Table of Contents
- 1. I don’t have the business skills
- 2. I don’t have the technical skills
- 3. I don’t have the time
- 4. I don’t have the money
- 5. I don’t have connections (nobody knows me)
- 6. I’m too late to be an entrepreneur.
- 7. I can’t think of a great idea.
- 8. I can’t take that risk.
- 9. I can’t stop until it’s perfect.
- 10. It’s too hard.
- 11. I’ll be too embarrassed if I fail.
- Closing thoughts on dad excuses and being an entrepreneur
Do you have dreams you are holding deep inside yourself? Do you have some idea in mind you would love to pursue, but you are constantly making excuses as to why it’s not the right time to chase it? If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you have to understand that you cannot have both–excuses and also results. You have to push the excuses aside to achieve your dreams. While there are countless excuses, I will share with you these eleven that are very common. Understand them and never let them stop you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams again.
1. I don’t have the business skills
Not having business experience is not necessarily a problem. There are many ways for a person with a good idea for a product or service and will to execute to turn it into a business. If you want to be an entrepreneur, but don’t have business background, there are steps you can make. First, you can look for a business savvy co-founder. This must be a person you trust and that can take the lead on the business side while you will focus on developing your product or service.
Second, you can take a look at the environment you are living and search for business entities that support startups through mentorship and guidance. These entities include business incubators and various institutional programs. Today, many universities offer some kinds of public business programs you can attend. You can also try some MOOCs. Third, you may consider joining one of the accelerator such as Y-Combinator and TechStars. These accelerators offer its members mentorship and funding that will be useful in the future.
Solution: Learn what you need to know through courses and mentorship in incubators and accelerators or find a co-founder you can trust to take care about the business side.
2. I don’t have the technical skills
Well, this is similar to the previously discussed excuse-not having the technical skills to develop your product or concept. Fortunately, this is a smaller issue than the previous one because if you have the business skills and can articulate the value of your idea, finding engineers or coders to create a prototype or MVP will be easy. Anyway, if you still face some struggles along the way, you can make your offer more interesting by offering equity, royalty payments or raising a seed capital to pay consulting fees.
Another way to cover what you lack in technical skills is by exploring partnerships with universities and other research centers. If your idea is something really big and you can present yourself properly to academic world, you should be able to finding the right resources and people to build your product. In the end, it is often not about the technical skills, but about the right resources. It is your job as entrepreneur to come up with ways to get or create these resources.
Solution: You can either find a co-founder or hire people who will take care about the technical side of your business. You can also try to partner with universities to get the necessary resources.
3. I don’t have the time
First and foremost we have to make clear one thing. Let me ask you how many hours your day has. Unless you are somewhat special, you have twenty four hours available every single day. This is the most important thing you have to understand. We all have the exact same amount of time to spend each day. Have you heard about Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin or entrepreneur Elon Musk (to give more modern example)? All these people and many more were (in Musk’s example is) able to use their time in a degree we often cannot comprehend.
To give you more precise example of their feats. Benjamin Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and also diplomat. Leonardo Da Vinci was able to educate himself in areas such as invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. The last one, Elon Musk, is the founder of SpaceX and a co-founder of Zip2, PayPal and Tesla Motors. He is also and chairman of SolarCity focusing on solar energy. Breathtaking feats right?
Anyway let’s get back to you. First, nobody says that you have to quit your job immediately or drop out of school in order to launch your startup. In a fact, you can often see that a successful entrepreneur began to develop his ideas working a few hours at night and on weekends. However, if you are really passionate about your business idea, I’m pretty sure that you can find about 30 hours a week and put it into your side project. Think about all the activities you do on a daily basis and split them into two categories. One for necessary things like work, family, sleep, school etc.
The second category is for all the crap you are wasting your time at like TV shows, hanging out with people that are not at all beneficial to achieving your goals or are even holding you back. Watching movies, playing games on computer, phone or tablet, reading crappy literature (Fifty Shades of Grey for example), wasting your time on social media and so on. When you sum up all of these and other redundant activities you will get decent number of hours to work on your business.
What’s more, you don’t have to do all of this alone. You can take a look around in your environment and involve people who are willing to put a few hours of their own as well. After giving this business project of yours from six to twelve months, you should be able to at least reach a point where you don’t have to rely on guesses and can make an educated decision about betting the next couple of years full-time on it instead. If your idea has legs, congratulations! If not, learn from it and move on to try something else.
Takeaway: Stop watching Game of thrones and Walking dead or whatever is hot right now and use this time for working on side projects.
4. I don’t have the money
First question … How much money do you think you need? Remember, we are not talking about building a billion dollar in one day. Many people who want to become entrepreneur were able to start their first businesses on much smaller scale. Most of them either bootstrapped their business from money they were able to put aside or by selling some product or service and investing the profit. Understand, the majority of businesses you can start from your home does not require you to buy or build a factory. In this day and age even ten year old can start a business.
Anyway, if you insist on raising funds for the early stage of your business, nothing is lost yet. Today, getting and idea and building a prototype or MVP is much cheaper than it used to be. This as a result, will lower the funding needs for your business. In case you are an entrepreneur interested in building and selling products, there are couple free or very cheap tools for building products. For software you can take a look at open source tools and platforms. One example of free website builder is Wix.com, webStartToday, weebly and others for websites.
Thanks to the latest breakthroughs in technology you can use 3D printers to print your own hardware at home. Also, who said you have to pitch venture investors in order to get capital? What you can do instead is to embrace platforms such as kickstarter and use crowdfounding to fund your business. On the same note, funding through angel investments has become easier with tools like Angel.co. These tools basically connect angel investor with entrepreneur. There is also number of angel clubs and networks all over the world waiting for entrepreneur with new groundbreaking idea. For marketing, social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest are free to use and even if you want to create a marketing campaign, the price is incredibly low.
The last place where you can try your luck is your family and friends. Don’t be shy to ask them for seed capital or loans. Remember, if you cannot pitch your own family or friend on your business idea, how do you want to sell it and yourself to professional investors? Your family and friends will also appreciate your efforts and take you more serious about your goal of becoming an entrepreneur. Just remember to stay transparent about the risks involved. Lastly, you may be able to get a lot done by involving the right partners, who would work for equity.
Takeaway: Forget about money, focus on how your business idea can help people instead and money will come because people will want to pay for it.
5. I don’t have connections (nobody knows me)
Today, with the power of Internet, it is easier than ever to get your message out there and connect with people interested in hearing your idea. Remember that as long as you build something that people care about, you will be able to reach the right people. For starters, check your connections on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook and see if anyone in your network knows a person you need to reach. Also, sign up for all relevant groups and become active in discussions.
Next step is to participate in industry events, meet and connect with people face-to-face. Build your network of contacts in every situation that will appear. Every time you will meet someone, you have an opportunity to pitch your business idea. Don’t be afraid to use cold-call if you have to, just make sure you to keep it professional. Other activities to help you gain more visibility as an entrepreneur is to start blogging and sharing content about your product or industry on social media. The whole world (at least the part with Internet) is at your fingertips, you just have to take action … if you don’t have connections, just make them.
Solution: Stop bitching and start talking with people around you. Get out of your cubicle and use social media to socializing.
6. I’m too late to be an entrepreneur.
Personally, this is one of my favorite excuses people use to not to be an entrepreneur. They think they are too old (or too young). You are right, Nick D’Aloisio was fifteen years old when he received his first venture investment. There are many examples of people who made it before hitting thirty. Stop stressing yourself about your age. It is just a number and it has nothing to say about what are you capable of doing. The truth is that you are only too late to join the game if you are not willing to be better, faster, stronger, or cheaper than whoever got there first. If you really want to be an entrepreneur and have passion for something, don’t let your age dictate the terms.
Solution: Stop thinking about your age as something more than just a number. It says nothing about you.
7. I can’t think of a great idea.
I understand you. Coming up something brand new is really hard. What can you do? Well, you can either walk around and complain about how everything is hard and cruel and so on. On the other hand, you can get out of your head and take a look around yourself. By doing it, you will be able to see tons of problems that require solutions. You can turn every of these solution into business ideas and find out whether it is viable and worth pursuing. Remember, that you don’t have to rely on yourself. There are tons of problems in the world you can address. If you cannot find any, which will be hard, just ask other people on their problems and pains.
Solution: You don’t have to rely on yourself to have great ideas. Take a look around and ask people and you will a ton of problems to act upon.
8. I can’t take that risk.
Being an entrepreneur is about taking risks, but risk is a relative term. What’s risky for one can be somewhat safe for another one. There is also a degree of risk you can take. Nobody is saying you have to go and jump from the cliff or put yourself into a debt. You don’t have to take such a grandiose actions. Forget about going all-in if you don’t have stomach for it. You can use slower and safer approach and test the waters before jumping in. Think about your business as a side project instead of full-time job. Start small and move one step at the time.
Remember, any risk you take today is a risk you can recover from. It is time tested fact that we can overcome almost any setback, stumble, or failure and emerge stronger and smarter and better equipped to succeed the next time. If you are still not sure about taking the leap, think about how will you feel at the end of your life. Will you regret that you never tried to pursue your passions? Seriously, think about the time when you are old and you’ll have to look back on your life and think, “I wonder what might have happened if I had only…”
Solution: You don’t have to go all-in and risk everything. You can do just a small step and “taste the waters” in the form of side project.
9. I can’t stop until it’s perfect.
This is a lie. You can stop, but you just don’t want to do it. This feeling can have many roots. It can stem from your insecurities and self-doubt. Maybe it is just a fear you are listening to. Maybe you are afraid of being rejected or criticized. Unfortunately, you will never get rid of those thoughts. What you can do instead is to do your best. Then, step back and analyze your creation. If a little more work will result in much better outcome, go for it. Otherwise, leave it that way and put it out there. Understand, if a little more work will not make a difference, you have to let it go.
Big benefit of releasing soon is that you will be able to make improvements based on the feedback you get from your customers. Based on their reaction you will have clear picture about your product, no emotions attached.
Solution: Set a deadline, do the best you can do and then … Just fucking ship it!
10. It’s too hard.
Yes, being an entrepreneur is incredibly hard. Being a successful one is even harder. The truth is that all long journeys are hard. Otherwise everyone would be doing it. You have to reverse your view on this subject. Stop thinking about pursuing your ideas as one big race and thinking about it as individual steps instead. Doing this will make the whole thing much easier to handle and manage. For example, if you want to run a marathon, you can go out today and run a lap or two. You can also walk for a few miles. Take one small step towards your goal and then another.
Remember, you can’t accomplish any difficult goal or achieve bigger dream overnight. What you can do is to focus on individual steps and accomplish them, however small. In the end, these steps will take you to your final destination.
Solution: Start small. Divide your plan into tiny steps and do the first one. All you need, then, is to keep going to get momentum.
11. I’ll be too embarrassed if I fail.
Failing in public can be embarrassing, especially since some people love to talk about the misfortunes of others. However, those are the exact same people who would never dare try something themselves. They don’t have the courage chase their dreams. They only blame, belittle and criticize others. Don’t worry about them. There will always be haters throwing bricks on you. What you have to do is to take these bricks and use them to build the foundation of your business.
On the other hand, there is also a whole other group of people. These people will respect you for taking the leap into the unknown. These people know how hard it is to be an entrepreneur and pursue your goals and dreams. They will empathize with you and even encourage you on your journey. When you will fall on your face, they will be here to pick you up because they know what it’s like to try and fail and try again. So, forget about haters and focus on these people.
Solution: Entrepreneurship is a process of learning on the go. Think about failure as another important lesson to be learned. See every situation when you will fail as a step ahead.
Closing thoughts on dad excuses and being an entrepreneur
If you are really excited and passionate about your idea and becoming an entrepreneur, no excuse is big enough to stop you. If it is, entrepreneurship might not be the right thing for you. Think about it before making the commitment and taking the leap. Not everyone has guts a resilience to survive in the business world. It is nothing to be ashamed of. There might be other opportunities where you can pursue your goals while keeping the regular job. Consider this option as well.
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