You Must Understand These Five Things Before You Start A Business

Scott A. Weiss
7 min readJul 1, 2022

Becoming self-sufficient, earning a living on your own terms, working when and where you want by making money doing something you’re good at is no doubt alluring.

After all, isn’t that “the dream?”

For those of us fortunate enough to live in societies that reward entrepreneurship, breaking the mold and carving your own path is not only celebrated and encouraged, but also well within reach.

But before you venture out into the frontier on your own, you must take the time to plan, and plan accordingly, if you want to ensure yourself the greatest chance of success.

There are some common pitfalls first-time business owners fall into.

You won’t hear about these, because the media tends to focus less on the business failures (unless they are EPIC LEVEL, i.e. Theranos, WeWork, etc.) and more on the business success stories. But having done this a few times myself, I’m hopeful that my hard-learned lessons can help you skip ahead a couple of steps in the process.

I started my first business at the age of 35, after years of making other people a lot of money (and taking a small bit for myself.) While my first business idea didn’t pan out, it offered me the opportunity to sever myself from a stable income and figure out what it would take to make it on my own.

Here are the 5 things I learned that you MUST do before you start your business:


A lot of very creative, innovative people fall into the trap of creating a product, then trying to identify who to sell it to. While this strategy may work for the outliers, generally speaking, a successful business is built by figuring out who needs something, then finding a way to deliver that to them.

Think about Henry Ford. When he started his automobile manufacturing company in 1903, he recognized that with the advent of highways, consumers would need a way to get from point A to point B without having to rely on a horse-drawn carriage.

Scott A. Weiss

Author, freelance writer and self-employed recruiter. Bylines in the Daily Beast, Seattle Times, Classic Rock Magazine, LouderSound.