In September 2013, this article predicted that in 2013 there will be over 40’000 new businesses in Switzerland.
When I first saw that number, I could hardly believe my eyes. It’s an astonishing number of new businesses that are started and 2013 may have broken all the records in Switzerland’s history in terms of new businesses.
I started jordico as a business in early 2013 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Looking back, it was already a ride of a lifetime and I am extremely excited about what’s to come in 2014 and beyond.
Starting Your Own Thing is No Longer Just an Option
It used to be the case that you were able to leave your career development and job security in the hands of an employer. It also used to be the case that you were able to leave the management and growth of your pension funds in the hands of your government.
Those days are clearly gone.
Just recently, one my friends asked me about some advice what to do because her company let go 500 people in Switzerland. My answer always includes starting your own business and deciding to lead your career instead of managing it.
What’s Your Excuse?
Every single person I talk to and who is employed, I always ask “Did you ever think about starting your own business?”. The answers differ but most of them start with a “Yes of course…” and then there is the “but”, followed by an excuse.
When I was still employed as a corporate paper-shuffler, I probably used every single one of these excuses myself.
Let me show you some of the most common ones that inhabited my head for a long time and may do so in your head.
1. I Don’t Have Enough Money
What does enough money even mean? Do you need ten million, maybe five? Or is it rather that you merely need a few thousand or even less to start with?
You don’t have to build the next Google, Facebook, Apple or become Richard Branson.
I started my business with less than CHF 1000.- because I simply did not have more. When I started jordico, I was broke to the point where I had to rent out my apartment and go live with a friend for a while to be able to pay my bills.
I know how hard it is to build a business from zero with almost zero money, I did it myself.
Still, it’s no excuse for not starting but actually a great reason why you must start.
2. I Can’t Risk Anything, I Have a Family to Support
This is one that I hear from most people with families and I get it. Risking something when it’s just you is much easier than when you have financial commitments to somebody you love.
Just realize that you don’t risk everything if you start your business, your blog, your thing on the side next to your full time job. That’s how I started my blog that eventually evolved into a business.
Before I started jordico, I miserably failed with 2 side-project ventures and have been able to make all the mistakes while still being employed so I don’t make them again.
Also realize that if you are not willing to risk the slightest thing, you are probably not getting very far in your career either, needless to say in business. Every change comes with risk, there are no guarantees any more.
Another thing you have to realize is that risk and safety have switched places recently.
In the industrial economy, choosing the safest option was a valid choice. However, in the new economy we live in, safe has become risky and risky has become the new safe.
There is no system anymore that you can rely on to take care of you for the next 40 years. The system is broken and the only way to be safe is to create something that you have control over.
3. I Don’t Have Any Great Ideas
Another excuse I hear all the time. Seth Godin asked a great question that uncovers this excuse. “Do you have any bad ideas?”.
If you have enough bad, stupid and crazy ideas, you come up with an amazing one along the way. I come up with plenty of crazy and stupid ideas all day long and sometimes, I find a gem.
Also realize that a great idea won’t save you. Exceptional people always make up for an O.K. idea but the best idea in the world is lost in the hands of people who don’t act on it.
You can take a mediocre idea, inject it with outstanding and remarkable people and build something significant.
Venture Capitalists, for example, don’t judge a venture just based on the idea. They know that the people behind it matter much more than just the idea.
Choose a calm Sunday afternoon, take your notebook and a pen with you and get to a quiet place. Sit there for 2 hours, pump out all the bad, crazy, stupid, over-the-top and impossible ideas and write them down.
You will probably have more ideas than you could have imagined to choose from after that session.
4. I Don’t Have Enough Experience
Experience in what? How much is enough experience? Who told you, you need more experience?
It’s not experience that gets you clients, it’s how well you sell your unique self to the people you are meant to serve. If you think you need more experience, learn how to sell yourself more effectively & authentically.
I’m not the most experienced advisor or coach out there. In fact, in everything that I have done by now, I have always been the youngest.
I started selling real estate at the age of 18.
I was the youngest recruiter who was dealing with Vice Presidents and other executives at big banks in Zurich at the age of 19.
I did not sell real estate or make business deals because of my experience, that’s for sure.
People engaged with me because I had built relationships with them. I showed as much personality as possible and the people I was meant to serve loved doing business with me and vice versa.
5. I’m Not a Natural Born Entrepreneur
From time to time I encounter somebody who thinks they are not suited for being in business for themselves.
I think this comes from a misconception about a few things.
Maybe you don’t like to promote yourself because it does not feel authentic or natural to you. Maybe you think you have to be ruthless and cruel to make it in today’s business world. Maybe you think that it’s a lot safer to be employed than to be in business for yourself.
Whatever your doubts are, you should probably test these assumptions before you make any conclusions.
Like, for example, is it really safer to be employed in a world where thousands of people get laid off in an instant, every single day? I doubt it.
Or what if there was a system that could help you sell yourself in an authentic and natural way so it actually becomes easy and fun?
I don’t believe there are natural born entrepreneurs. I believe what makes it more natural for people to start a business is the degree of how much they have been brainwashed by the industrial age and its educational system.
How many times have you been told that something is impossible?
How many times have you been told to comply and to fit in?
How many times have you been graded based on one right or wrong answer in a world where there is no black or white?
How many times have you been told that making mistakes is a bad thing?
You can become a natural born entrepreneur if you un-educate yourself from the brainwashing.
6. I Don’t Know How to Get Clients
Ok, I get it. It seems scary to go out there, by yourself, trying to sell yourself and get clients.
I can even accept if you tell me “I don’t want to do this, I want to live a mostly comfortable life and work for somebody else.”, even though I don’t think that path is going to be so comfortable in the years to come.
What I can’t accept is you telling me that you don’t know where to get the knowledge. With the biggest library in the world at your fingertips, professionals who can help you with every single detail, organizations and support systems in Switzerland that help you set up a business, I just don’t buy your excuse.
If you need a reliable system and structure so getting clients becomes easier and more fun than you could ever have imagined, get Michael Port’s book, Book Yourself Solid. I have built my entire business based on that system and continue to do so, because it works.
And if you still struggle with getting your message out there in a way that connects with the people you are meant to serve, building a network of potential clients and partners who inspire and energize you or creating a keep in touch strategy that gets you more clients and referrals than you can handle, get in touch with me.
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