The Best Time to Start a Business (Spoiler: It Doesn’t Exist)

for bookkeepers Jun 17, 2024
best time to start a business



This morning, I took my last day of school pictures with my kids. Have you ever done that? I like to put the first day pictures next to their last day pictures, because it’s wild to see how much they’ve changed.

If I took a “first day” picture of my business and held it up next to the way it looks now, it would look different, too—because in order for my bookkeeping business to support me the way I wanted it to in this season, I had to make changes…some earlier than I really wanted to.

Which is why today, I want to talk to you about the best time to start a business.

(Spoiler: it doesn’t exist. And I can prove it.)



Setting the Supports

Before we get into the best time to start a business, I want to give you this backstory: my intention for last summer was to be super, super present with my kids. It was the last summer that I had with my youngest at home; she went off to school in the fall for her first year of school, and before that, I always had one to three kids home with me.

This is a time that you dream of when you run a business from home: the time when all of your kids go off to school. Most people would say this is the best time to start a business. But it’s actually looked much different than I thought it would…and it makes me grateful that instead of waiting for the best time to start a business or scale it, I set it up to support this time in my life so early.

A lot of people want to wait for the “best” time to start a business. But as someone who decided that I wanted to grow and scale my bookkeeping business at the same time I was pregnant with my third baby, let me tell you…there is no best time to start a business.

Today is not the right day to get into how I left corporate, but just know that I never anticipated leaving corporate. So at the time of that pregnancy, I was out of corporate, and I had some time as a stay-at-home mom, but I wasn’t making enough money to keep myself home once they went off to school.

I also had no idea what three kids in school was going to look like in reality. It's so different than how I envisioned it, and now that I know, it just shows me how truly unrealistic it would have been to try and work in corporate while raising three kids and trying to be as involved as I am now.

It took me being pregnant with number three to realize that I needed to make some changes; up until that point, my way of building my business was to keep it small so that I did all of the work. I had probably 97% profit, which sounds fantastic…but it’s actually bad.

If you're keeping 97% profit in your bookkeeping business, you're not optimizing things. You're not leveraging tools and softwares and automations, and you're definitely not leveraging a team.

So while you're keeping all of the money, you're also doing all of the work…and you're doing it manually. Yikes, right?

That is how the past version of me did things. It’s also why I am so, so adamant about systematizing things, automating things, and delegating things early. That's how you actually grow and scale.

I understand all of the thought processes that would tell you that you should not do that when you start your business. I understand thinking you should set it up so you can keep the money. I understand being afraid that if a client or two leaves, you won't be able to pay your team.

I get it. But the truth is, it’s backwards thinking. Not only that, but it’s the kind of thinking that keeps you very small and fearful.

This energy of lack will actually repel potential clients. You're not thinking in terms of how you can actually profit; you're not thinking in terms of how you can scale. This keeps your business small.

If you’re still anxious about waiting for the best time to start a business or grow it, I think it's really important for you to know that no matter where you are in life and in business, there's no one way to do start or grow. It’s a matter of understanding where you are, where you want to be, and then creating that bridge to get you to where you want to be.

You’re going to have different goals and different capacity in different seasons, and that's more than okay. You don’t want to build a business as a stay-at-home mom to a newborn the same way you would build a business as a mom with three kids in school.

The important thing is that it’s all changeable and adaptable. And I think that's one of the greatest things about bookkeeping: there are so many ways to build and then shift that business.

All of that to say, my bookkeeping business has supported me in very different ways through very different seasons, but it's always supported me…and one of the things that I do is allow it to support me. I recognize where I am, and I make my business fit that. If I’d waited for the best time to start a business or grow it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

If you're looking towards an elusive, idealistic future when all of your excuses will no longer be valid and life will be easy and you'll have plenty of room to build your business…I'm here to tell you that the best time to start a business or grow your business is now.

You can't count on it being easier later. You can’t pick a point and say, “That’s the best time to start a business.” It's going to be easier in the ways that are driving you crazy now, but it's also going to have new challenges that you can't foresee yet, because you're not there.

There is no best time to start a business, or to grow one. There is no moment where everything will open up for you.

There are times that are worse than others, and you could be in them. There could be something going on that is valid and temporary that makes this timing not ideal. But you know the difference between that and waiting on a nonexistent best time to start a business.

(And if you don't know the difference, you can always reach out via DM and ask me.)



Get Help As Needed

This year, it's been amazing to sit in the state that I dreamed of and realize…it’s still challenging.

Time is still an issue. Getting the dishes done is still hard. Getting the laundry done is still hard. But here’s how I made it work:

I invested in help.

One of the things that I did this year was admit where I needed help. I stopped pretending that I didn’t need anyone else, stopped making myself feel bad about it, and started seeing the big picture.

When you’re dealing with time, everything is always a tradeoff. It's the only thing that you can't replenish. So if you can take time off of one thing that you don't like, something you're not good at, and you can get someone else to do it so you can maximize your time elsewhere…why wouldn’t you? That is the best way to utilize your time!

I stopped making myself feel bad for simply maximizing my time. I got help with laundry. I replaced my babysitter with somebody to come help with laundry once a week. It took me almost all year to get to that point, because I kept pretending that I was going to be able to do it, and I wasn't.

I’m saying this because there should be nothing easier than where I am, and yet time is still a challenge. The days are still very, very hectic. It doesn't look the way it looked in my best-case dreams. So if I’d waited for that elusive “perfect” time…I would have gotten here and found it didn’t exist.

Good thing I didn't wait.

Imagine if I’d pinned all of this until fall of 2023, expecting that it would be this transformative alteration of my life. Imagine I pinned fall of 2023 as the best time to start a business or grow it from where it was when I was pregnant with my third.

I've only got five hours away from my kids at best. I'm still in the rat race of washing all of the lunchboxes and prepping the lunches and checking all the folders and doing all the homework and participating in all of the things that are constantly going on between three classes.

It's a lot of juggling, even outside of the extracurriculars that I signed up for. So again, I'm saying this so that you hear my call to action: do not wait for the best time to start a business.

Stop dreaming of the future in a way that distorts the present in a negative way that keeps you stuck waiting for the perfect moment. Even in the best-case scenario, you will still have challenges.

Instead, what you need to do is adapt.

Figure out where you are now,  scale back those dreams, slice out the fat, and come down to this: what can you do today? Where do you need help? Where do you need to automate something? Where do you need a better system? Where do you need a better process? Where do you need to document something? Where do you need support from other people?

Those people can be in or outside of your business, by the way. We need support, and that can come from family, people we hire to help with things like our laundry, or people we bring on to our teams.

How did I grow a bookkeeping business? How did I raise my three kids? How did I show up as room mom? How did I do all that?

I did it because I didn’t do it alone.

You can make this time in your life the best time to start a business. But you can’t do it alone.



Adapt, Ask, Act

All of that to say…the best time to start a business is now. The best time to grow your business is now.

Instead of waiting, meet yourself where you are. Look at your situation and adapt your plan, ask for help, then act on it. Do it now. Make it fit now.

Don't wait for later. The timing is not going to miraculously be better. Do it now.



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