Who Can Help Me Start A Business? I Made A List For You

I get it, you want that independence and shot to freedom with your business. But I can tell you that starting a business is not a walk in the park. Not even with all the no-code tools and plethora of options out there. 

Building a business is one thing, making it work and not to fail is another.

When I started my first business, the landscape and pace were different. Lesser competition and so many blue ocean industries or untapped verticals.

But back then, I started alone. I was young and inexperienced. But foremost, I was stubborn. I had this delusional idea that I could do this alone and outside help is not required.

Well, I was wrong. I failed a few times and it’s one of the reasons why some of the startup founders fail: Not the right people around them to help them start a business, or at least steer them in the right direction.

If I had to start over, here is what I would do when seeking for help. And why.

The shortlist is:

  • Close circles (family & friends)
  • Business consultants 
  • Startup coaches & mentors
  • Networking
  • Online communities (free & paid)
  • Reddit forums
  • Courses (DIY)

Here’s a litte bit more detail:

Close Circles (But with caution)

Often your family and best friends.

I advise to keep it to a minimum in certain areas with them. Lots of people who start a business need financial help or seed capital.

Be careful if you approach your close circles with this topic, and you don’t want to end with disputes or stressful situations at home or with your friends over money.

One other aspect is that they are often biased. I tested that theory and presented a few ridiculous ideas (after research) to my closest friends and they all were ‘enthusiastic’. 

It can be misleading, biased or they don’t want to hurt your feelings. 9/10 times they will support you but are not well informed about market conditions, competition, or viability of a business idea.

I have no doubt they will be supportive, but if they have no awareness of business or commercial acumen, it’s hard to extract max value.

In case your parents are financially stable and might give you some seed money, propose it the right way. With a business plan, your strategy and tell them it’s a loan, not a handout.

Treat them as if they were strangers and you have obligations to fulfill and honor the agreement.

Business Consultants 

I often hire experts to get a second or third opinion. It’s their job to be unbiased and give me straight up advice, even if it’s hurtful. 

They provide opinions based on their expertise and are more reliable than your family and friends.

Expert consultants charge hefty fees but you should rather spend a couple $100 on expert advice instead of losing your entire runway on a flawed business idea.

In case you plan to hire someone, do it through referrals or other startup entrepreneurs who can recommend someone they hired. Be selective and ensure that the expert has affinity or experience in the field/vertical you are planning to start a business.

It’s a bit of a wild west out there. ‘Consulting’ can be somewhat of a borderline bracket and don’t hire someone that’s a jack of all trades but rather a sole expert in a particular field.

Startup Coaches & Mentors

The startup boom really took off in the late 90’ and only got fueled by the dot com era, with a massive shift during 2005-2010 when Facebook, X and Instagram entered the arena.

It was then (I started in 2005) when these professionals entered the scene.

Startup coaches are professionals that often give guidance on:

  • Market validation
  • Product market fit
  • Pricing & retention
  • General business strategy
  • Branding & brand equity
  • Mental game in entrepreneurship (critical if you ask me)

It’s often worth hiring a business coach or startup consultant in the early stage for 3-6 months. Because you would be able to learn, absorb, and fast-track your business AND your personal growth.

There is one thing that I learned. Mentors are usually a mix of business coaches and personal development but startup coaches rather focus on the fundamentals or specific areas.

If I had to pick, I would start with a business/startup coach and seek a mentor later. Because then you have a broader perspective on the business and mentors are often soundboards when you are in dire needs.

PS: If you need coaching, including the mental game of entrepreneurship, feel free to reach out.


And I mean the good old fashioned way. The ‘let’s connect’ phrase gets me tilted every time I read it.

My experience with digital networking and the traditional way is day and night. Do not underestimate the power of a handshake, a face to face conversation and real introductions.

Networking events or meetups are a great way to establish better relationships and find alignments with fellow entrepreneurs or experienced players in the game.

You would be surprised how many start spilling the beans on their struggles or findings during their business journey.

Don’t be afraid to show up regularly. You can often yield great results by participating in local events.

Online Communities (Free & Paid)

Whilst there are some great communities online, you gotta sift through the garbage and the groups that have only care about promoting themselves.

Most free communities are…not particularly valuable but rather a distraction. Most of them have little to no engagement with no real advice. Most people join to just promote their product or service.

That leads to a dying community with no value added to your journey.

I am in favor of paid communities for the following reasons:

  • The people that joined are invested into making the most out of their payment
  • Often led by experienced people and are willing to share people
  • People will far more contribute there since there is more exclusivity
  • Paid communities are moderated and self-promo or spam is not tolerated

What Else?

  • Reddit forums like  /startups or /entrepreneur are insanely valuable in my opinion. Sift through some topics once in a while and take notes. Learn from experienced people and use the shared knowledge to either learn or do some more research.
  • Courses. Paid and free courses are found everywhere. And when you’re a startup founder you don’t need to know everything, but at least understand fundamentals in areas such as design, marketingSEO, and so on. Sharpen your skills and awareness on your own time.

Final Note

Starting a business as a solo founder has a steep learning curve. And you need to keep your skills sharp to progress.

Mistakes will be made and all the great businesses out there had help one way or another.

Investing in a temporary startup coach or hiring an expert should ALWAYS be on your radar if you can cope with it financially. 

You can fast-track your growth with experts and balance out with mentors, DIY learning, and your efforts in networking (real life or online).

One of the key reasons why startup businesses fail is a lack of leadership skills or mismanagement. Avoid that by making a balance between cheap, free, and paid resources to get you there.

About Me

I am Jiang Ming or Jay, I write passionately about niche blogging, starting a business, WFH, and productivity, with a pinch of marketing and side hustle tips.

All content is based on my views and/or my own experiences. Some of the links might have an affiliate link which I earn a small commission from, which I prefer over stuffing my blog with ads.

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