To Start or Not to Start?

I view life from a perspective of having no guarantees. Are you guaranteed to survive the day and not wake up tomorrow? Nope! Millions of people die every day and you’re not any more special than they are. Are you guaranteed that your business will succeed? Nope! A lot of people find success in their third or fourth tries and some, even later. Are you guaranteed of your job and being indispensable? Well, if there’s any lesson 2020 offered, it’s that tables can turn really fast and what we thought was solid ground can quickly disappear under our feet. With that regard, then, what do you have to lose by trying? Below are some of the things that keep people from starting and some suggestions of how to deal with them:

1. The Fear of ... - fill the space with every imaginable fear you can think of. Failure, lack of steady income, not being able to provide, being in the limelight, negative reviews, inability to have stock of great quality and sufficient quantity when your customers need it, lack of capital, etc. The list does not end and will never end. It’s important to understand that fear is just a natural human mechanism for self-preservation. It will never go away so you might just as well learn to do things in spite of it. It doesn't mean that you rush in like a fool, though. Make your plans and when ready, start. Starting doesn’t mean a big plunge, even a small tiny step towards your goals is enough, as long as you keep it consistent.

2. The Past - so what if you did try out something but failed? I like to think about it from a perspective of change. There’s a saying that goes like ‘change is the only constant’. So much has certainly changed from the last time you tried - you’re older, wiser, are aware of what to (not) do, you’ve made friends and acquaintances in your field that you didn’t know of before. In short, don’t let the past hold you captive. Time will pass and you might as well try to achieve your goals rather than look back in a few years and wish you did.

3. No Money - this is a common one. I’d love to say that you should continue pursuing your passion or an idea even if you don’t have money, but the reality is, you need to have some form of capital to start, so that you increase it. Not everyone is born into a rich family (if you are, take advantage and get financial support for your business!) and you have to be creative with how to get money be it savings, loans, competitions that have prize money, investors, etc. Figure out what you need to get started and how much you need to get started. The topic on sources of financing has been widely discussed by many experts so I won’t go into much detail, but I can’t emphasize enough the ability to tap into a small amount of money that gets you started. If you don’t have any, make a list of all the possible ways you can access your capital and go through each one by one. Eventually, you’ll find the right information but in order to do that, you have to start looking.

4. Family - This could range from lack of support, to having young kids and consequently not having enough time for yourself, to having to relocate either individually or with your entire family to a new place, etc. It’s usually tough with family because of the emotions involved and pursuing your idea may seem selfish in the grand scheme of things. Ask yourself this, though, what do you want for your life and that of your family a couple of years from now? Is what you want to do leading you towards achieving that goal? If yes, then go for it. A big caveat though is that just because you feel very strongly about it, it doesn’t mean that you will succeed. You still have to consistently work at it and even so, success will not be a guarantee. Life is about taking chances but make sure the actions you take are based on an analysis of risks (could be positive or negative) and how you are best placed to mitigate those risks.

I know I haven’t captured everything on this list so do let me know of the things that make it difficult to start.

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I genuinely believe life is a two-way traffic. These are my opinions based on my experiences. I'd love to hear back if yours were the same or different. Or at the very least your thoughts and expectations of the entrepreneurship or leadership journey.

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