What stops you from starting your own business?

I've been a Wantrepreneur for as long as I can remember. The idea that I can run my own business sounds idyllic (or is that idealistic?). However, when the pandemic hit and everyone was jumping ship to other companies or becoming their own boss, it only made me think how much I like the security of having a 9-5, and that at the end of the day, I can call it the end of the day and completely switch off to be with my family.

I have a small business on the side, that I've been slowly building over the past five years. It brings in a small profit but is really more of a hobby project. I know I'll never go all in on it, and it makes me wonder how many other people are also wantrepreneurs, maybe doing something small but knowing they'll never stop being an employee. Is it because of Fear? Lack of time? Lack of energy? Financial instability? Something else?

  1. 4

    I almost feel like working a 9-5 with a small <5k MRR business on the side is kind of the ideal. At least while still learning the ropes. You get all the benefits and a true sandbox to explore with the business because you have the safety net. Plus you're making some revenue so you don't feel bad dumping 1k into a google ads experiment.

    It's not where I'd like to stay long-term, but I think it's the best way to learn. I previously thought "man the second this thing is making a couple thousand a month I'm OUT of my day job".

    Now, I no longer feel the rush. I simply want to enjoy each phase of growth as it comes.

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      Completely agree. I think this is all the more relevant if you have a family to support. I'd also add you gain additional experience in your 9-5, assuming it's a field relevant to your side business

  2. 3

    @GregariousHermit, In part it's fear of the uncertainty, and in part, it's the fact that most of us are creatures of habit.

    Our jobs and schedule become our habits, and most of the time, we are unable to break free of that. I am not touching upon one of the very important reasons in many cases, which is related to finances and financial safety.

    However, if we really wish to be an entrepreneur, in the true sense of the word, then it's always better to plan and go for it.

    I had been a Wantrepreneur for years - in fact, since I graduated - but could never go for starting a business. All the above reasons, plus the fact that I was continuously growing in my career, were applicable to me. But then I did decide to go for it over a cup of coffee. Quit a handsome, well-paying job and just went for it.

    The following post mentions that part of the story of my life:


  3. 2

    Working a 9-5, it's difficult to transition to self-employment.

    Most people can't afford it financially to jump directly into their own business, hence need to build it on the side.

    Side projects are hard. It's stressful to invest the time additionally to a 9-5. As a consequence, side projects usually have a longer timeframe which makes it easy to loose focus.

    Even if you have the discipline and keep up motivation, most projects still fail. It's not like things become successful if you just do them. While this is normal, it's even more difficult when timeframes for side projects are bigger.

    I'm still trying to find balance between my 9-5 and a workflow that allows me to continuously and effectively work on side projects.

    1. 1

      I struggled with juggling 9-5 (and more) and side-projects for at least a couple of years. Then I decided to take the plunge and quit my job in August.

      I have given myself a runway (financially, and life-wise, by being clear with my spouse) and set some goals (which are slowly evolving as I go deeper) :)

      Let's see how this goes :)

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        All the best for this bold move!

        What's your starting point regarding projects/users/revenue and what does your runway look like?

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          I’ve got two projects in-flight: have a co-founder for one and am going solo on the second (it’s a much simpler problem). Have some early validation in the problem space (and it’s an area where there are players with success, but not the features/edge we are thinking of).

          Runway is 2 years. But we are targeting a healthy MRR within 1 year (or raising seed funding if that doesn’t happen, but the product and space looks viable).

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            Sounds like a reasonable plan. However not knowing exactly about your projects, it might be stressful having a complex project with a co-founder while managing a side-project. Interesting to see how this will pan out.

  4. 2

    I'm not sure what I'm lacking at the moment, but I am building small products and trying to validate them. I feel like everything I hit on I find some other product that's already doing it how I would've done it - like headless ecommerce, I found Snipcart which looks pretty damn good.

    I can build stuff and talk to users, good at sales, just lacking that singular thing to focus my energy on.

    Thanks for posting it's been helpful to clarify my thoughts and reflect. I'd love any feedback if you have any.

    1. 1

      I think a co-founder would help, a lot of my issues are around lacking someone to bounce off.

      1. 1

        Have you been actively searching for a co-founder/partner?

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          Yes, I’ve been networking at local meetups and starting to put myself out there a bit more (eg here). Early stages still.

          Any suggestions?

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            If you’re also in the same boat hit me up for a chat to bounce some ideas.

            1. 1

              Cool, would love to chat 👍

              Have no idea how to send you a DM here, if it's even possible.

              You can email me @ ooddaa@gmail.com

  5. 2

    Yeah, similar to you. I like the cushion of my 9-5. Not always happy to be an employee but know I wouldn't make the best founder either. I like working on side-hustles because I can work on them when I like rather than feeling obligated to.

    1. 1

      What makes you say you wouldn't make the best founder? Besides the fact that there is no such thing as "the best founder" :)

  6. 2

    I hate any kind of marketing/sales, it just feels so fake knowing I'm only talking to someone to make money from them. It puts me off starting my own business for that reason alone. Yes, I could get someone else to do it for me, but I'm so anal about being in control of everything. That would also make me a bad boss, haha.

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