Every time I start settling in to figure out what I want to do in my work life, I get bogged down by a ridiculous number of questions that boil down to the following:
- Can I really make a living from that?
- Are people really interested?
- Do I want to get stuck doing this forever?
We need to get past these questions. All of us. Can I make a living from that? With enough work and connections, yes, always, whatever it is. Even if it’s just writing freelance, offering in-home care, or starting a dog grooming business: you can make a living. And what happens if you can’t? Well, you don’t make that an option. You don’t give breath to that question, because doing so will get you nowhere. Focus on the goal, not the potential failure of said goal.
Are people interested in this thing I want to start? If you really need to know, then find out. Put it out there. Ask your social media groups if they would pay for this thing—ask how much they’d pay if you want, or better yet, give them a number. Ask what would keep them from doing this thing, and more importantly, why they want to do it in the first place. Now you have a survey. Boom! If you want peoples’ real answers, you can ask them to send you a check for a down payment, and when you start your business, maybe you’ll offer these clients a discount.
Another thing that terrifies me about starting a business is all the warnings about how it will take over my life, and I’ll be spending 15 hours a day working on it. While I believe this is probably true, I’ve also found that many small business owners are a bit disorganized. They might think they’re spending five hours on a project, but in between they’re talking to friends and going out to lunch and getting groceries.
When your time is your own, it’s too easy to keep pushing things off, or to work in pieces, and maybe that’s something you’ve got to do with your own business, but I believe there are ways to manage our time wisely in order to give ourselves consistent hours with weekends and even vacation time. I don’t think it has to be an all or nothing deal. And many entrepreneurs choose to work so many hours because they love what they do. And if you love what you do, then wouldn’t you want to work on your business?
If you decide after a year or two that you really hate what you do, then stop doing it. Change it, sell it, or close it. If you realize after this experience that you’d rather work for a boss, then so be it. This doesn’t make you a failure; it merely means that you’ve learned more about yourself. And knowing more about oneself seems like a gain, not a loss in my book. Got a business idea? Go for it. Focus on excitement and goals and steps to success. What have you got to lose?