3-5 years

Starting at the day you first come up with your business idea to the day you start making real money will probably take 3-5 years.

Getting your team together, understanding where customers live, and building your customers dream product takes time. Since you know this you shouldn’t immediately pivot (change your idea) because you’re not making money. Make sure you have at least reached out to 50 potential customers before making any assessments on wether your business idea is a good one or not.

Pivoting is not reasonable unless you have disproven your initial assumptions. {tweet}

Only Pivot If It Brings You More Customers

I’m all for pivoting when you learn that your customers are willing to buy X and you are currently selling Y. However, since open source frameworks make it so easy to completely scrap your web product and start from scratch every 3 months I see a lot of people “pivoting” with a brand new idea quickly.

The problem with working on new ideas is you will never become an expert in your market. You will only learn how to dominate a market after years of market research and product development for a specific type of customer.

If you give your business 3-5 years here is what you will uncover:
1. How your customers think
2. What your customers actually need
3. Where your customers live
4. How to reach your customers
5. How to charge your customers the amount they are willing to pay

Motivation Is All You Have

Changing your idea in 3 month cycles will completely drain you, your team, and will completely kill any vision you had. Having a vision for a business is a precious thing. They only come every few decades.. and that is if you’re lucky. Don’t ever lose your vision. Once you have it hold on to it as long as you can. Don’t let anyone convince you to do anything else not even investors, friends, or family members. A vision helps you stay motivated and motivation is all you have when you are starting a business.


  1. This is such an important point!

    Sometimes success comes quickly, but usually it’s after a long period of experimentation and sustained focus. 3-5 years sounds about right for the businesses I’ve been involved with. Sometimes a new venture will make a little bit of money right out of the gate, but it takes years to build a REAL business.

    It’s scary and frustrating in that initial period, but as you said, the trick is to have the discipline to hold the course and pay attention to data, rather than jumping ship because you’re getting nervous or because you see a “greener pasture”

    You really nailed it with your quote (Pivoting is not reasonable unless you have disproven your initial assumptions)

    I’d love to see more posts like this – big lessons you’ve learned through starting different businesses, big mistakes to avoid.


    • Pete – I’m really glad you liked this post!

      Completely agree with your comment. It is easy to get distracted when you see a “greener pasture”.

      I remember a few years back I paused Flying Cart for a few weeks to build a Facebook App. Everyone was talking about how people were making lots of money on Facebook with simple 2 week projects. The Facebook app didn’t pan out and I wish I didn’t waste my 2 weeks. Also most of my friends that were working on Facebook Apps also switched career paths.

  2. Totally needed to hear this! I think you can apply this to opportunities other than your entrepreneurial endeavors – like your career goals in general!!

  3. Great post. I too was about to pivot my product idea based on some feedback others gave to me. It was going to be my 2nd pivot too.
    I love my idea but I was concerned I was too in love with it to see straight.

  4. Pingback: Pivot, Jump, or Shoot? | LaunchBit

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