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Starting / Business startup

How do you know the right time to start?

If you’re wondering when is the right time to begin a new project, face a new challenge or even start a business, the following signs will help you decide. (Hint: it might be sooner than you think.)

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The truth is, there’s never a right time. There will always be reasons to put it off until you’re better prepared or feeling more ready, so the answer is: just jump in! 

Here are five signs that you are ready to take the plunge with a new project: 

You don’t feel ready

Have you ever watched the miracle of a newborn foal standing to walk? Day one, and they stagger up on four spindly, wobbly legs and get right into it. Is it graceful? No. Do they fall over? Yes. And they get up again and keep doing it until they’re able to gallop. 

If you don’t feel ready, do as foals do: begin the project now. 

"‘Perfect’ is a full stop. It’s an end-point, after which there is no room for improvement. It’s an illusion and it’s dangerous."

You need to do a little more research

My step-daughter is in her Honours year at uni. She’s been researching her thesis for months and is up to the writing stage soon. I recall being where she is and thinking, “I need more information”. It was a sense that I didn’t feel ‘knowledgeable’ enough yet, and surely one more book, paper or journal article would tip me over the edge into ‘confidence’. 

It never did. Eventually I had to draw a line and start with what I had. It turned out that I had far too much, and the real task was culling the information so as not to swamp the reader. 

If you need to do more research – begin the project now. 

The ducks are flapping around the room

You’ve got the idea, but your affiliate isn’t quite on board. You have a service, but the graphic designer is moving slowly on the business cards. You’ve got a website, but the new one is under development. You’re doing a course, but it doesn’t end for two months. 

There is any number of ‘ducks’ that flap and quack and distract you from getting started while you hope for the perfect alignment of circumstances that will enable you to start a small business. Even if, by some miracle, everything did line up – chances are the symmetry would be fleeting. 

Back yourself; not the ducks. Begin the project now. 

Want more articles like this? Check out the business startup section.

You’re not confident enough yet

When I was in primary school, I landed one of the main parts in the school play. During rehearsals, I was so worried about how I sounded and looked that I held back. Eventually, the music teacher pulled my mother aside and said, “Are you sure she can do this?” 

“She tends to rise to the occasion,” Mum said (secretly hoping that was the case!).

On the day of the show, I recall the feeling of stepping into that spotlight and feeling a great ‘whoosh’ of confidence just appear, as if by magic. 

And that’s the thing: confidence shows up when you need it. You don’t need it to lie on your couch in your PJs, wondering whether you’ll make a mess of the next day’s presentation. You need it as you’re stepping into that meeting room. Trust that you will rise to the occasion. 

If you don’t feel confident yet – begin the project now. 

It’s not perfect

When I think back to my work from two years ago and compare it to what I do now, there is a big difference, and that gap was etched through experience. When I fast-forward another couple of years, I like to think that how things are now will seem quite ‘basic’ or ‘small-scale’ or ‘under-developed’ compared with what I’ll be offering then.

‘Perfect’ is a full stop. It’s an end-point, after which there is no room for improvement. It’s an illusion and it’s dangerous. It holds people back from unfolding their full potential via a natural process of growth. 

You will fall over. You will scuff your knees. What defines you is how you rise from that fall. 

If it’s not perfect – begin the project now. 

Are you waiting for the ‘right’ time to begin your next project or start your business? What are you waiting for?

Emma Grey

is the author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ director of WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of My 15 Minutes. She is a copywriter at The Storytelling Business, and her first teen novel was published in 2014.

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