I’m not a Starter

i-know-you-couldThis little sign was in a booth at a craft show – “I know you could, but you won’t”.  Apparently the jewelry maker got tired of hearing shoppers whisper to their friends “I could make that…”  While I don’t applaud her insulting version of marketing, I love the simple message and have played it again and again in my head.

We all do it – we know what we are capable of when we see others doing it, but the difference is they are doing it.  We feel that pang of guilt, fear or hopelessness because they got started and for some reason we can’t.

One of the top reasons people talk themselves out of buying an existing business is that they look at it and think “I could have started that….”  Of course you could have, but you didn’t.  The business is a few years old and has real profits and you are still sitting there thinking – “yeah, but I could still start that cheaper than buying it.”

Let’s be honest and listen to the cranky jewelry maker “but you won’t”.

I have realized over the years that I am not a good starter.  A great idea generator maybe, but not a starter.  I don’t have the discipline and motivation to work on what doesn’t yet exist.  The number of details to start a new business are overwhelming.  Staring in the face of nothing does not motivate me, it stops me dead in my tracks.

I need the forced discipline of external deadlines and tasks – things that I know have to be accomplished today.   I still remember the day after I bought my e-commerce site and having 25 orders to ship.  I felt the pressure to learn our products and software fast so those orders went out on time.  I had real customers who wanted their orders, now that is motivating.

I can analyze, change and grow something that already exists, but I won’t create it from nothing.  To be in the game – I have to buy an existing business or else I will always be sitting on the sidelines.  I know some businesses for sale were easy to start, but I didn’t do it and I have to be completely honest with myself and admit I won’t do it tomorrow, next week or next year.

I have given myself permission to not be a starter, but I refuse to not be an entrepreneur.