Starting a Business When You’re Broke

There’s no good time to start a company, but no bad time either

Joe Procopio

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Dude. I’m broke.

I mean, I’ve got twin daughters who just started college with a third kid right on their heels and on top of that we got hit with the trifecta of unexpected healthcare, auto, and home expenses one after the other and…

Meh, my story isn’t particularly harrowing and definitely not unique. Everyone I know is having trouble making ends meet. Each trip to the grocery store is an exercise in eye-popping and head-shaking at prices that must be for two or three of these things, not just the one.

I am not starting a business in this shitstorm. No way.

OK, maybe just one.

Here’s why.

It’s Always Darkest Right Before Launch

To clarify, I’ve never been the kind of entrepreneur who is motivated by money. And maybe that part of my personality is why I’m broke when others aren’t. But it’s also the part of my personality that forced me to learn to put value over flash in every aspect of my life. Including the businesses I found and those I run with.

I’ve never founded a startup at a “good” time.

  • I started my first company right before the dot-com crash and ran it profitably for 13 years.
  • My second startup was born on the downslope of what would become the Great Recession and took off like a rocket in 2011, eventually to exit.
  • My third startup launched a month into the pandemic, outcome TBD.

So you can’t tell me it doesn’t make sense to start and grow your business during a recession.

Here’s the problem.

This Isn’t a Recession (Yet?)

Unlike your garden variety economic collapse, things right now aren’t exactly… bad?

I mean, they feel bad. It’s the weirdest economy I’ve seen, because all these clouds have no silver lining.

  • We’re churning through job cuts but talent is still super expensive.
  • Consumers are still spending, but not in any aspirational way that…

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com