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Do You Need Industry Experience to Start a Business?

business people meeting with blog post title do you need industry experience

Is industry experience helpful or harmful to budding entrepreneurs? We share three reasons it can help and two times when it can hurt.

On The BIGG Success Show, we discuss whether or not industry experience is necessary when starting a business. Here’s a summary of that discussion.

“Stick to what you know.” You’ve probably heard that phrase before. But does it apply to entrepreneurs?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that it’s less risky to start a business in a field in which you have experience. But it necessary?

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Can We Talk You Out of Owning Your Own Business?

questions Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks software, conducted a study of working adults [doc] not long ago. They found that 67 percent think about quitting their jobs regularly or constantly, while 72 percent said they want to start their own business. The number one reason cited for this was to be more passionate about their work.



The participants were asked who inspired them: Donald Trump (38%) and Hugh Hefner (34%) were the top choices for men; Oprah Winfrey received 66% of the women’s vote.

That response made us think – there are misperceptions of what it means to own a business; what an entrepreneur faces day-to-day. There’s the Hollywood version, but it often doesn’t reflect the real world.

5 common myths about owning your own business

#1 – I won’t have to answer to a boss.

While technically true, it’s not accurate in practice. The reality is that, as a business owner, you answer to every customer by you and your firm. You answer to your banker if you borrow money. The government will require you to do certain things by certain times. As a business owner, you won’t have a boss; you’ll have many bosses!

#2 – I set my own hours.
You’ve probably seen or heard the ads. Just buy this business opportunity – you’ll hardly have to work and the money will just pour in. If only it worked that way! You may enjoy a great deal of flexibility as a business owner. However, you’ll probably work more than you ever imagined, especially in the early stages of your business.

#3 – I can get my employees to do the grunt work.
Many new business owners – formerly part of the corporate world – have trouble adjusting to the lack of resources that are inherent in many start-ups. They were used to having “people” who did certain things. Start-ups can’t afford extra people; many can’t afford people at all! You’ll have to get used to doing a lot of things, if not everything, yourself, even the dirty work.

#4 – I’ll make more money.

Start-ups consume money; there often isn’t much to spare. You may not get a regular paycheck at first. You’ll have to build up the business to afford that “luxury”.


georgeWhen I was younger, I couldn’t find anyone willing to pay me what I thought I was worth. So I started my own business … I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford to pay me what I thought I was worth!


#5 – I’ll have less stress than I do with my job.


marylynn As a first-time entrepreneur, I’ve learned that stress hits from many angles – clients with deadlines, so much work to get done, and worries when things don’t go as planned. I’ve learned to be much tougher mentally and emotionally.


All of this reminds us of Jackson Browne’s song, The Load Out …“They’re the first to come, and the last to leave, working for that minimum wage.”

In the song, he’s talking about roadies. But we wonder … couldn’t he be describing start-up entrepreneurs?

When your business is in the start-up phase, it’s like a newborn baby. You have to nurture it and care for it until it reaches the point where it doesn’t need you so much anymore. Prepare yourself for a five-year horizon before you start.

If starting a business doesn’t sound so good anymore, we feel like we’ve done our job. You won’t face the financial, and more importantly, the emotional turmoil that comes with a start-up.

However, if you’re now more determined than ever to start a business, you’ve passed a critical test. You can’t be talked out of it. You’ve peered beyond the popular and romantic view of business ownership. You’re starting to see it as it really is. You’re ready to become an entrepreneur!


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Next time, we’ll discuss the art of knowing yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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6 Factors to Help You Succeed When Opportunity Knocks


We’ll deviate from our usual format to better explain today’s show discussion.

George: When I was just getting started in business, I had an opportunity to buy a property that the real estate broker said would support a 12-unit apartment building.

I determined that 24 units could be built; upon checking with my architect, I found out it would support 26. So I knew the property was worth at least twice what I was paying.

But a business opportunity came along, and I decided to go for that. I sold my option on the property to my architect at cost.

Within weeks, a major building project was announced right across the street from this property. I could have made way more money in months with the real estate project than I did in years in the business!

6 essential factors you must have in place when opportunity knocks

Mary-Lynn: #1 – You have to be in the right place. Your research showed that you were in the right place, George. You knew the property was worth more than you were paying.

#2 – It has to be the right time. Had I done more research, I might have discovered the new project across the street. But I got nervous about losing my option money, which I needed for the business. 

Mary-Lynn: #3 – Recognize that you’re in the right place at the right time.
You have to actually realize the moment you’re in so you can capitalize on it. But George, you sold because you had another opportunity?

George: I did. However, the returns came in slower than they would have with the real estate project. I can’t complain about it, though – the business opportunity helped launch my other businesses.

Mary-Lynn: Why did you sell the property at cost when you knew it was worth more?

I was only 22 at the time … I was inexperienced. And frankly, a little scared. I needed the money for the business opportunity. So I did what I thought was best, but I lost out on an opportunity to jump-start my net worth.

#4 – You need knowledge of what to do. This is all about education. When your opportunity presents itself, you don’t have time to prepare.

George: I knew enough to find the opportunity; what I lacked were the specifics of what to do with the exact situation.

So how did you to get ready for the next time?

George: I studied all of the ways you could make money with a property. I read books, listened to tapes, and talked to anybody and everybody who would talk to me.

Mary-Lynn: #5 – Know how to do what you need to do. This is about experience – knowing how you actually execute what needs to be done.

George: From this experience, I started smaller the next time. I learned how to go through the process, from beginning to end, to develop a property.

Is it important to start out smaller?

George: Not necessarily, although I think most people start out relatively small. I wanted to make sure that I could afford to see my next project through to the end.

Mary-Lynn: #6 – You need access to the required resources. Who you know plays a part. You need to be able to raise the money required and find the right people to get the job done.

George: This was perhaps my biggest stumbling block. I became overwhelmed at all that would need to be done. I didn’t see how bigg an opportunity it was or how easy it would have been to capitalize on it.

But here’s the good news – I learned so much that made me so much because I missed out on this deal!

Have you ever missed an opportunity? What lessons did you learn? Share them with us! Leave a Comment below.

Our bigg quote today comes from Abraham Lincoln.

“I will prepare and perhaps someday my opportunity will come.”

Do your homework now so when opportunity knocks, you can answer.

Next time, we’ll discuss communicating effectively across department lines. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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