Myth #4: I Can’t Afford to Start a Business

  • Most businesses won’t yield enough return on investment in the first year or two to be your primary means of support. With that caveat your can provide more income than if you do nothing, and, more importantly every journey begins with a first step.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to still be in the work force and reading this prior to losing your job or retiring, let me recommend that you determine right now what type of lifestyle you’d be able to afford if you were no longer employed.  Although this would seem to be common sense, and you probably have already done this, it’s worth the time to do this simple exercise.
  • Income: Add together all of your sources of income.  Be sure to consider:
    1. Social Security: If you’re collecting social security, figure out how much income you can earn before it starts to affect your monthly payment. You can find that information online at
    2. Pension or Retirement: Add to your income any monthly pension or retirement you might be receiving.
    3. Unemployment Benefits: If you’re currently unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits you may have time to get a business launched and grow it quickly enough to support yourself; however, you are required to look for and accept work you are offered.
  • Expenses
    1. Add up your monthly living expenses.
    2. Don’t forget to include the average weekly cost (times four) that you spend on groceries, gas, one-time annual expenses, pet care, etc.
  • Figure Out What Your Need to Earn:
    1. Now subtract your monthly living expenses from your monthly income. Hopefully what results is a positive number, meaning you have more monthly income then expenses.
    2. If that number is negative, perhaps you’ll be able to subsidize your monthly income with interest from your investments or savings.
    3. If you don’t have investment income and find that your expenses are more than your projected income you’ll need to determine how to reduce your expenses or augment your income – or both.
    4. If you’re currently unemployed or already retired, you’ve probably already done the math and know whether or not you’re able to meet your monthly expenses.
    5. If you can’t, you’ve probably already taken at least a part-time job to meet those expenses.
    6. If part of the reason you’re having trouble meeting your monthly expenses is due to credit card or other debt, I recommend you continue working while you pay that down.
    7. Having included all of those caveats, there’s no reason you can’t start your business on a part-time basis now.
  • If you don’t have the $1,000 it will take to start a business:
    1. Remember, that in most cases you don’t need a thousand dollars all at once so figure out how much you really need to get started.
    2. Take a part-time or seasonal job to earn the money.
    3. Write your business plan and go online to one of the crowd-funding sites.
    4. Read the eBay Trader, Virtual Consignment Shop Owner, and Sharer sections and sell or rent out the things you have to raise the money you need.
    5. Consider borrowing money from family or friends with the understanding that the payback might be a long time coming.


Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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