Now really is the best time to start a business. How do I know? Because I started one 15 years ago, and when I compare the process then to the process now, there is little doubt that it's easier and much more fun to start one now.
When I started the Indie Business Network in 2000, my friends and family members thought I was making a big mistake, and they told me so. While I cannot explain exactly how, I knew for sure that the decision I had made was the best one of my life. I sensed a huge change in how work would be defined in the coming years, and I wanted to be on the front end of it. Sure enough, Six months after I left my last job, everyone in my department was laid off. After that, the tech bubble busted wide open. Soon after that, the housing crisis came along, followed closely by the recession.
Yes, I'd say that defining my own career was the smartest thing I ever did. It's easier than ever before for you to do the same thing today. Here are some of the top reasons why now is the best time to start a business.
1. The odds are increasingly in your favor
There was a time when entrepreneurship was exceedingly risky. Today, nothing could be further from the truth.
While any kind of career choice involves risk, investing your energy and time a traditional job is just as risky as hanging out a shingle of your own.
The proof of this is in a new report from the Government Accounting Office stating that a whopping 40.4 percent of workers in the United States are contingent or part-time workers — up nearly 10 percent from 2005.
This means that close to half of Americans are at the beck and call of their employers, and are probably holding down more than one job. They have little to no control over their schedules and few and fewer of them have employer health insurance.
You can read the report in PDF format here.
These new statistics mean business ownership is nearly as secure as a full-time job, because s many of those jobs are going the way of the dinosaur. The potential downsides of starting a new business (risk, lack of “security,” working long hours, taking an income cut) are almost equal to the downsides of working in America.
At lest if you have your own business, you can control your own schedule. Hey, the way I see it, if you are going to work hard and be stressed out, you might as well at least control your schedule and build an asset that you and your family can own and control. I'll take those odds any day.
2. You will have lots of help
Because so many people are starting businesses today, either out of necessity or because they see that the odds are increasingly in their favor and want to give it a try, there is no shortage of people who can help you.
Local chambers of commerce are stronger than ever.
Online courses and educations resources are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. There are plenty of books available to help you.
There are some great business coaches, and they are not hard to find.
There is a trade organization for just about everything, and you can join and learn as you go with other like-minded business owners.
3. You don't need a lot of money
While you will need some money, and how much you'll need depends on the type of business you start, you will not need nearly as much money as you would have 15 years ago.
If you make tangible products, supplies are more readily available, and competition consistently holds down the prices of raw materials and supplies.
Computers are less expensive than ever. Domain and hosting services are practically free. If you want to have an online business, all you need is an Internet connection and a great idea.
WiFi service is everywhere, so even if you have your own, you can use the coffee shop's all day long until you can afford to buy some yourself.
Free and low cost training is everywhere. Using a blog and social media, you can reach out online and connect with coaches, mentors, and millionaires in your field in an instant.
Using a reasonably solid business plan and a manageable product or service line, you can boot strap a business from start to finish, and never ever take on debt. That was not possible in 1995 when I left my first job to start a business.
4. It's more fun than ever
Fun is a huge motivator, don't you think? People the world over are starting businesses today, and you can connect with any of them. Meeting people who are doing the same thing you are doing is one of the things that makes entrepreneurship such a fun endeavor.
You are never alone. There is always someone to celebrate with. There is always someone to cry with.
There are business retreats and exciting conferences in big cities and small towns. Local pop ups, farmer's markets and working co-ops ensure that every industry has community online and off.
You can learn online or you can learn in person.
You can match your personality to your business type. You can make a lot of money or you can make a little bit of money. The world is your oyster. It's never been as much fun as it is today to start and manage your own business.
5. You will create a legacy
My father was a high school principal. A few years after he retired, the campus football stadium was named “Coles Field” in his honor. It stands today as a fitting legacy to a man who dedicated his life to helping young people succeed.
While his legacy and similar ones that top off a traditional career are wonderful, there is a different kind of pride in building something by hand from scratch, from nothing, and molding it into a business that can support you and your family, and last your lifetime and beyond.
A traditional job offers a different kind of experience, and does not include lifestyle perks that are so important in this fast-paced, technologically driven world today.
6. You will find customers
I don't know about you, but I had no idea that there was a market for black lip stick, and then I found the Portland Black Lipstick Company on Etsy.
I knew there were goats in the world, but I did not know they needed pajamas.
I have a few pairs of flip flops, but none with grass built right in for that “walking across a freshly mowed lawn” feeling. Really?
Yes, there is something for everyone, and if your product or service is even minimally useful, and you believe if int and are willing to work hard to market it, then you will find customers and you can grow a business.
What do you think of this list? Did I leave some things out? Am I mistaken? Is now NOT the best time to start a business? Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.