When should I start my own business?
Most of the answers to that question are really amazing, every single time!
“You should save enough money to get by at least 18 months” is one classical statement, just about as good as “consider your family situation.” Don’t forget about the dog and your friends.
Did I mention your age is a critical factor in figuring out when the best time to start a business is?
Or the almighty “You want to start a business? Sounds great, go ahead”.
99,9% of all answers don’t make any sense.
There are so many people who think they know anything about starting a business yet never have actually started one on their own.
Yes, starting a business is risky. So is going out of your flat. Or, even staying in your flat.
Anyone looking into probabilities?
Somehow everyone is saying that 90% of all startups fail.
Well, not really — as many statistics say, such as Waverly Deutsch from Chicago Booth:
“[…] survival rates ranged from 36 percent to 51 percent across industries as varied as mining, services, retailing, and construction. No industry — including food services — showed a 90 percent failure rate.”
However, even if 50% is the truth, you sure have a challenge ahead of you!
There are many variables that you can discuss — and you will find pros and cons for each.
Some will say you should go to university first and then collect some experience working as an employee.
Others will say, the earlier, the better.
Sure, it does make sense to consider your financial and social situation.
But does all of that really tell you when the right time is?
So, what is?
Albeit shocking truth about the right time
Very few people discuss the right things here. Most throw around unfounded, unexplained arguments about something they don’t understand, let alone have experienced.
Short break, and a question for you: What is a business?
Here is a snippet from Wikipedia:
Business is the activity of making one’s living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is “any activity or enterprise entered into for profit.”
So, the short answer is: Business is making money.
Forget about having fun, making an impact, or finding emotional fulfillment. That is esoteric marketing B/S.
A more streamlined definition is the following:
You need clients that are willing to pay you money for a product/service that you are offering.
The bare-naked foundation, a.k.a. theory, is that simple.
Look, it is nice to help people. But if you don’t get paid, it is called charity. If you do something you enjoy and don’t get paid, it is called a hobby.
Somebody will have to pay your bills, and I have a hunch it is going to be you (unless you have married well, maybe).
The great thing is that even in the days of Web 4.0 and all those online entrepreneurs’, this fundamental definition of a business did not change at all.
The tools, tactics, and channels did maybe change, yes. But this basic concept stayed the same.
So, in other words — that is your answer!
The right time is when you have figured out answers to this basic concept.
If you can do this at age 19, go for it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how the weather is.
Start as soon as possible…
… when you have a very good idea about:
- who your potential clients are,
- and what their problems are,
- and which product or service is solving that problem
Here is a rough sketch about what is next to make sure you can validate your assumptions:
- Build a minimum viable product (MVP), which is a fancy term for “quick & dirty beta-version,” and
- sell it at some price to a few clients.
No one else can validate your business idea other than the market!
Nothing at this point needs to be automatized neither finalized.
You just want the basic proof that your product is sellable.
In the beginning, focus extensively on this part only— it can save you lots of wasted time, energy & resources.