[This post is part of a series on four main myths that discourage entrepreneurship and how to overcome them. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
Letâ€™s replace the third myth with something productive.
Productive belief 3: you can venture with other people’s money if money is an issue
Productive belief 3a: you can make money while you start your venture
I don’t know any entrepreneurs who had enough money to start their ventures on their own. You don’t need to.
The first stages — developing the product, market research, developing a rough business plan, finding early team mates, and so on — can be done for nearly zero cost, should be fun or educational or both if you like entrepreneurship, and you can do them while working elsewhere (belief 3a).
If your venture requires more money than you have, you’ll help yourself by figuring out if you can get outside funds before spending your own. You can still do this while working. Figuring out if you can get outside funds forces you to tighten your business plan, sell your product, and ability to communicate your dream to others. By “selling your product”, I mean you should have had a few sales meetings leading to strong interest. By communicating your dream, I mean you should have shown your plan to a couple investors and gotten meaningful commitment.
By far the best money to start with is revenue. Advanced sales beat investment and loans any day. Even if you have money, forcing yourself to get sales early is one of the best things you can do to teach yourself the product, test the market, and get money.
Not having enough money on your own also forces you to conserve cash.
All in all, not having enough money to run the whole business does not have to stop you from starting your venture. In fact, it can help you run the business better.
By the way, if you have a job, there are many ways to cut your weekly hours or days to free time for starting your venture (belief 3a). I don’t know anyone who couldn’t cut their expenses by 20% and work four days instead of five in order to pursue their dreams in the remaining extra day. If things go well, drop another day. If you have a good relationship with your employer, negotiating a day per week off (as well as its pay) is possible.
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