We mean business. Starting a business, that is. 📈 And Itziar Diez-Canedo (she/her), VP International of Justworks, is here to help. According to you, the readers, you either already have a small biz and need some advice or want to build one but don’t know where to begin. Or, you’re seeing how layoffs are affecting multiple industries and are thinking about making a big change. Whatever your situation is, Itziar wants you to know all of your options, obstacles, and confidence-boosting decisions if you make the career switch. To the drawing board!

In this report, both Gen Zers and Millennials stated that they were really worried about being laid off. And that if they were, they would seriously consider starting their own business. Where do you think this interest in entrepreneurship stems from?
There’s a unique thrill to putting something out into the world that solves a problem you care deeply about. Building something from the ground up means you not only design all aspects of the business, but also have the autonomy to decide how you spend your time, which makes it exciting to a lot of people. Even so, the decision to start something can be daunting. Leaving a consistent salary, benefits, and the security of a full-time position is not easy. But, when faced with the question of, “What should I do next?” in the case of layoffs, the decision can feel more feasible, and even less risky. Another lens that helps many take the jump is: “What would I regret not trying if I look back on my life 10 years from now?”

While this isn’t specific to Gen Zers and Millennials, it’s never been as easy as it is today to start a business. With hosting services, website building tools, social media—you can test an idea quickly and scale up as your business gains traction.

What are a few financial obstacles that someone might face if they do start their own biz?
Access to capital is a big one. There has been a clear shift in the market, and the days of booming VC cash infusions are over (for now). Also, compliance issues can become detrimental financial burdens. When you start your business, you might not have any employees yet, but you still need to manage your risk, register your business, and calculate payroll taxes correctly if you’re paying yourself. Having a partner who can help you mitigate these headaches and make sure you’re not getting yourself into hot water with the IRS can be very valuable.

So, what are your tips that could help them along the way?
Two important things to keep in mind are:

1. There’s no better test of value and product/market fit than sales. Test prototypes of your solution early, and test your customers’ willingness to pay for it as soon as possible.

2. It sounds simple, but manage your cash flow! Be smart with how you spend and consider what you’re bringing in vs. what you’re spending. Doing so from inception will help create a withstanding company in the long run. The habits will be there from day one, and being scrappy is a good business practice even when you don’t have cash flow issues.

Another finding in the above report suggests that men are more confident in starting businesses than women are. Why do you think this is, and how can women become more confident in doing it themselves?
Even though we’ve made a lot of progress, we are still experiencing a systemic hangover of the corporate dynamics of the past decades. A few things to consider here:

  • I would not put too much focus on that stat and simply do it if that’s your calling. The confidence to start is just one step of a long journey.
  • We all have unique experiences—our backgrounds, our relationships—and those experiences make us each individually poised to solve problems. In my case, I had a global upbringing, and the importance of connecting people globally was clear to me from a young age. These experiences and the challenges I identified in making that connection a reality made me uniquely poised to launch my own brand. Reassure yourself that you’re probably the only one who builds the thing in the way you would build it.
  • This same survey we conducted revealed that more than nine in 10 (93%) small business owners would recommend small business ownership to others. Entrepreneurship is rewarding, causes inevitable growth, and has infinite potential. It’s worth it!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Don’t spend too much time in isolation thinking about an idea or putting together a business plan. Prototype it and test it with potential users ASAP to see what resonates with people, or whether people are willing to pay for your product or service. The real insights and validation for your business come from customers, so talk to them and continue to do that every step of the way.