When starting a new business later in life, would-be entrepreneurs can be hesitant to move forward. Their life experiences lead them to think there is a “right way” or “wrong way” to start or run a business. Fear of making a mistake, or of not knowing enough, or of “embarrassing themselves” can hold them back. They’ve made mistakes. They’ve seen others make mistakes. They have something to lose. They have spouses and kids and mortgages and car payments and elderly parents who need care and support. They are making a livable wage at their current job and the uncertainty of something new seems too risky when compared to the security of their known situation. All these things can conspire to provide plenty of reasons to not start that new business or explore that new idea.
There is a perception that all of this turns on its head in a downturn or layoff. The “bird in the hand” is gone… so if the person has a severance, isn’t this the time to start a new venture? It is tempting to think that should be the time to experiment and finally try the new idea.
But experience indicates that it does not work that way. Suddenly unemployed individuals may start to pull together a new business idea, but often accept the first position they are offered in order to return to financial security. However, entrepreneurs tend to make the dream happen despite the other factors in their lives, not when the other factors perfectly align. How do they do it?
A common trait in successful entrepreneurs is the ability to see obstacles as detour signs, instead of stop signs. Instead of waiting for the perfect time to start, they turn this time into the time. Life coach Marie Forleo coined the phrase, “everything is figureoutable,” which sums up this outlook and approach. If you want to make something happen, you will find a way to keep going, regardless what obstacles are thrown in your direction. Can’t solve it yourself? Find someone who can.
This does not mean to quit your day job and start your business without a financial plan, throwing caution to the wind and assuming your hard work will make money appear. What it means is you do both. Carve out time to work on your idea instead of watching tv or scanning through Facebook. Test your idea through research and pilots. Find partners and advisors who have expertise you don’t, and schedule regular meetings to hold yourself accountable for making progress.
You are in control of when it’s the right time.