Q. Dear Zenagos, I’ve tried starting a business a few times before, but something always seemed to get in the way, and I would go back to a full-time job. Do you think I should try again, or should I just accept that I’ll never be an entrepreneur?
If your dream and passion is to be an entrepreneur, stick with it. As we discussed in a previous blog post about fear of failure, there are many stories of successful entrepreneurs who failed multiple times before they achieved their fame, including the founders of Domino’s pizza and Hershey’s chocolate company. Past performance does not guarantee future results – good or bad. Maybe this is the time that you are truly ready.
In order to improve your odds of success, we recommend that you reflect on your previous attempts and see if you can find some patterns. Is there a factor that is common to all of your previous tries? Maybe you can overcome that factor this time.
Passion for the Project
If you really love what you are doing every day, that will make it more likely that you will sustain the new business. In your previous attempts, were you doing something that you truly love? For example, if you love cooking, did you try something that enables you to cook every day? If you didn’t, that may be a helpful change to make this time around. Sometimes, entrepreneurs start a business because they think it will be profitable or in high demand, when they would be better off starting a business that they truly love. When the going gets tough, it can be the passion for the project that gets you through.
Lack of Time
Were there competing priorities that took away from your ability to pursue your business before? Most people can really only have two major projects in their lives. If you were already raising small children and maintaining a job, you simply may not have had enough energy to dedicate to your business. Perhaps things are different this time around, and the business can be one of the top two priorities in your life? If not, is there something you can deprioritize?
Were your previous projects undone by financial issues? Perhaps your situation is different now. If not, then you would be well served to make a financial plan before you try your next venture. Find a business mentor who can review your plan and help point out potential pitfalls. You can get a free mentor from SCORE. In a previous blog post about self-financing, we related that when businesses fail for business reasons, the majority of the time, it’s about money. Getting some expert advice now could help you avoid repeating the problems of the past.
Were your previous projects slowed by lack of information? This is another place that a mentor can help. People who have started several businesses can foresee problems and provide helpful perspective. Make sure that you are getting your information from real experts who can add value.
If being an entrepreneur calls to you, don’t be afraid to give it another try. What is important isn’t how many times you have tried – it is that you learn from each experience and take that insight into your next effort.