actually succeed in doing whatever BS you told them you would do."
10. “I don’t know anyone who can help me.”
Jason says: "Attend networking events, be social and meet people. Your energy and enthusiasm will be contagious if it’s evident and legitimate, and you’ll find people who will be happy to help you."
Jonathan says: "There is this wonderful thing called the Internet, Twitter is now mainstream, IRC even exists...if you are in a city then join a meetup.com event, if in Sydney get your ass to Fishburners and work out of there for a few weeks, you'll soon make friends unless you have strong BO, bad breath and have urges to hit on the opposite sex every chance you get...even still, there are people like you who might want to do business with you and could actually follow your vision.
11. “I’m afraid of an unstructured environment.”
Jason says: "There’s a lot more freedom in entrepreneurship, but also a lot more ambiguity."
Jonathan says: "Freedom? That's a crock! If you don't plan your days, you'll get no-where. If you don't work smart, you'll get to the top of the Techcrunch Deadpool list, not somewhere you really want to be. Track your tasks, outsource some of the shitty stuff and just keep moving forward every single day."
12. “I don’t have what it takes.”
Jason says: Confidence is the first step to achieving anything. There’s no one type of person that can be successful as an entrepreneur; anyone can, with enough dedication.
Jonathan says: "Everyone can start a business, not everyone can succeed. That's nothing to be ashamed of, it's just the odds are really against you. If you don't try then you'll never know, so get the fuck off of whatever startup blog you're on and get started."
13. “Entrepreneurship is like playing the lottery.”
Jason says: "You can’t just strike it rich, but you also aren’t bound by terrible odds if you work hard, work smart and persist with a burning desire for success."
Jonathan says: "Don't be a unicorn, be a cockroach! Do you know many lottery winners in your personal life? No? Then what does it matter? Entrepreneurship is starting a small business. Be one of those businesses that will last for generations, not just the lifetime of an iPhone application."
14. “I don’t have enough time.”
Jason: "It takes time to start a business, but if you’re serious about it, you’ll make time no matter how many other commitments you have."
Jonathan: "My business is like my wife, except much less attractive and way less smart. You need to pay a lot of attention to your business, much like you need to do to your partner....if you don't then, well...."
15. “I’m nothing compared to the big name entrepreneurs.”
Jason says: "The celebrity entrepreneurs of the world seem glamorous and brilliant, but you don’t have to be. You just have to work hard and be passionate."
Jonathan says: "Rockstar entrepreneurs have been working at their business for a lot longer than you have and they have great PR people. You haven't even fucking started. They surround themselves with the best and brightest so that they can focus on things that matter to them. Don't even start the comparison, compare yourself with the person you see in the mirror, aim to be a better person, a better business owner, healthier and smarter. Start small with incremental steps but dream big!"
16. “I’m not a good leader.”
Jason says: "Leadership is a role you grow into over time."
Jonathan says: "No-one is born a leader, it's a skill-set you can learn if you work at it. Know your product, understand your customer and believe that you can give a better experience than any of your competitors. Your team will follow your belief and vision..."
17. “I don’t like working with others.”
Jason says: "You’ll pick the people you work with, so you can build the ideal team."
Jonathan says: "Then do the best you can on your own. Start small and grow to whatever size you feel comfortable with. Some people are so stinky that remote work is the best way forward for them, look at some of the biggest distributed remote teams, you'll see what I mean."
18. “I don’t know what to do.”
Jason says: "If you don’t know where to go, start talking to people who do. Read publications, articles and ebooks about how to start a business. You might not know right now exactly what to do, but figuring it out isn’t hard."
Jonathan says: "It's not the right time to start your own business then. Get out and talk to people in the space that you want to be in, offer to buy coffee or to work for free to learn from them. Perhaps you should join a startup to experience what startup culture could be like and if it's a good fit. Consume ALL the media, get up to date on latest trends, acquisitions and just learn! It'll benefit whatever your current position is and you'll get to meet new people."
19. “Starting a business requires a ton of money.”
Jason says: "You can start on a shoestring budget, if you know how to minimize your expenses."
Jonathan says: "Bootstrap! Minimize drug use, extra curricular activities, don't splash out on expensive desks and chairs and just be super frugal! It has never been cheaper to start a business."
20. I’m afraid of life on “hard mode.”
Jason says: "Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but easy isn’t always good, either. Usually, the right path forward is the more difficult one."
Jonathan says: "Perhaps your mom should be your first employee? She could make your bed, do your dishes and make life easier in general? Let your dad do all that hard 'sales' stuff! Grow a damm spine and get to work already, there are people who are wannabe business owners, who talk about it all the time but never do anything...do you want to be one of them?"
21. “I need more formal education.”
Jason says: "You don’t need any formal education to start a business -- though you will need to constantly improve your skills and knowledge over time.
Jonathan says: "Stop fooling yourself, just get to fucking work! You could have launched a business in the time you read this article."
22. “I need approval from others.”
Jason says: "If your parents or spouse or coworkers think you’re crazy, you’re in good company. Most innovators are seen as crazy when they first start."
Jonathan says: "If your spouse is not on board this idea then you should stop. Seriously, this is not easy and you'll need their support. Everyone else, well, listen to their advice, get to work and prove them wrong."
23. “I need other things to fall in place before I can begin.”
Jason says: "You may not have everything, but you probably never will. Start with what you have."
Jonathan says: "Start small, finish a single task, then another, then another. There is rarely a perfect environment to start a business but right now is pretty close to it."
24. “If I fail, I’ll be ruined.”
Jason says: "Things couldn’t possibly turn out as bad as you imagine. Usually, things aren’t nearly as bad nor as good as you think they are."
Jonathan says: "If you don't start then you could have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. There is no guarantee you won't fail, but don't risk it all if others depend on you! Be sensible and pragmatic, have a plan of what you need to achieve to consider it a success and if it doesn't look like working then don't be afraid to back away or PIVOT!."
25. “It’s too late.”
Jason says: "It’s never too late to get started, if you’re passionate and willing to work."
Jonathan says: "If you've convinced yourself of this, then don't start! I'm not one to convince people to take a leap off a cliff. The startup journey is hard, you will fail every day, you could lose everything, reputation, money....respect. If you don't start then you'll never know what could have been. But if you fail and gave it your best shot, then at least you could look at yourself in a mirror!"