When it comes to the world of business, it seems that everyone is an expert. Or so they like to think. When I started my first little side business back in 2012, I received far more unqualified advice than support or encouragement.
Last year I started my first full-time business. This time I was braced for the same storm of negativity, but I was pleasantly surprised when it did not come. The difference was that I had expanded my social circle and was spending more of my time with like-minded people.
I had stopped spending my time with naysayers, and my friends today are positive and inspiring people. Many of them are entrepreneurs themselves or open-minded, kind-spirited people who want to see others do well.
If you are hearing any of the following dumb things regularly from your inner circle, then it may be time to network and find a more supportive crowd. Starting a business is tough, and having the right people to encourage you is helpful beyond measure.
1. It is too hard to start a business
This is often someone else projecting their own insecurities onto you. When someone tells you something is too hard, it is really too hard for them. They are not you and they do not know what you are made of. Have the self-confidence to thank them for their input, but not to take it to heart.
2. The market is flooded
If you are entering a niche that is already very competitive, that does not mean the game is over before you have begun. On one hand it is a good sign that there is a demand for what you are offering. And of course, today the micro-niche is where it is at. In any market, however popular, your unique skills and values will claim you a corner for yourself.
3. You can’t do it all yourself
I beg to differ. Some business owners need a team around them, so they grow a team. Some business owners, like myself, are lone wolves until the day they die. That does not mean total isolation; there are other ways to get help without needing to employ people.
There are many websites that make it incredibly easy to outsource anything from admin and customer service to website building. So if you are flying solo with your business, just know that there are affordable services out there if you need them.
4. You risk losing everything
Hmm, not if you are smart and careful. Many first-time business owners opt for the sensible, part-time launch. They perhaps reduce their working hours at their day job to part-time and make the most of what time they have left to get their business off the ground.
This is a particularly good move for service-based businesses such as coaching or consulting. Many first clients come from referrals, so business builds up slowly over time. Jumping ship from your day job straight into a full-time business is, of course, riskier.
If the business is brand new, then you have not proved your business model yet, so how do you know you can pay the bills? Entrepreneurs understand this and take calculated risks. And yes, sometimes it does not go our way and we lose money. But we always learn from it and come back with a reinforced business plan.
A failure is only the end of the world if you allow it to ruin you. If you have been smart, put emergency financial measures in place, and not burned your bridges at your old job, you can get through the tough times.
5. It is a jungle out there
Really? You don’t say! We knew that already and we would prefer to be encouraged and supported, not belittled. People starting their own business are doing a brave thing and stepping right out of their comfort zones, and that should always be celebrated. We know it is a jungle, and we were born tigers.
My top tip for aspiring business owners is to talk to more experienced entrepreneurs. You need to know the truth without it being sugarcoated, but also without superfluous negativity.
Finding a great mentor is an awesome business hack too. If you can take advice from the people who walked the path before you, and you have the desire to start your own business, then why should anything stop you?