When should I start my own business?

Date: 14th September 2012  |  Author: Sean Toomer

As an accountant, I’m asked this question a hell of lot. There are a few reasons why you’d start your own business when you do:

  • Forced – by need. You’re made redundant, lose your job, need to be home more for kids etc.
  • Desire – this is the best in my opinion and how the truly awesome, kick-ass, world changing businesses are born. You just have an absolute, need, want, ‘I’ve gotta do this!’ desire to go out there and change the world and aint no one stopping you.
  • Forced Desire – You’ve got the desire, but you’re a bit scared and you’re waiting (sub-consciously) for something to happen to force you into it.

When I’m usually asked this question 9/10 people are the in the third category – and so was I when I started.
I was sure I’d start my own business one day and had a massive desire to so, for loads of reasons, one of which was to shake up the accountancy world and be the difference young business people where looking for. But I was young, shy and scared. I didn’t know at the time, but I was waiting for something to happen to push me into it.
I only realised when things happened at my old firm I did not agree with. It’s funny; the tipping point (which I’m sure they still don’t realise) was that they moved me to a new desk. I had a nice big one, and they decided to move me to a horrible tiny one.

In any case, regardless of which of the 3 you’d fall in to, the answer is the same; Right Now!

Let me explain by first saying:

“There is no such thing as a unique thought”

I don’t care what your thoughts are on this, if you’ve got an idea, someone else is thinking it, perhaps on different levels, but someone else has the idea too (or will do soon). If you really don’t believe me, you’d be better off just trusting me anyway and acting as though someone else has the idea.

Do you think if Thomas Edison didn’t create the light bulb, we’d still be using candle light now? Do you think if Tim Berners-Lee didn’t invent the web, I’d be faxing this to you right now? Don’t be stupid.

If you don’t go with your idea, whether it’s a ground-breaking, world-changing phenomenon or just a different, better way of doing something, someone else will come up with the idea and beat you to it. The longer you sit on the idea, the greater the risk someone else will beat you to it. There is absolutely no value to an idea at all – it’s the execution that makes the money and if you haven’t got what it takes to execute it, you’ll make nothing.
I know; I came up with the idea of selling custom greetings cards online. I didn’t do anything and what do you know? A few months later moonpig.com came along. Am I suing them for millions for stealing my idea? No, because an idea aint worth anything without action.

So, if you really don’t believe me that there is no such thing as a unique thought, you’d be better off reducing your risk and thinking so anyway, just in case.

Now I’ll explain by saying:

“There will never be a perfect time to start your business”

There will always be an issue; your mortgage; your kids (dependants); I’ll just wait until I’ve paid off my car loan; I need to wait until I’m qualified; I just need to save a little more.
There will ALWAYS be these things in your life.
You’re just waiting for something to force you into it (but you just don’t know it yet).

So, take some advice from John Parkin and Fuck It…do it. Now! Before someone else does.

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