This guest post is by Mr. Broke Professional: the husband in the husband/wife team behind Brokeprofessionals.com.
When you tell friends or family that you want to start your own business, you will likely hear one of two responses.
- Response A: “You can’t do that! You’re too young! You need to keep working for your employer for a few more years. That way you can develop the skills and contacts you will need when you start your own business.
- Response B: “You can’t do that! You’re too old! You have kids and a big mortgage and private school educations to pay for. Just be thankful in this economy that you have a decent paying job. Once you save some more money maybe you can consider branching out (maybe).
No Perfect Time to Start a Business
Like choosing when to get married or when to start a family, there is no perfect time to branch out on your own. There is no perfect time to start an entrepreneurial adventure. Yet, at the same time, the opportunity is always out there for anyone willing to risk it. There is no guarantee of success if you do. but at the same time, if you stay employed by somebody else you are always just two short words away from your whole world being turned upside down.
I am a young professional and my goal has always been to go off on my own. The problem for me and most people in my situation is one of a lack of knowledge and contacts. Another problem is that in certain fields (mine being one of them), clients do not enjoy the fact that I look so young. The issue that arises as you age is one of “golden handcuffs.” You are earning too much and lifestyle creep has set in to stay. You can’t afford a way out.
Like many people in their late twenties (or early thirties), I probably do lack the skills and contacts to have a successful business as soon as I branch out on my own. At the same time, in most instances when you are younger you do not have anything really holding you back.
I have read book after book about business. When I work at my job I keep note of how they run their business as much as how they practice their profession. I go to every seminar I can on the subject of business development. The problem is, you will never know if you can make it in business unless you try it for real. You can not simulate running your own business.
Trying to Find Some Support
My wife’s father started what is now a very successful business in his late twenties. At the time he had a wife and two children. I spoke with him about my dreams one night and even he told me to bide my time and wait. The conversation went as expected, when I started with
There’s no perfect time to start a business though
You should take more time to learn your trade…I don’t want you guys to have to struggle through those early years like we did.
To be sure I understood what he is saying, just like I understand that most businesses fail. At the same time, you will never know if your business can succeed or not if you never take the risk and start one.
Now I recognize that there are moments that are better than others for starting a business. Moments where opportunity and luck meet in the perfect middle ground, and you just know that starting your own business is the right play. You may have an opportunity to buy out the company you work for. Or a big client may tell you that they will jump aboard your new business if you go off on your own.
For most of us, however, we are stuck with a sense of vague uncertainty, and the fear of constantly waiting for that “perfect moment,” but never actually following through on our passions and dreams of starting our own business.
I do not believe that I have the right to follow my dreams at all costs. I am married and I have another person to consider. Nor do I believe that my own business is a manifest destiny or something that I am entitled to. But at the same time I do know that there’s no perfect time to start my own business, and that is at heart what I really want to do with my life.
To summarize, I guess the question for me is: So how is right now any more imperfect a time than any other?
Any thoughts on people going through such a crises of conscious? Any resolutions? I am looking forward to reading and responding to your comments.
Broke Professionals is a personal finance blog aimed at overeducated and underpaid. Join the husband/wife blogging team of Broke Professionals as they attempt to dig themselves out of a combined six figures in student loan debt.