Starting Your 1st Business? Are You Sure?!

Mike McGrail
3 min readOct 8, 2019

11 things to seriously consider before you take the plunge…

Thinking of leaving your job to start a business? Great idea. Or is it? Some serious things to consider before taking the plunge, influenced by my eight years in business.

1 — Are you prepared for how hard it can be? If you’ve only ever been employed, the chances are you haven’t faced the challenges and pressures that running a business brings. Eight years in and I never feel settled.

2 — Can you handle not always feeling secure? By that I mean things like ‘Am I going to make enough money this month to pay my rent\mortgage, feed myself and so on. I’m not sure that insecurity ever goes, even as your business grows. All relative.

3 — Are you able to be 100% accountable? You can’t hide behind your employer’s name. If you f*** up, you need to admit it, fix it and ensure the best possible outcome for your client/customer.

4 — Is adaptability something that applies to you? You 100% will have to handle a number of tasks from day 1 — marketing, sales, books, legals etc to name but a few. Yes, there are people that can help, but won’t you necessarily be able to pay them from the start.

5 — Can you graft? It’s not a 9–5 scenario. Even if you aren’t physically working, you’ll struggle not to think about work. If you currently have a job that allows you to ‘switch-off’, you need to be willing to say bye to that. I’m terrible at taking a break.

You may feel like this!

6 — A life of glamour? Hell no. Don’t believe the social media bullshit you see from many business owners. I’ve just been cleaning my office and studio. I just accept that it’s not all lunches and high-fives.

7 — Are you willing to listen and take advice? I’ve been too head-strong over the years and not acted on great advice. You need to be able to filter out the bad advice, and appreciate and act on the good.

8 — Is patience a virtue for you? Yes, things can happen fast, but if you don’t have patience, then you can end up pushing too hard, when waiting and sticking to a realistic plan is probably the best option.

9 — Can you let others in? At many times over years I should’ve allowed others to become a key part of everything I do, however, I’ve been resistant and that’s likely been detrimental.

10 — Do you know when to quit? Flogging a dead horse will lead to heartache.

11 — So much of this is about resilience. Having a thick-skin. Being able to fail on a micro or macro level, learn from it and drive on.

Most of these may happen when you’ve actually taken the plunge, and that’s only natural, but please do seriously consider these points.

There’s huge fulfilment to be had by not running a business and focussing on a career. Being an ‘entrepreneur’ has become very trendy and as with many things, just isn’t for everyone.

By the way, it’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll do, just be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

What do you think? Is there anything you’d add?

Image credits:

Man falling by Blake Wheeler on Unsplash

Stressed guy by by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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Mike McGrail

Marketing consultant with 12+ years in the game. I work in whisky and gin marketing. It’s great. Writing about many things.