“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb.

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs. I also meet a lot of people who want to be entrepreneurs and ask me, “When do you think the best time is to start a business?”

Like the tree in the proverb above, it is no different when it comes to entrepreneurship, and to the dismay of many people who ask, my answer is always the same… “Now.”

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, just as you cannot be a “swimmer” until you have jumped into the pool and begun swimming, you cannot be an “entrepreneur” if you have not taken the first step and begun your first business. Talking about it, thinking about it, reading about it… yes that will help you. But like swimming, the real lessons don’t start until you’ve jumped into the pool.

Secondly, entrepreneurship – like anything else worthwhile – can take years of practice and experience, to develop the skills, mindset, knowledge, understanding and personal qualities needed to build successful businesses time and time again. The sooner you get on with it, the quicker you’ll learn.

A big reason people never get started is because they want to try and eliminate the possibility of anything going wrong when they do eventually get around to it. They are always waiting for a better idea, a better economic climate, a better government, more time, more money, more knowledge, more confidence.

But the reality is that things will go wrong, you will make mistakes and you will learn your biggest lessons from the mistakes you make, so the quicker you get them out of the way, the better.

Conversely, the longer you procrastinate, delay and put off the inevitable, the longer you’ll put off your success as an entrepreneur. Simple as that.

I then get the usual raft of responses… “But I don’t have any good ideas”, “But I don’t have any experience”, “But I don’t have any money”, “But I don’t have any time”, “But I have kids”, “But I have a full time job”, “But I have a mortgage”, “But I’ve worked so hard to get where I am already”, “But I’m too young”, “But I’m too old”… and so on and so forth. To which I reply, “But that’s exactly what the job of the entrepreneur is – to start and build something great, in spite of all these challenges.”

The first step in becoming an entrepreneur is to understand and develop the entrepreneur mindset.

Lack of money? An entrepreneur finds a way to raise some or make do without it. Lack of experience? An entrepreneur will start and learn quickly as they go, or find people with the experience they need. Lack of a “great” idea? An entrepreneur goes to work on the best idea they have right now, knowing that will lead to further (better) opportunities as they get moving. Lack of time? An entrepreneur finds a way to make time.

At the end of the day it comes down to your commitment to being an entrepreneur. How badly do you want it? Are you prepared to let life and your current circumstances determine what you can have and when you can have it?

Or are you prepared to accept full responsibility for the achievement of your goals in life, and to find a way to make it happen no matter what?

If your answer to this question is “Yes”, then the truth is that you have everything you need to get started, right now.

There is no such thing as the “perfect” time. But for a true entrepreneur, it is always the right time.


Richard Liew is founder and editor at #nzentrepreneur

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