There's No Such Thing as Free Advice
Well actually there is. And it's bad advice!
When you're starting a new business, you will find a queue of people made up of friends colleagues and associates ready to give you advice. What people will say will vary a great deal and will often be largely negative.
So how can you decide which advice is worth it and whether you should listen to the negative advice? Instinct may tell you to ignore nagative advice but just maybe you are being sensibly warned that you're going down the wrong path.
Business Advice I Received
When I started out as a web designer back in 2006, I was almost overwhelmed by friends and colleagues telling me not to do it. Here is a list of the common reactions I got when saying I was starting out as a web designer:
- You've got a well paid stable job - don't throw it away
- Yes but everyone is becoming a web designer now
- It's easy to create your own website, the market just isn't there
- My mate got his website designed by his 14 year old nephew for free. Why would people pay you?
- 90% of businesses fail in the first year*
That is just a small sample of the negative reactions I received.
* By the way, I am not sure if that statistic is right but it is what a lot of people said to me at the time.
Business Advice I Took
I actually took none of it. Not even the good advice! This attitude both helped me and hindered me when I set out to create my own business as a web designer.
Although I didn't know why at the time, I was right to ignore all this negative advice and I am sure glad that I did. You see, looking back, all of that negative advice came either from people who had never started their own business or who had done so and failed.
If someone hasn't started their own business, it is often down to their own fears, the most common of which are neatly summed up above.
It's obvious now when I think about it. Why take advice on starting a business from someone who has never done that for themselves? It would be like taking medical advice from someone who is nether a doctor nor a nurse.
Where to Get Good Advice
The answer should be shouting to you from the roof tops now. Take advice from someone who has already gone into business for themselves and made it. Even better if that business is the same or similar to yours.
If that person also has many years of experience then listen to them even harder. Even though you may not want to hear about the hard work it will take, the obstacles and disappointments along the way. You have to face them to succeed in building your own successful business. And boy is it worth it when you do!
Another helpful source of advice is business forums. Don't get me wrong, I know there are a lot of idiots on those forums (as there are on all forums) but you will always get a consensus when people give the right advice. It's very easy to judge and it is a mine of extremely useful information.
My Advice to You
If you are prepared to work hard, keep focused and willing to take the right advice, you will surely succeed. Go for it! Ignore the negative advice from friends and colleagues who have never done what you are about to do. Instead, enjoy the process of proving them wrong. You will never regret it.