When will you know it’s time to really get the party started? Good question. I can tell you there will simply never be a day when you cross the last task off your list and say, ‘Great! That’s all done, time to work for launch.’
‘The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’
Walt Disney had it about right. Countless people have a burning desire to start something of their own, but they have a host of perfectly logical reasons why next year or the year after that will be the ideal time.
Don’t get me wrong, rigorous questioning is necessary and healthy. But overthinking can be your enemy. I see lots of people waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to get going, and then putting a stack of impossible conditions in place:
I’ll wait until I know x, until I’ve saved y, until my work situation eases, until I get my partner’s approval.
You have to recognise that there will in fact never be an ideal time, at some point, you just have to make the leap.
Let's take a look at some of the excuses . . . sorry, I mean some of the reasons people delay.
The first is that ‘you're just not quite ready’.
Have you ever seen a baby take its first steps? Not a hundred per cent ready, but ready enough to give it a go. Will she fall over? Very likely yes. Will she get straight up and try again? Damn right. Each time she gets a little further on until she’s off and running.
‘The design just needs a little finessing.’
No, it doesn’t. After a career in the marketing and design industry, I knew how important detail was. I was used to everything having to be perfect.
Thankfully, when starting my first small business, a friend who knew my history, saw what was going on and called me out on it: ‘Just get started,’ she screamed at me. I did and so should you.
I like the way author Liz Gilbert puts it:
‘Perfection is fear in high heels.’
‘The market isn’t ready.’
Really? What did Henry Ford famously say? ‘If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.’
Similarly, the audience’s readiness was in severe doubt by those surrounding Apple’s Steve Jobs when he was on the cusp of giving the world ‘a thousand songs in your pocket’.
There’s no denying that doing research to ensure there’s a market is absolutely essential, but when you’ve done your research, when you’ve set out your vision and path: Just. Get. Going.
If you’ve got a full-time job now, consider starting your business in your spare time while keeping a salary. Or drop a day or two in order to maintain some sound, regular income.
A popular option is to start up as a ‘side business’ or ‘side hustle’ alongside your regular job.
It can be hard work for sure – with a few late nights and weekend work – but it’s a way that you can keep your day job and follow your dream at the same time.
Starting up alongside other work is also a great way to test and modify your offering. Are people interested? Is there the demand you predicted? Is the price right? Who’s your competition? What marketing channels are available?
You can discover all this before you’ve even thought about quitting your day job. Whether you decide to transition slowly or dive in with both feet, starting a small business with immediate or early financial pressure is not ideal.
Do a thorough review of all your outgoings, set yourself a strict budget while you build up your earnings and keep some reserves, a buffer.
A child taking those first steps needs some soft cushions around for a while.
Robert Gerrish is the founder of Flying Solo, author of The 1 - Minute Commute and host of the Rekindle podcast. Read more of his work at www.robertgerrish.com