I was asked recently, “When is the best time to begin a start-up?”
The answer? There is no best time.

Between 1998 and 2001, business was exploding. These years prior to the dot.com bubble bursting, the startup world was invaded by a wide range of newcomers—most seeking to make a quick killing. These entrepreneur wannabes had seen all sorts of companies with crazy business plans go public and get amazing valuations. Money, self-interest, not passion, was the motivation driving these newcomers. The net result was some of the worst startups in history.

B4Ters can learn from this lesson. When things changed in 2001 and market went sour, the startup world became a very tough place to survive. These make-a-quick-buck entrepreneurs vanished – they couldn’t hack it. They lacked the passion, the confidence, dare I add “the calling” to do business. On the other hand, the true entrepreneurs plodded on through the hard times. These business men and women battled on even though they realized the chances of their dream succeeding were slim. Pressed forward because they were passionate about their ideas. They lasted because they believed they could make a difference. Yet they did it for a perishable wreath.

So if you are attracted to the idea of starting your own B4T business, ask yourself a few questions:
• Are you passionate about what you will be doing?
• Is this God’s assignment to become a B4Ter, or someone else’s idea?
• Are you starting a business for a visa? An identity? Or because you think this is a great way to support yourself?

If it is the latter, or any reason other than God’s clear leading, I believe sooner, not later you will be disappointed.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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