Starting a business is not like working for a business.

Business startups increased in 2021, according to the US Census Bureau. This fact immediately raises the question of how it relates to the economy and the labor market.

Since January 2021, when the post-pandemic job market recovery began – with solid levels of confidence not seen since the 1990s – I have seen a dramatic increase and a steady flow in the number of people visiting my office, not for help finding a job (although that never ends), but for help starting a business.

Such upward movements typically occur during both low and high tides. In other words, when an express train headed south in 2008 — and got stuck at that station for a while — the number of people understandably unable to find work multiplied. They didn’t necessarily start a business for the right reasons, but many had no choice. The same is true in early 2020, when it took the economy just two months to lose 22 million jobs. On the other hand, when conditions are good – as they have been for the last two years – the trend is the same, but more optimistic.

Curious if I was seeing or missing a correlation between rising or falling business births versus the economy, I checked multiple government and private sources: Labor, Commerce, Census, SBA. In a word: none.

Doesn’t matter. There are common realities for starting a business in good times and bad, but one important fact in life to remember is that starting a business is different than working for one. Even the longtime employee with decades of experience as an employee will be just as shocking as starting a business is as it will be for the millennial who is shocked at even working for anyone.

I have founded and managed two start-ups – one in the 80’s for six years and my current coaching practice is now 26 years oldth Year – I want to give you some advice. No business or financial advice. Personal advice. I’ve discovered what it takes – traits, traits and actions – to start, grow and sustain a new business – no matter when you do it.

Vision. If you’re starting a business on the defensive because you can’t find a job or hate your boss or have an “oh goddamn you could too” attitude, you probably failed before you even got started. You must have a vision. And it has to be positive. Where are you going? who will you be who will you serve That must be crystal clear. It should be what keeps you up at night. it’s your dream

Purpose. What is the reason you are doing this? And that should make you jump out of bed every morning. it’s yours right to exist.

Planning. “The plans are fine,” General Dwight Eisenhower said, “until the fighting begins.” But he added, “In preparing for battle, I’ve learned that plans are useless, but planning is essential.” Creation of year – and quarterly plans. Then treat them as a contract with yourself. You can always change them if you need to, but never give up.

Offal. You’re on your own. It’s that simple. You don’t yet know how many bold decisions you have to make.

reserves. There is no longer anyone to pass on expense reports to, no one to cover your health insurance, no one to pay for airfare and hotel accommodation at important trade fairs, no fixed salary to bridge times of crisis. This is your role now.

attitude. Believing that everything will be fine is an important beginning. The will and willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen is the rest of what makes a great attitude.

No guilt, no shame. It’s nobody’s fault if it doesn’t work. It’s good. That’s no shame either. But you have to agree with that.

Persistence. Big companies can take forever to plan things. You have to think, plan and act much faster. And you will make mistakes, even though you know that ultimately you are doing the right thing. So do it again And again. And again. Someday you’ll get it.

resilience. This is a long road and a bumpy road.

Balance. They are simultaneously pulled in twenty directions. Keeping balance is one of the most important but difficult challenges.

risk tolerance. Can you handle the financial uncertainty or doubts that often accompany important decisions?

lack of ego. Yes, you are the “CEO” – but don’t forget to clean the toilet and take out the garbage at night. That’s your job now too.

Sound Health. Risk. long hours. Sacrifice. Stay healthy better than ever. Call in sick? Forget it.

family support. Even if you can check all of the above, it’s a big problem if your family can’t handle it.

sense of humor. Aside from fire and the wheel (in my opinion), humor is what has driven us humans the most. You will need plenty of it.

And did you notice? You didn’t learn one of these 15 points in business school. No hard (technical) skill in it. None of this is about what you know or who you know.

It’s about who you are.


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