In a podcast interview today I got asked, “When is the right time to start a business?” and I replied with, “Why aren’t you doing it already?” and then “Actually, the right time is YESTERDAY.” I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Those replies just kinda fell out of my mouth (as things do when you are chatty and have no filter) so I thought they deserved a little more thought and consideration.
I defined being “in business” as the exchange of money, goods or services for other money, goods and services and by that definition, most people I meet are ALREADY in business even if they don’t call it that. After all, if it’s “just a hobby” or a “side gig,” then failing at it is pretty easy to do … in so far as people won’t shame you if you fail at a hobby and it’ll suck but it’s not too terrible. If it’s a business and you fail at that – whoa boy, are people going to shame you (or you think they will) and the pain you feel will be a lot greater. After all, now you’re forever branded as a “failed business owner,” and there’s no such thing as “failed hobbyist” is there?! (Although I have failed at MANY hobbies including gardening, mosaic making and crochet, it’s not like I’m TELLING people about it. Oh shit here I am telling you. Anyway….)
Since we’re afraid of being shamed and feeling pain, we procrastinate like crazy on starting our business. We claim not to be in business, though we have business cards, a name, and social media accounts. We stay stuck in our day jobs that we hate, waiting for the huge financial windfall to come (from where? Who knows?!). We wait for our children to get older, our puppies to get house trained, our aged Aunties to die. We’re waiting, waiting, waiting for the right moment and the right circumstances and in some cases, we’re waiting for THE SIGN that we should start. Sometimes we’re waiting for the moment when we finally feel like we know what we’re doing – we know how to price, we know how to decorate, we know how to market. In reality we will NEVER FEEL that we know how to do those things because with each passing day we learn more about those things, we change course, we make better and different decisions. There simply is no point in time when you get to sit back, exhale and think, “Yep, cool, I know it all now, so NOW I can start.”
This doesn’t just happen in business either. This happens when you’re trying to achieve anything that you’re worried you’ll fail at – looking for a new job, losing weight, getting fitter, asking someone out.
The problem with all this fear and all this waiting around? It achieves NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zilch. ZEEEE-ROW!
Start where you are. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know everything. You can’t predict if that windfall will come, if those kids will ever move out of home or if the puppy will stop peeing in your bed. All you have and all you know are what is happening right NOW. Might as well make the most of that now.