How to Start a Side Business Today: Simplify and Go!

Too much planning is the enemy of action.You know how you get an idea and start planning away, and pretty soon you have a to-do list that’s a mile long? One that seems to mysteriously sprout additional items every time you glance at it?

Well, I think sometimes we make things needlessly complicated. Take starting a side business, for example.

Ask someone how to start a small business, and they’ll probably tell you to start by writing a business plan. So you look up how to do that on Google, and get directed to a 38-slide presentation with many steps and business-y sounding phases like “Company Vision” and “Market Analysis Summary”.

It seems overwhelming, and if you actually do it (which I’ve done before) you’ll find that it’s a whole lot of work. You can spend weeks (or even months!) writing a good business plan. Or a few very long days, if you’re particularly industrious and don’t much need sleep.

Good intentions

Now I don’t particularly think business plans are bad things, but I’m also not convinced they’re necessary in many cases. Unless you’re trying to impress a banker enough to get them to lend you money, maybe. (Which is another thing that I don’t think is necessary in most cases.)

What if the small business you had in mind was a leaf-blowing service?

If you went ahead and did the “right” thing by creating a business plan, what would you have at the end of all that work? Not a business, but a stack of paper. Probably a well-formatted piece of paper, but that’s not going to get you very far.

A call to your city to see what the licensing requirements are + a trip to Home Depot for a leaf blower will get you a lot further.

Too much planning is the enemy of action

Now I am very big on planning, and on making sure you’re setting good, specific smart goals.

But plan too much, and you get nowhere.

You start to feel like you’re accomplishing something because you’ve worked for 47 hours on a project. But if you never move to action, you’re not really doing anything except wasting time and energy.

Avoid complications

Worse, you may start to believe that you need a whole bunch of fancy tools or supplies to do whatever it is you’re trying to do. Most things worth doing can be accomplished very simply.

If you want to start a business, just start it. Today. Get your big picture in mind, then plan and adjust as you go. Don’t daydream while you’re at work, and then get home and watch TV. Do something. Today.

Don’t join four web sites, get 3 books that sit on your coffee table for a month, and then have a giant planning meeting that tries to figure out exactly the most optimum order to do things in so that you make your first $100 8 months down the road. Just start. You can tweak things later, or try something else if need be.

Don’t make things harder than they need to be

You should, of course, know what you’re aiming to do and why you want to do it.

Flying by the seat of your pants does only gets you so far. But it gets you a heck of a lot farther than never starting, or stopping before you’ve gotten anywhere because you don’t think you’ll have enough money, or time, or energy because it all just seems so overwhelming.

Things don’t need to be that hard. They just need to happen.

Want to start a side business but don’t have a clue what you could do? Check out 101 Ways to Make Extra Money in Your Spare Time.