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I’ve now surpassed 12,000 people reading this newsletter with over 14,000 followers on Twitter. While this side of the internet is still very niche, I’ve grown to a point where many of my readers aren’t die hard into starting their own online business.
The first few hundred followers were definitely “all about that life”. As I’ve grown, two things have happened.
First, some of the people that were all about starting a business and escaping the corporate rat race, are no longer with me. They’ve long given up. Too hard. Too much work. Not enough time.
In short, unrealistic expectations.
The second group is what happens when you grow. A lot of people are interested in the topic but only passively. This was me before I entered the ecom field.
Always interested in starting something and jumping from idea to idea before I ever got started. Imagine if you went into college with this mindset. It’d take you a decade to finish, if at all.
We all like to read entrepreneur porn… Stories of how other people succeeded… What they did… What they built… How they did it… It really helps with understanding the landscape of business.
It has it’s place in the *very beginning*, but it’s no substitute for real directed action for months and years.
It tricks our brain into thinking we’re being productive and moving forward in life. We get the dopamine hit then go back to watching Netflix (because I’ve earned it).
Then, there’s the group of people that have ridiculously unrealistic expectations.
These are the people that have been sold some dream by some scammer. Passive income, get rich quick, FOREX trading, momentum stock trading, MLM schemes, etc. It’s amazing that many of these people will work for years trying to make money through every scam in the book instead of spending that time building a real business.
Today, I wanted to give you a list of the most common excuses I hear constantly and why they’re BS.
Hopefully this gets you past the entrepreneurial motivation porn, inaction, & scams that you’re currently stuck on while making excuses on why you haven’t started yet.
If you want to start, you have to admit to yourself that you’re making excuses. You have to question these excuses and realize you are the only one actually holding yourself back.
I Don’t Have an Idea
The real problem here is either you don’t have enough experience in business or you haven’t studied businesses enough.
The replies to this tweet are telling for two reasons. (ignore the troll comments!)
In the first group of replies, a ton of cope and show how little most people actually understand about business and the economy.
“It can’t be done unless it’s illegal” - This is the mindset of so many people, especially me when I was younger. So many people think that anybody making more than them has to be doing illegal or immoral behavior.
Tens or hundreds of thousands of people do it every year with even less startup capital than $100k.
“None of these ideas are innovative” - They don’t have to be. Most businesses that print cash are boring. We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that VC funded tech startups are the only way to start a business. The ideas doesn’t have to be innovative. The execution has to be on point though.
The second group of replies, while not innovative, gives you a small glimpse into the amount of business models available to the average person. Most of them can be started with a few thousand dollars and hard work.
If this is your excuse, you should go through the replies of that tweet and ladder up and down the niches that are mentioned. For example.
Data broker - Hard to start if you’re looking to be a huge data broker, but within this category/niche, there’s goldmine opportunities and businesses that most people don’t realize exist. Here’s some offshoots of the data broker industry that are easier to start.
Businesses that have a bot scrape data for pricing on app & web and then sell the data to their competition for pricing decisions.
Businesses that listen to earnings calls of other businesses and categorize what they say (growth projections, pricing decisions, industry trends, etc) then sell it back to all of the businesses in the industry in an aggregated form.
Businesses that buy credit card data or data from other data brokers, parse it, then aggregated it for industry trends and sell it back into the industry.
The size of the data broker industry and the offshoot companies would blow the mind of the average American.
This is all to say that there’s a lot more opportunities out there than the average person realizes. There’s so many niches out there that it’s impossible to wrap your head around all of the different businesses that can be started.
In the last few years, I personally know people that I know have accomplished this in less than a year with even less money doing:
Service business like HVAC, electrical, landscaping, etc.
You Have Kids
In short, having children should drive you more, not less.
Do you not want to give them the life that you never had? Do you not want to give them opportunities available only to the upper echelons of society?
If you answered no to either of those;
You’re wildly misinformed OR
You have bad reading comprehension OR
You’re a mediocre parent at best
This advice is literally coming from someone that has a couple of young children playing in the other room as I type… I hear their giggles and think “Why wouldn’t I want to give them everything I never had?”
It’s Too Risky
Build until your side business is 2X your income - Eliminates the risk of the jump. Problem of risk solved.
You know what’s even more risky? Having 80%+ of your income dependent on the whims of an executive team or consultant that doesn’t even know you.
“I’m Not as Smart as You”
If you have a room temperature IQ, sure, this is a valid excuse.
Anything above that is just an excuse. While you may not build the next Amazon, most business owners aren’t exceptionally smart. Average or slightly above average intelligence is actually a slight advantage.
The ironic part of intelligence is it makes you more accurately think through everything that could go wrong, actually making it more difficult to start.
What you need to start a business is confidence and determination. Very smart people usually end up in analysis paralysis and never get started.
You Don’t Have Enough Time
What you actually meant to say is you’re bad at time management and it’s not a priority compared to other things in your life.
Everyone has the same 24 hour days and somehow others make time.
You make time for things that are important.
You make time for watching TV, seeing your in-laws, catching a game, being on social media, arguing on the internet, debating irrelevant things that you can’t change, tinder, holiday lounging, etc.
If none of the above actually applies to you, then you’re wasting time on low value things that you shouldn’t be doing. Take a week and record what takes up your time every day.
Then follow the below ruthlessly.
You’ve Earned My Relaxing Time
You haven’t earned anything outside of being forced to go to a 9-5 for the rest of your life. You’ve earned enough to keep your position in life. Maybe not even that when the next round of layoffs happen.
Like a 50 hour week is actually an accomplishment. The bar is set really low in the modern day western world…
Your job is only there to keep your station in life with maybe a slight increase from year to year. You’re not earning your freedom in that job. You’re earning your captivity and current social status. Nothing more.
It’s Too Hard
Clicking buttons on a computer is too hard?
Sitting in a chair is too hard?
Talking on a phone is too hard?
Googling your problems and reading is too hard?
If you think this, have you ever done anything actually hard in your life? Have you ever roofed in the dead summer in the south? 10 mile ruck march with 50lbs on your back? Poverty? Cut tobacco for 12 hours a day? Gone a mile underground to dig for coal?
X is Too Expensive
Yes. There are businesses that are too expensive for you to start. No argument here on that one. Here’s three “secrets” though.
Most businesses can be started with less money than you imagine. You don’t need 90% of what you think you do to start. A large percent of businesses can be started for less than $1k in today’s age. An even larger percent for less than $10k.
You can owner finance to buy a business
You don’t have to pick the most expensive business to start for your first venture. “It’s all or nothing man. I need a million dollars to start or I’m just going to relegate myself to a job for the rest of my life” is essentially what most people are saying.
I Have A Good Job That I Can’t Risk
You don’t have to risk it. Here’s what you can do to eliminate the risks.
Don’t tell anyone you’re building
Don’t put your name on anything public facing
Be a cartoon character
Put it under an LLC, preferably an anon LLC from Wyoming, Nevada, etc.
Don’t ever visit the project on your work laptop
Make sure your employment contract allows you to work on other things that aren’t a direct competitor
Find another job if #6 doesn’t work
Build it big enough that when you monetize it, it pays you enough to live but don’t monetize before that point. Bypassing #6.
Put it in your spouses/parents name
There are some minor instances where you have to tell your employer if you bring in money outside of your main job. Those are usually positions that have a lot of government oversight. In this position, you have two options so you don’t actually break the law.
Ask for permission and hope for the best
Get a different job
It Takes Too Long
Compared to what? You probably have 30-60 years left to live. 3-6 years of real grinding & action to start a business and become completely free.
10% of your life sacrificing Netflix, news, and whatever else you waste your time on to be able to do almost anything you want for the other 90%.
Your problem is you’re used to being sold dreams. Your expectation management is off because influencers and scammers have told you that you can do it in 3-6 week.
You Don’t Have Any Good Ideas
It literally doesn’t matter. Don’t confuse this for “I don’t have any ideas”.
You’re probably going to fail on your first attempt so the idea isn’t that important. If you truly have no idea, build a consulting business and try to rank it.
Even a minor success in doing that will give you a cushion in case you ever get laid off. You’re fired or laid off? No problem, you have leads coming to you monthly from the consulting website and local rankings on your Google Business Profile.
You’re Scared or Have Imposter Syndrome
Everyone has fear and imposter syndrome. It’s what happens when you get out of your comfort zone or level up. It’s never going to go away except through repeat exposure.
So? Deal with it.
There won’t be a time when you magically stop having this and you allow yourself to start. If it does happen, then you’re moving so ridiculously slow that you’re going to fall behind.
You Don’t Believe It’s Possible
I truly don’t even understand this. It’s possible and it’s how the majority of people get rich or become financially independent.
You Don’t Know Where to Start
Go here and scroll down to the bottom of the 94+ 2000+ word posts that I’ve written and read from the beginning.
Literally 2-3 books worth of material. If at that point, you still don’t know where to start, message me or leave a comment and I will get you started.
It’s Not a Good Time
blah blah blah blah blah
Just like having kids or getting married, there’s never a good time to do it. There’s a few rare times where you shouldn’t try to start but you should start immediately afterwards.
You don’t have a job/cashflow. Fix that issue first.
Your baby is 0 - 3 months old. That first period can be incredibly rough especially with colic.
*Major* health issue. You’re no good if your health isn’t good. A fractured ankle, skin carcinoma, or a cold isn’t major for you excuse makers.
Outside of that, it’s just an excuse. There’s never the perfect time.
But But The State of The Country!
Can you change any of it? You going to save the banks personally? If not, read this.
You Have Plenty of Time
You don’t. If you’re 25, you’re going to blink and be 35 with kids.
You’re not ever too old to start but it gets slightly harder with every year that passes. More responsibilities, less time, less energy, etc.
You’ll Get Burnt Out
Whoopty doo. You think those kids making your iphone in China get burnt out on their 12th hour at the factory? The executive steering a multi-billion $$ company? The entrepreneur that sacrificed for years to get the product off the ground? This is only an excuse in the most prosperous countries and spoiled time in history.
Find out where your line is in burnout *once*, then toe the line. If your line is your 50 hour a week job, you don’t actually know what burnout is or you have bigger problems. (probably health or stress management)
The next line is always “but my main job will suffer!”. Will it? Are you sure?
Even if it does, is a reduction of 20% of performance going to get you fired or laid off?
You Have Analysis Paralysis
Pick what you think is the best idea (over the next 24 hours) and stick to it for 6 months. NO MATTER WHAT. Even if you think a better idea has come, even if it's not working, even if you hate it.
It’ll teach you:
How to build during the hard times
How to analyze an opportunity past the initial idea
Insert [Random Excuse]
This is just pure cope. There are always a few reasons why you should do something and a million reason why you shouldn’t do something. This nihilistic belief system will always stop you.
You have to get past this way of thinking and realize that those few reasons to do it trump the million reasons you shouldn’t.
This is me pleading with you to just start. I enjoy helping people and want to help you break free from your 9-5 and build something worth running.
I don’t want or need woo woo cheerleaders following me on Twitter or subscribed to my Substack. I want builders, entrepreneurs, and business owners. And I want you to turn into one of those.
If you’re subscribed to this newsletter, you need to keep in mind why we’re here.
Your boss and company, no matter how nice, doesn’t care about your future. Nobody outside of a few family members and select friends care about your growth and your future.
You are the only one that can save yourself and make your life what you want it.
Single player. Just you.
This Substack is here to help you build a business and build the life that you want. I’ve laid out the basics to understand, analyze, & grow most any online business.
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Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as legal for financial advice of any kind. These are opinions and observations, written by an anonymous cartoon Opossum, built up over years working in e-commerce & affiliate marketing.