Never. It’s never the right time to start your own business, much like it’s never the right time to start a family. There are better times than others, but no single thing makes it the right time.
Here is my story and what I have learned so far, I hope it helps you.
I co-founded Paiger when my wife was 3 months pregnant with our second child, we had just bought a new house that depleted our savings and I still had debt from my “YOLO” years.
Was that the right time to start a business?
For me, absolutely. I realise how utterly nuts that sounds.
I started a business because I had a burning desire to do so, because my day job was no longer fulfilling me, because I believed I could do more.
I was 28 years old and I had reached the pinnacle of my career, I was a CTO and responsible for the technical and product teams of a very successful SaaS business across EMEA. I should have been happy. But I wasn’t.
Sometimes I even felt like I had lost my purpose.
I’m not afraid to admit that I wasn’t happy and I had no idea why. I’d lay awake at night angry at myself for not being happy – I couldn’t comprehend it, so I don’t expect you to and I certainly cannot put it into words.
What happens when you don’t have a goal in life?
You feel how I felt. I had achieved my goal that I was working so hard for so long and it made everything after that feel meaningless.
From the day I failed ICT at college (I don’t do good in classrooms, that’s a post for another day) I was determined to make it in the tech world. I put the hours in, I self-trained in programming languages and I stayed with Senior Developers when the system went down so I could act like a sponge. After a decade of climbing the ladder, I’d achieved my dream.
And it felt good for the first couple of months, it felt really good.
Until it didn’t, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I hadn’t planned or thought about what happens next. I had completed my goal and without a goal, I didn’t know where to direct my time, energy and efforts. I’d lost my purpose.
My goal was to do something I loved again
As my family, especially my wife, will testify I work hard. I enjoy pushing myself, I don’t like being comfortable and if I’m not learning, I feel like I am standing still.
Whilst I may have failed ICT at college, I did pass business, and I always planned to do something but whilst my career progression was there it satisfied me. I also got married and started a family during that time so it never felt like the right time.
And that’s the point. There is never a right time once you start a family.
But if I started a business before, I wouldn’t have had the experience required to make it successful.
So is there a sweet spot between starting a family and having the amount of life experience to make it work? If there is, I don’t know when it is I’m afraid! But I know what I would do differently.
I would have started a business immediately. If you’re young and reading this, just do it. Do it before you have a family to support. Do it before you have a mortgage to pay. Do it while you can live off the bank of Mum and Dad. Do it while you only have you to hurt.
You’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way but that’s fine. That is your education and you’re going to learn a lot quicker than you will on the job. Your business may even fail and that’s fine too.
Dust yourself off and go again.
Just make sure you have the right motivation because if it’s money, you will fail guaranteed. The one thing I got right, for me, was starting a business when my wife was 3 months pregnant. It gave me the ultimate motivation, it ensured decisions were made quickly and I had a laser vision on where I needed to get to.
I had 6 months to support my family, and failure wasn’t an option. What is stopping you?