Decisions to start a business should not be made lightly, but the bigger problem is that too often, they’re not made at all. People spend so much time thinking of all the ways it could go wrong that they die a little each day in jobs they hate. But ask any entrepreneur if they regret making the leap — from those barely getting by to the enormously successful ones — and you’ll probably get the same answer: Heck no.
With that said, here are 5 reasons why the best time to start a business is now.
1. It’s in your head.
“I think in a way, you’re doomed, once you can envision something. You’re sort of doomed to make it happen. I’ve found that the moment I can envision leaving a relationship, that’s usually the moment that the relationship starts to fall apart.” This quote from author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) isn’t for the strict purpose of describing a breakup. An entrepreneur can listen to these words and take something positive from them. Once an idea becomes more than an idea — once it grows legs and stands firm in your head — the time is right to act on it. Inaction will spread like a virus and infect every aspect of life — jobs, relationships, investment decisions — until you put it to rest once and for all. If the urge to start a business continues growing, it’s best to engage it.
2. No matter where you are in life, you have the tools.
British site Business Zone recently conducted a number of interviews with entrepreneurs from opposite sides on the age spectrum. Fraser Doherty of the fruit jam business SuperJam was only 14 when he launched his now successful enterprise. “The biggest advantage to starting my business so young was that I was pretty naive … I didn’t see any reason why my idea couldn’t be a success.”
In contrast, Simeone Salik, founder of BLINDSINABOX, was 65 when she launched her business. Her outlook: “When you’re older, you certainly have more experience and you realize, from working, that you have to plan ahead, which I don’t think younger people do as much as older people.” BLINDSINABOX is still going strong and counts James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne among its investors.
The lesson: no matter where you are in life, you have the tools to start a business and grow it into a success. You may have to season that feeling of invincibility with a little realism and experience, but it can be done.
3. There is a fundamental shift in the business climate.
Earlier this year, Forbes reported that US companies sitting on cash had reached a record number — $1.45 trillion, to be exact. Meanwhile, hiring has remained stagnant with a combined unemployed and underemployed rate of 25.9 percent (as of this post). That’s more than one-quarter of the country who either can’t find full-time employment or work at all. And that doesn’t tell the full story as many have dropped out of the workforce altogether. (Perhaps to start businesses?) With technology enabling us to do more with less, it’s likely that many of the jobs that have disappeared aren’t coming back. The point of this gloom-and-doom diatribe: you can’t count on the 40-year position and company pension anymore. It’s time to readjust those old expectations for some new ones, and where better to place that trust than in yourself?
And if you need any help with how to get started, this guy can help:
4. Fortune is in your favor.
In April 2012, PNC Wealth Management released a study revealing the wealthiest people in the US — individuals with $500,000 or more of investible income — earned rather than inherited their wealth. Altogether 69 percent got to where they are through working, and you can bet the majority of them weren’t hourly employees, but actual business owners. Furthermore, 39 percent of earners and 21 percent of heirs considered themselves “moderate” to “risky” investors, and for billionaires, capital gains played a major part. The two modes of wealth building are clearly related. After all, the decision to start a business is one of the most important investments of time and money you’ll ever make.
The final reason you should start a business now — we all end up in the same place, and none of us are getting any younger. As depressing as that sounds, there are two ways you can look back on life, and those two ways make all the difference in the legacy you leave for your loved ones. 1) If you never try to make your passion happen, you could be left to wonder what might have been. Regret is the natural repercussion. 2) You try and succeed or try and fail. Either way you won’t look back with more questions than answers. And I don’t know about you, but that’s something I can live with, even in death.
If you’ve made the decision to start a business, congratulations and best of luck! If you haven’t, what’s holding you back?[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]