Now’s The Time

There are lots of rec­om­men­da­tions when to start a busi­ness. Most­ly, we are advised to start-up when times are good and we can afford to invest some time and money in build­ing our own self-employed careers. Since I’ve dis­cussed that sev­er­al times over the last weeks, and , as so often, my view does not fit into the pre­vail­ing view, here are my 2 cents: The best time to start some­thing on your own is always…..now!

Most peo­ple aren’t self-employed, and most peo­ple have never asked them­selves whether to start some­thing on their own. Why should they? There is no rule that says “self-employment is the holy grail”. Of course, we know that self-employment can have pos­i­tive effects on our health, e.g. the like­li­hood of hos­pi­tal admis­sions of self-employed indi­vid­u­als is about half that of wage work­ers. This find­ing holds true even when account­ing for a poten­tial self-selection of the healthy into self-employment. How­ev­er, we don’t know whether self-employed — who often sim­ply can­not afford to become ill — are less sen­si­tive towards their (poten­tial) ill­ness­es.

Of my friends and busi­ness net­work, I couldn’t tell whether, in prin­ci­ple, it’s health­i­er to be paid on a month­ly basis or gen­er­at­ing suf­fi­cient rev­enues for a with­draw­al from the busi­ness account. I, myself, have never been employed by some­body else, except as a work­ing stu­dent, so I can’t com­pare. What I do know how­ev­er, is, that there are some of my friends who aren’t real­ly sat­is­fied with their jobs and like to dis­cuss the start-up and ven­ture cap­i­tal topic at din­ner par­ties. They then declare to be ready to quit their jobs as soon as the right tome has come. Ok, only when is the right time? Answers like “as soon as I have the right idea”, “after I have reached the next step on my career lad­der” — or even bet­ter — “when the right point of time has come” are given. Sorry guys, not one of you will start her own com­pa­ny. This is noth­ing else as pre­var­i­cat­ing. 

As so often in life, you typ­i­cal­ly know when the right time for some­thing has come, be it to move to anoth­er city, to leave your part­ner, to have kids, or to quit your job and start your own com­pa­ny. These sig­nif­i­cant moves in life usu­al­ly are trig­gered by a real need — in my case it was my father’s role model, who, earn­ing a decent income as a self-employed steel trad­er, returned home at 5pm, went on hol­i­days when it made sense, or played ten­nis with us kids when the weath­er — and not a boss — allowed it. I felt the need to live autonomous­ly and to decide about essen­tial aspects of my life — and my first com­pa­ny, an online trav­el agency, fol­lowed suit.

Of course, you should have some idea you plan to build your com­pa­ny on. And, of course there should be some vis­i­bil­i­ty regard­ing mar­ket poten­tial, prod­uct accep­tance and future rev­enues, before you start-up. It may be wise to gain some expe­ri­ence work­ing for a large enter­prise or a con­sul­tan­cy in order to build your net­work and not being forced to start from 0. How­ev­er, if you feel being ready for a change, go for it — start your own busi­ness — the best time for that is right now! 

There is one alter­na­tive I’d like to point out: if you join a com­pa­ny that allows you to act as if you were self-employed, that encour­ages you to cre­ate and pur­sue your vision of the busi­ness, go for that option! With Datarel­la, we have tried to cre­ate such a com­pa­ny — I’d describe our busi­ness as a cre­ative ven­ture at the high-end side of tech­nol­o­gy com­bined with suf­fi­cient busi­ness clout guar­an­tee­ing that the show goes on. Obvi­ous­ly, join­ing a com­pa­ny like Datarel­la could be a valid alter­na­tive to start-up!

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