People are pessimists. As a rule we’re all pretty negative, and we get off on thinking about how bad everything is, and how much better it used to be. I’ll bet it goes all the way back to a bunch of grunting cave people, whining about how the Hunting/Gathering was better when their parents were younger.
Entrepreneurs, tech-types and founders do it too. We talk about how much better it was to start companies back in the 70’s, or the 80’s, or the 90’s, when we could have been the founders of Apple or Microsoft. When there were so many things to discover and build. And we look at those companies with a hushed awe, like they’re fucking Gods.
It’s all wrong.
I’m 100% sure that this is the best time in human history to be an entrepreneur.
Starting a company is dirt cheap. It really is. You can kick off a new online venture for less than $100, easy. You can register a domain name, purchase hosting and web design through a drag and drop interface, and be up and running for a tiny initial outlay. That kind of approach could enable businesses of almost any model, whether it’s e-commerce or a service-based design firm.
Sure, you’ll run into a lot more cost when you start looking at building software or platforms yourself; but validating the cost of development won’t cost you a thing with a launch page and a sign-up form. You’re looking at $15 a month.
It doesn’t take venture capital to found a small start-up or business. It just takes guts.
Read my favorite book: The $100 Start-up, by Chris Guillebeau. It will change the way you think about starting up.
Finding a co-founder isn’t the challenge it once was, either. Where meeting a business partner in the past could have been a lengthy process, searching out a face-to-face meeting, you can now discover talented individuals on the other side of the planet. Look at companies like Woothemes—their original team were separated by hundreds of miles back in the day.
You aren’t limited by the people around you or your local technology or business environment. You have the ability to get out there and discover a genius who perfectly meshes with your approach to business, no matter where she is. If you need someone to climb that fucking mountain with, she’s out there.
When you have the entire population of the connected world at your fingertips, trust me — the hard part won’t be finding the right co-founder, it’ll be choosing which one.
Tools & Platforms
From e-commerce plugins and solutions to 3D printing services, you can take care of just about everything your business needs from your smartphone or a browser tab. That’s incredible. The apps, software and platforms that are instantly available to us now would have been unimaginable in the past.
When I initially started in business as a freelance designer, my first expense was shelling out hundreds of bucks for Adobe Photoshop and Corel Graphics Suite, just so I would have the bare minimum I needed to get the job done. Nowadays, with a simple subscription that adds up to the price of a few cups of coffee, I have access to the entire collection of fully featured Adobe apps.
And some of the best tools out there right now are so easy to use. Canva. Squarespace. Hundreds more.
The only obstacle to getting shit done is your own knowledge.
…And on That Subject
You can learn anything right now. We have on-line courses, tutorials, academies, apps and teachers who can provide you with the knowledge you need to learn coding or business development or even hand lettering. If there’s any knowledge you lack to start a business, that knowledge can be learned at minimal cost and from the warm comfort of your couch.
It’s just putting in the work and the hours to absorb that knowledge and attain a level of engagement and familiarity. The material and the chance to get the technical education you’ll need is out there right now.
Look at Code Academy or Udemy. Hell, you can find most of the basic knowledge you need to run your first start-up on Quora.
There are more reasons of course — movements in technology and business are creating new opportunities every day. But I think the above three cover some of the reasons I’m most excited about our current era of entrepreneurship. What it really boils down to is this:
We don’t have a lot of valid excuses for not starting up.
If you want to found a company, my advice to you is that you find the time. You scrimp and you save every second. Because to miss out on the world of opportunity in front of you now…let’s just say, you’ll regret it.
This is the greatest time to be an entrepreneur. But it’s a terrible time to make up excuses and reasons why it’s not worth trying.
Jon Westenberg is a Sydney-based writer focusing on creativity, culture and business. He holds a master’s in journalism and has worked in several tech companies. Most of his work can be found at: www.jonwestenberg.com