Why to Not Not Start a Startup

If you are sad on a Sunday afternoon because it means that the next day you have to go back to work, you probably already discovered that jobs are unnatural for humans to have.

why not not to start a startup infographic

If you go back a hundred years before the mechanization era, you would see that the default way of making a living was not through a job, but through farming. So that tells us the current default for making a living is temporary. The question is what’s next?

The next default could be starting startup. Just like getting a job is today. But should you start one now? Let’s look at all the reasons not to. And objectively examine our feelings.

Too Young.

The median age of startup founders is 27. Being too young is not about biological age. It’s about maturity. Would you feel like an equal talking to your employees who might be older than you? What if your investor or your co-founder said “your idea is stupid”. Would you agree or would you rebel? A kid would do either of these things. An adult would ask why.

Too Inexperienced.

The only 2 ways to get experience is to work for someone else or to work for yourself. Working for someone else gives you the experience of working for someone else. That’s not what you need in a startup. So the best way to get experience in startups is to start one.

Not determined enough.

You can’t get good at math through determination. To be good at math you need to learn the rules and then manipulate those rules. In startups there are no rules. So the determination to make up the rules and make them work can get you as far in startups, as your talent can get you in math.

Newbie in business.

What does it really mean when people say they know a lot about business? What business? Since startups by definition are new businesses with new business models, no one really knows about these businesses. So it’s OK if you don’t know, but be prepared to be the first one to find out.

No co-founder.

Startups are stressful, demanding, and all-consuming. Sounds a lot like life. Most people go through life with partners. So why would you want to go through a startup by yourself? There is a good chance it will be too much to bare for one person.

No idea.

Luckily ideas are free. And many startups change their idea midway anyway, so if you start with a not-so-good idea, and then turn it into a good one, you’ll be like most startups.

No room for startups.

Some gawkers comment that there are too many startups. That’s like saying that too many people are trying to solve world’s problems. There are enough problems in the world, big and small, for as many people as are willing to start a startup.

Family to support.

Most startups do not generate revenue for the first while. Revenue-free lifestyle may not be possible for people with families to support. There is always another way though. Consulting or building a paid product can give almost immediate income.

Independently wealthy.

Although few people have the problem of being so rich that it would discourage them from starting a startup, some are. For those people it’s still more exciting to work with people who may not be so rich.

Afraid of commitment.

Startup will take away your freedom. So if you value it more than anything, don’t do a startup. But that means you should not get a job either. If your startup succeeds, though, you may discover a new kind of freedom that is otherwise unavailable, like freedom to deliver products to millions of people.

Need for structure.

Some people say that they prefer a job because it gives them structure. It’s a nice euphemism. But really it means that they need someone else to tell them what to do. If that is you, don’t do a startup. Even many prestigious jobs don’t want to tell you what to do, though. So it may be better to look for structure elsewhere.

Fear of uncertainty.

There is not much uncertainty in startups – most of them fail. But a few don’t. So prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

Based on Paul Graham’s essay “Why to Not Not Start a Startup”.