Start a Business

Is Starting a Business for You?

Some of us come up with pretty amazing ideas. Whether it’s a helpful new app, a creative art project, an innovative gadget, or the next Uber, we all have a bit of inventiveness in our DNA. And that’s exciting — to think you have a great idea that has the potential to be successful! And chances are that if you think it’s a good idea, others like you will think the same thing.

And if that’s the case, you’ve probably thought about pursuing it a little further. Maybe you’ve envisioned the fully built-out product 5 years into the future. Maybe you’ve even thought of having your own team, your own office. How awesome would that be?

Whoa whoa whoa. Hold on there. Are you seriously cut out for all of that? Some people are, some people aren’t. It’s okay either way, but you need to know that starting one’s own business is definitely not for everyone, and it’s best to address this fact sooner than later.

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To dive a little deeper and see exactly which side you fall on, here are 4 questions to ask yourself before you start:

1. Are you willing to put everything else to the side and focus on your new business?

Starting a new business is a lot like having a new baby. It takes a lot of effort and direct focus. It’s mentally draining, consistently challenging, and overall very time-consuming.

You’ll need to dive head first into this new venture as if your livelihood depended on it. There’s a lot that needs to be done. You need to build a first product; you need to find, reach out to, and have conversations with visionary customers; you need to consistently pound the pavement for new customers, new information, and new trends. All at the same time.

Thus, in order to have any chance of success, you need to put in a lot of work. No, it’s not working just for work’s sake; this is highly concentrated, highly focused work across all areas of your business.

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2. Are you willing to expose yourself to potential customers, with ego in check and heart in hand?

9 times out of 10, especially at first, people are not going to like your product. They may like the idea and your mission behind it, but they’ll think your current solution sucks in one way or another. You have to be okay with hearing that; you actually want to hear that. You have to count their criticism not as an attack on you and your life choices, but as a huge opportunity to improve your idea.

Too many want-trepreneurs are struck with an “amazing idea” and then dream up this crazy fantasy world where everything revolves around them and their product. They get stuck in this mindset that their initial vision is absolutely perfect and cannot be improved upon in any way — they know that they are right and no one can convince them otherwise.

Welcome to the unfortunate death spiral of an aspiring business owner who fails to talk to his own customers. In order to start a successful organization, you need to be able to seek out your customers, sit them down, discuss your solution face-to-face, and swallow their feedback, no matter how critical it is.

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3. Are you emotionally connected to the mission?

In dealing with first-time entrepreneurs that possess a great idea, I’ve noticed that those who don’t treat their business as their #1 Priority are never successful. And I get it, some have challenging full-time jobs, some have 3 additional side projects they’re working on, and some just aren’t passionately motivated by their own mission. Again, this is okay! It’s just a huge red flag.

In order to create a beautiful product that effectively solves a real customer problem, you must be fully dedicated to achieving your big goal. There will come bad days and slow periods of growth; however that bright light at the end of the tunnel must be able to hold you over through tough times. You must never lose that intrinsic motivation to solve the issue you initially set out to solve. If it’s easy for you to lose it, starting this business may not be for you.

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4. Can you work on it as a passion project or side hustle?

So maybe the sound of dedicating the majority of your week, letting go of your ego, and making your business your #1 Priority isn’t appealing to you. Who cares? Don’t feel discouraged or that you’ll never be successful with this project. You can still accomplish a lot by treating your business as a personal side project to score a little extra cash.

If you don’t think your idea has what it takes for that, maybe you can team up with a small young startup that is solving the same idea in an inspiring way. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else, and your entrepreneurial tendencies will not go unnoticed by the startup’s leadership. You can gain a ton of experience and continue to build intrinsic motivation for later projects.

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So if you do have what it takes, good luck! The journey is far from easy, however the payoffs (both financial and personal) can be immense. But if you don’t have what it takes, don’t sweat it. Your time may come, and your payoffs in other realms can be very profitable as well.

Do you have a great idea and need help planning your growth strategy?

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Grow Your Idea helps first-time entrepreneurs talk to and understand their customers, establish their business model, and plan their growth strategy. Our mission is to empower anyone with a great idea to take action on their big idea.

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