Personally, like many in the entrepreneurial community, I’m of a mind that anyone can be an entrepreneur. With free resources available from government organizations, free reach available through social media and free content and instruction available from well, Entrepreneur.com for one — anywhere on the web, there’s almost nothing stopping someone with a good idea from going to market.
Still, inevitably, there are thousands, maybe even millions of people who dream of being entrepreneurs, have good ideas and still never take the next steps necessary to make that dream a reality. Why is this?
It all comes down to excuses, lies or misconceptions you repeat to yourself to justify your inaction. These are five of the most common:
1. I can’t leave my job.
You already have a good job, and you might be the only person supporting your family. Does that mean you can’t leave your job to become an entrepreneur? Perhaps. First, determine what you’re really worried about. Are you just scared of the unknown — or are you in truly such dire financial straits that only this job, no other job in the world, could support your needs?
Even if the latter is the case, imagine the possibility of starting a side business while you still work at your full-time job. It’d be a lot of extra hours and additional stress, but you could secure some short-term stability while you grow your enterprise beyond the incubation stage.
2. I’m not good enough to be an entrepreneur.
There’s a common misconception out there that entrepreneurs are “born” to be entrepreneurs, or that successful entrepreneurs have some essential genetic quality that makes it possible for them to succeed and stifles the progress of anyone else. This simply isn’t true.
There are some factors that make it easier for people to transition into an entrepreneurial role, such as high enthusiasm, extroversion and a tendency to attack problems head-on. However, these can all be learned, mimicked or substituted by people who don’t exhibit these qualities naturally. In short, you can be as good or bad an entrepreneur as you want to be — you just have to do a little work to get there.
3. I don’t have enough funding.
Businesses need capital to succeed, but that doesn’t mean you have to front all the money yourself. As a first measure, you can draw investments from your friends and family members. Beyond that, you can scout for potential angel investors or venture capitalists in your area. If your idea is solid, they’ll be thrilled to back you. If that doesn’t work, try crowdfunding (assuming your business qualifies), and even if all of those methods fall through, you can secure a line of credit with a bank (assuming your business plan and personal credit check out).
4. It’s not the right time.
This is a vague excuse that can apply to anything. Maybe you just bought a house. Maybe you just had a kid. Maybe you’re trying to transition between careers. Whatever the case, the timing isn’t perfect to allow you to become an entrepreneur.
But guess what? There’s no such thing as a “perfect” time. Nobody became an entrepreneur because all the stars aligned for some magically “perfect” opportunity — they knew the risks, knew the obstacles and moved forward in spite of them. If you’re waiting for some perfect moment, stop — now’s as good a time as any.
5. I’m worried I’ll fail.
This is one of the most common — and most crippling excuses — but it has no logical bearing to hold you back. Yes, there’s a strong possibility you’ll fail — most startups eventually close their doors in the first two years. The question I pose to you is: So what? There’s no shortage of breakout success stories of entrepreneurs who first overcame a crushing failure. In fact, many credit their success to the hard lessons learned in an initial failure.
If anything, failure is just a mechanism for you to gain experience, insight, and eventually come out on top. Nobody particularly enjoys failing, but there’s no reason to build it up in your head as some life-ending event. Dismiss the stigma, and accept it as a tolerable reality.