Are you ever actually going to start your business?

Are you ever actually going to start your business?

Dustin Lien
July 20, 2018

This is a piece of “tough love” content, because I care about what happens to you.

If you’ve been pondering starting a business or a side project for more than 3 months, and you haven’t even started yet, it’s time to check yourself.

There are people who have been consuming my content (which is almost all about entrepreneurship, by the way) for 5+ years, and have never even reached out to a potential customer, and it saddens me because they’re stuck in limbo and it’s damaging their quality of life.

Some people have watched over the years as I started with nothing, no network, no money, living in a new city, and with just a few limited skills, and have now written and released two books (soon to be three), started and failed at 12 businesses until one finally worked, coached and consulted for influential brands and 7-figure startups, and launched an online course teaching others how to start their own consulting or freelance business

…and still, even as I’ve shared everything I’ve learned, mostly for free, some people refuse to start.

And there’s nothing more special about me than anyone else.

Only two options exist: 1.) You start your business or 2.) You don’t.

Neither is correct, neither is wrong, The only damaging option is indecision.

I’ve been in this game long enough to have discovered answers to some of the most common reasons people fail to take any action.

1. Waiting for the perfect timing
The perfect timing doesn’t exist, and although it’s possible that some timing can be better than others, it won’t make any kind of long-term substantial difference to your new business. It just doesn’t work like that. Just launch, and work hard.

2. Afraid to talk to significant other about it
My wife and I had countless conversations about the fact that I wanted to start a business. The reality is, it’s an ongoing conversation, and it’s not your significant other’s job to support you or to believe in you (although I hope they do). Be open, be honest, and keep talking throughout the process.

3. Afraid your boss will find out and fire you
I remember having this fear that my boss would see on social media or somewhere else on the internet that I had a blog about wanting to start a business, and that if I really started one and started trying to grow it for real, my boss would find out and fire me. Good. Your boss sucks if they fire you for that. If that happens, find a new job with a better boss. This is a stupid reason to never start a business.

4. Unsure of logistics
This one makes the most sense to me because I know there are a lot of questions I had at first about any legal things I might need to do, and laws or regulations that need to be followed, and what I would do with my taxes. The reality is, you can find out 99% of logistics by Googling it. Stop procrastinating.

5. Afraid of not succeeding and having wasted time
Failing is not wasting time, it’s learning from an experience. Not doing anything is wasting time.

6. Afraid of failing in front of friends and family
It’s not that bad. People don’t care as much about what you’re doing as you think they do. Read about my experience.

7. Not sure how to get customers
You won’t know until you start trying. Start with friends and family, then ask people to refer a friend, then start talking about it on social media, then build a community, then get other people in similar communities to talk about your thing, plus a hundred other ways. Just start, and learn as you go.

8. Don’t have money for startup cost
No problem, just start a business that doesn’t require anything, like a consulting or freelance business that you can run online. You don’t need a website or business cards or a logo or anything like that until you have a few customers anyway. Don’t waste money on things like that before you know if the business is going to work or not. Bootstrap baby! Also, if your idea is super duper big, you can always find an investor.

9. You want to make sure everything is planned out just right
This is called fear and procrastination. Plan some, yes, but launch when you feel 80% ready, and iterate based on feedback from the market.

10. You’ve tricked yourself into believing you have taken action
If you’ve started creating blog posts, podcasts, Youtube videos, and trying to grow your social media following because you want an audience to launch your business to, that’s almost always a trap. If you don’t know what your product or service is going to be, how do you know you’re attracting the right followers anyway? It can easily feel like you’ve started a business because you’re busy making content, but if you don’t make any money, it’s not a business. Don’t trick yourself.

No more wishy washy, no more contemplating, no more delays. If you’re going to start a business, just do it, and if you’re not going to start a business, that’s ok, accept that and move on with life so you can focus on things that matter to you.

Enough is enough.

Written with love,