A Handy List of Excuses - many mantras of self doubt.

Here's a list of excuses commonly offered for not implementing small business ideas that have potential for success.

These aren't necessarily the best excuses I've heard, but they're ones that are most commonly cited by individuals that just don't want to take the plunge.

I've rarely heard good reasons, just good excuses. They always sound more like that little "negative thinker" who sits on your shoulder and whispers into your ear.

That negative thinker is like the old joke: "I never went into the Army because I had a heart murmur - it kept murmuring "don't go, don't go."

What we're really talking about is "self talk". That discussion you keep having with yourself while you're driving. The inner voice that convinces you: not to call your old friend that you haven't seen in years; not to ask for the promotion at work; not to get out of that rut you've been in, and not to start a business because of the risk of failure even though there is clear opportunity for great success.

If you need a healthy list of excuses to keep you from opening a small business of your own, then here is a good place to start. Read on to discover how this type of "self talk" can stop you dead in your tracks.

Just remember what an excuse really is - it's a lie to make you feel better about what you have decided, what you believe in, or what you have done. Most everyone else sees them clearly as excuses.

It's a way of fooling yourself into thinking that having a regular job is best for you. If you've read this far, then you have a healthy interest in running your own operation. You might even make a go of one of those small business ideas you've been kicking around.

Don't sell yourself short - keep investigating various business opportunities and you'll eventually find one that matches your interest, skill and enthusiasm.

See if those little lies you tell yourself are among the list of excuses presented here. Let's take a look.


The Excuses

Here they are folks, the list of excuses - all focused on dissuading you from opening a small business. After reading through these, I think you'll agree that this list of excuses is just a bunch of negative thinking in a world filled with opportunity.

No funding - the most common of all excuses. We have bought into the idea that it takes money to make money. Nonsense! Do you have a lawn mower and a can of gas? If so, you can start cutting lawns and earn money now.

When I was a young kid, I used to push the power mower down the street and cut several lawns each week. In high school, I worked for a guy who had a pickup truck, two lawn mowers, and various hand and power tools for landscape maintenance. He made a living out of cutting grass, trimming hedges and planting bushes.

His business was based on what he could carry in his old hand painted pickup truck with homemade hand painted wooden high sides. Those Lawnboy mowers ran for years with hardly any maintenance. In the winter, he shoveled snow and cleaned driveways with a snow blower.

He never borrowed a cent to get the business started, and he only bought new equipment when he had earned sufficient money to do so.

If you're concerned about needing lots of money, perhaps you are barking up the wrong tree. Consider another business that doesn't require a large cash infusion to get it started.

Okay, we knocked that one off the list of excuses. That wasn't so hard. What's next on your list of excuses?

Insufficient resources - I had a guy tell me that he was struggling because of insufficient resources. He sent me a typewritten letter and then called me on the phone to discuss.

He couldn't get his business off the ground because he didn't have the "resources" that we had in our small company. I remember he strongly emphasized the word "resources" as if it were spelled "reeeesources".

I dryly remarked that he had a typewriter, for he had sent me a letter, and he had a phone, since we were talking on it. These were the same resources that I used to develop my own business, so I couldn't figure out what "reeeesources" he was referring to.

He didn't know either. It was just the number one item on his list of excuses, and I wasn't buying it.

I know there's more on your list of excuses. There was on mine, so what's next?

No experience - well isn't that the problem that we all have? What experience does anyone have at birth? So where do we get our experience? Well, we learn from others, we learn by doing, and we learn by taking a chance and finding others that will allow us a chance to learn by doing.

Granted, you're not going to fly a commercial jet with no experience, but that doesn't seem to result in a shortage of airline pilots. People get experience from somewhere.

Look at it this way. If you're waiting to get experience running your own business, and the lack of experience stops you from running your own business, then how are you ever going to get experience running you own business?

One way to get this off of your list of excuses is to gain experience on-the-job. That's how I did it.

Next issue please.

Nobody want's what I have to offer - how do you know? It's a big world out there, and there are lots of different people with different preferences. You might be surprised about what is popular and what pleases other people.

Have you asked around to see what interest there might be? I'd do that before I sold myself short on the suitability of my offering to the marketplace.

If you really think your skills, experience and products aren't what people are looking for, can't you improve that situation? Of course you can. You could if you wanted to.

Let's look at the next item on the list of excuses.

It's easier just to have my employer deduct the taxes from my pay - of course it is, and they won't deduct as much as you will with your own business, because you'll likely make much more income with your own enterprise.

When I started my own enterprise, my income immediately doubled. Yes, that's right, my income doubled instantly because I could charge my customers the same rate, but my overhead went down to nearly zero.

Much of the money that my former company was siphoning off of my contribution to company gross income went to pay corporate overhead that I wasn't using anyway. So, all that money previously wasted on corporate overhead went right into my pocket.

Bingo, I doubled my income by doing the same type of work, but doing it as a "one-zee" instead of an employee of another company.

Oh, and the whole tax deduction thing is something you do in the middle of January, April, June and September. It involves you paying an estimated tax based on what you made for the previous quarter. It amounts to a guess as to what you owe, and you write a check and mail it in.

It's easy as pie. More details and guidance on this subject can be found here.

What's next on your list of excuses?

The tax implications are confusing and lots of work - okay, you got me on this one. The IRS and all their forms can be intimidating, so get yourself a little help from a tax preparation specialist. Even tax preparation software can only get you so far and cannot replace a seasoned accountant. I pay about $300 a year for help, and then I don't have to mess with it.

With respect to keeping records, it isn't anymore confusing than what you do for your personal life. Keep track of what you earn and your expenses. Make certain your expenses are characterized so you know whether they are meals, lodging, fuel, tools, transportation, telephone, rent, or related expenses for your facility or home office.

It's just not that hard. Once you do it, you'll establish a pattern that you can follow each year.

I'll give you forms to follow. Click here to see how I track income and direct expenses. Click here to see how I gather and organize data to send to my tax preparer.

Next item on your list of excuses?

Putting all your eggs in one basket isn't a smart thing to do - and no one is encouraging you to do that. This is a common misconception about starting a business. Caution is always advised, and putting all your eggs in one basket isn't necessary.

Here are a few ways of protecting those "eggs" when you launch the business:

  • Start the enterprise as part time (nights and weekends).
  • Expand the business in a planned sequence of events, not as an all or nothing endeavor.
  • Count on your spouse or partner for household income.
  • Hit the ground running with a large job to kick things off.
  • Stay with your current employment on a part time basis while starting up your new enterprise.
  • Take a temporary leave of absence from work and use that time to launch the enterprise. Go back to work if things don't turn out as planned

You see, it's not all or nothing. You can do it more conservatively and that might be much more comfortable for you.

What's the next item on your list of excuses?

I'll miss the employee benefits that my company provides - no you won't, because you'll be providing that for yourself, and then some.

I know people that go to work mainly for the benefits. That's ridiculous. Benefits can be purchased as an individual and as part of a group, even if you aren't associated with a large firm.

Let's say that medical and dental benefits would cost you $7,000 a year if you bought them on your own as a sole proprietor. That's another $3.36 per hour that you'll need to earn above what you are earning now to make up for what your company is paying.

If you're not going to make more than $3.36 a hour more by being self-employed, then it isn't worth the effort. Monty says you're either:

  • Door #1 - aiming too low
  • Door #2 - underestimating your earning potential
  • Door #3 - very highly (or at least sufficiently) compensated by your current employer

I'll bet you the answer is behind Door #1 or #2. If the answer is behind door #3, then you might rethink why you're poking around here.

Let's discuss the next item on your list of excuses.

I like the flexibility of changing jobs - that's a core value that many of us share who have small business ideas and want to start our own enterprise. We like flexibility. Here is just how flexible things can be if you are imaginative enough about the line of work you choose:

  • work at any business you want
  • choose your own hours
  • take time off when you want
  • change occupations at will
  • make your own work environment
  • ask yourself for increases in pay anytime
  • create your own future

I've never had so much flexibility at any place I have been employed before. If you're a free spirit, then self-employment is where you need to be.

I think we bumped this one off the list of excuses, so what's next?

My job is secure, no sense changing that. Yeah right! That is exactly the kind of feeling that all those Enron employees had just before the business went "poof" all around them.

Let's get one thing straight. There is no such thing as security, there is only opportunity.

Security is an illusion that you can't really get a grip on. It makes you feel good, but it isn't real. Opportunity is something you can seize and make something out of. Acting on opportunity makes you feel good because of your own achievement.

Anything else on your list of excuses?

I just don't know if I can do it. No one does until they try. There is no such thing as a sure thing in business. But, it is certain that you won't make it in your own enterprise unless you try. Self doubt is normal, and it's a good way to give yourself an opportunity to "what if" the situation so you are prepared to deal with adversity.

Like they say: "The only sure thing is that there is no such thing as a sure thing".

Take a look at the profiles of small business success or take a good look at the profiles of honest home based businesses that I have assembled here, and see that there are lots of regular people that have started a successful business. Read up, prepare yourself, and get started on your journey of success.

Let's look at one last item on the list of excuses.

I don't want to be part of a for-profit enterprise. Okay, I've heard this before, and it deserves its own separate and detailed response. Click here to learn about enterprises that are non profit and why nearly everyone in such an organization is focused on profit.


Healthier Self Talk

Does this list of excuses cover your main concerns about starting your own enterprise? I hope that this has helped show you that negative self talk is unproductive and many of your concerns are unfounded.

Instead of making a list of excuses, try putting together reasons why things can work. Figure out how you're going to make them work.

I learned many years ago that success in business is largely based on skill and determination. Some are smart, some are good, some are first, some are well funded, and some just won't have it any other way.

Put down your list of excuses and start making a list of reasons why your small business ideas are going to be successful.

Done with List of Excuses, take me Home



The only business you'll really ever be part of is your own.

Wondering about what to do with your savings so inflation doesn't eat it up? Start your own enterprise. It's a good way to invest your capital and make it work for you. Who will be better at keeping an eye on your investment than you?