When I first announced that I was starting my own business, I had to face all the naysayers and haters; it seems like everyone has a reason for you to not start your own business.
Having survived a year in the ring, I offer you five reasons to ignore the haters and just go for it anyway.
1. The sense of achievement rocks
As humans, we’re all born with a certain set of instincts – an innate understanding of what is true in the world, for example the idea that we’re entitled to our freedom and even that we’re entitled to freedom of choice. One of these built-in instincts is that we feel a sense of satisfaction for a job well done.
You know it’s true, because somewhere in your life, you’ve had a day where you worked really hard at something – maybe you spring cleaned your house, top to bottom, or had a hectic workout at the gym or court. Do you remember sitting down afterwards, tired, but good tired?
Well, multiply that by a million, and you aren’t close to how cool it feels to look back on a business that’s still around a year later. Something you built from nothing.
Yes, you may be mostly tired, but you sleep really well at night.
2. Success is the best revenge
You know all those moments with that bad boss, or bosses? That catty co-worker who seemed bent on making your life a living nightmare and that so-called friend who just never felt quite right to you?
You know how you planned to lord it over them and show them? Well, actually you won’t – largely because you won’t care anymore.
The sense of achievement and success will be so overwhelming and so awesome, and you’ll so completely own it, that there will only be space for good in your life. That petty, negative stuff just starts to fall away of its own accord because the good stuff is taking up all the space in your life.
3. The younger you are, the more energy you have physically
So start early. Aim to earn your stripes as quickly as possible when you work for a boss, and gain as much experience as you can.
You see, while 30-something isn’t actually old by today’s standards, there is a difference between 20 and 30 and 30 and 40. Your energy levels are different, your priorities are different, and your life is different with every day that goes by. You cannot reclaim that lost energy, not ever.
It also takes a huge amount of work, on an ongoing basis, to get and keep a business running: People let you down; situations arise that are beyond your control; clients get mad at you for the strangest things, and you just have to keep going.
It doesn’t matter how tired you are, or how busy you are, or even if you’re lying in hospital – the buck stops with you, and you can only get off when the merry-go-round comes to a halt.
And then there’s sleep. Possibly I’m repeating myself, but sleep is a luxury you seldom get round to when working for yourself. The younger you are, the easier it will be to maintain your momentum physically.
If you wait until you’re too old, the transition will be too difficult, too far outside your comfort zone, and you probably will fail simply because you struggle to maintain the constant physical demands of long working days with no clear end in sight.
4. It’s only scary to do something the first time
There’s a saying, and I’m possibly paraphrasing, that goes: The only thing you need, that you don’t have, is experience. And what experience teaches you the first time you do something is that it won’t kill you to do the thing you’re doing.
So whatever it is you want to do, just try it once, in a small way. A bookkeeper could, for example, offer to do a friend’s books for her new business venture in exchange for a written reference, or payment to begin on a deferred date.
Whatever your step, just do something so that your body can get over the initial fear, and can get out of the way enough for you to actually really consider the move you want to make.
You’ll also come to realise that bravery is not about not being afraid; it’s about doing the thing that scares you, even though you are afraid.
5. You’ll get over your fear of sales really quickly
I’m not sure why it is that most of us are so very scared of sales. Sales are actually pretty easy to close – if you’re well versed in your product or discipline.
Luckily, chances are exactly that you’ve branched off because you are a specialist in your area of expertise, so you do actually already have the product and service knowledge you need to blow anyone’s socks off, in practically any meeting.
And if you have a few bad sales experiences or calls in the beginning, well, chalk it up to school fees. Eventually, the law of averages dictates that you will crack something, and somebody will give you a chance.
At least your sales pitch is improving with every call.