10 Businesses You Should Not Start if…

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If you want to get rich quick, don’t start a business. You already know this, don’t you? Business is not a fun sport. It comes with a lot of low and high moments. So generally you shouldn’t start a business if you have unrealistic expectations like getting rich quick and living your dream of total freedom. But if you have realistic expectations and want to start a business, there are businesses you want to stay away from if you don’t meet certain criteria. You want to read this article to the end because identifying these businesses will help you make more informed decision and avoid unnecessary heartache.

  1. You do not have Huge Capital

There are many businesses you can start with little capital and grow from there. These kinds of businesses are often not capital intensive to start. In fact many successful businesses today started with little to zero capital. But a lot of businesses come with huge start-up cost. You will often need to invest a lot of money and spend years trying to break even. If you do not have access to huge capital or investors you should not start a brick and mortar retail store or a fancy restaurant.

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  1. You are a very shy person

People often mistake being shy as being an introvert. But that is not entirely true. You can be introverted and also confident. Being an introvert is mostly about how you reenergize. An introvert usually leaves a social activity exhausted and needing private time to regain energy; while extroverts gain energy from social interaction. So let’s not mix this up. An introvert can do just about anything an extrovert can. But being shy is a social behaviour. Some people are born this way, while others learn them. If you consider yourself a very shy person, businesses that depend on a high level of personal interaction, and social skill may intensify your social anxiety. Example of such businesses includes event planning, comedy club, hoteling, and real estate agency.

However, never say never. Robert Kiyosaki in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, talked about joining the military because he wanted to develop self-discipline and also getting into sale because he wanted to overcome his shyness and develop the confidence to deal with rejection. So, if you are a shy person, you can choose a challenging business or career that will give you the opportunity to overcome your social anxiety.

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  1. If you are an extrovert

Do you consider yourself as an extrovert? People have different personality traits and can be identified based on the way we handle social interaction. This has an effect on the kind of businesses that work best for each person. While introverts would try to avoid the crowd by default, extroverts prefer to meet and interact with people. Tell an extrovert to start a business that requires not seeing the outside world and he would see himself in a cage, while an introvert will be glad to embrace it. These are some of the differences in personalities. It does not mean that one is better than the other. It’s just an individual preference. So, as an extrovert, some businesses you would want to avoid include software development, writing, Forex trading, and the likes.

  1. You do not want to waste your Time and Money

Imagine setting up an internet café in 2020. How many people still go to the cyber café to check their email and browse the internet? The percentage is almost negligible except may be in rural areas. Most people will rather use their phone to check their email, browse the internet or access numerous productivity applications. If you commit your hard earned capital to start an internet café, your chance of succeeding is very slim. Such businesses have been overtaken by innovation and have established alternatives.

Other examples of businesses you shouldn’t start if you don’t want to waste your time and money are newspaper, search engine, social media, or taxi-hailing app. The last three examples already have industry giants that trying to compete with them will need enormous funds, innovation and talent pool. It’s not impossible to compete with Google which already controls over 90 percent of internet search, or Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and other social media platforms with billions of users, or even Uber and the likes; it is not impossible. But do you really have what it takes to compete with these giants?

  1. You do not like Reading

If the last time you read a book was to write an exam or test, there are businesses you don’t want to venture into. In fact, you have to fall in love with reading to succeed in today’s world. You may get away with the poor reading habit in some businesses, like petty trading and rural farming but you will barely stay afloat in most other businesses. Some people would rather be caught sleeping than picking up a book to read. Unfortunately, there are few businesses you can succeed in without forming the habit of reading. With that, if you really plan to grow in whatever business you want to start, you must develop effective reading habits. Don’t start any business if you are not willing to read and learn.

  1. You want high profit margin

For some businesses, $1,000 investment can ideally make a profit of $500, $1,000 or even $5,000 within a year; whereas some business will barely make you $120 from the same amount within the same period. The latter kind of business could be said to typically have a low profit margin. You are required to invest a substantial amount of capital and expect to break even within the next five to ten years. Some of such businesses you shouldn’t start if you want high profit margin are real estate, grocery store, retail store, manufacturing, and farm produce raw material sales.

  1. You want to be paid your worth

Few years ago, you could start and build a successful website design company. You have access to a pull of businesses and brands that need a website, and the skill and resources to build a website was scarce. You needed to understand HTML, CSS, PHP and may be JAVA. This gave website designers the power to charge what they believe they were worth.

Today, anyone can set up a professional website in less than 24 hours with open source applications like WordPress, Joomla, Magento and so on without any programming skill. This have lowered the entry barrier and created unimaginable competition. The result is the inability for small website designers to charge enough money to keep business afloat. If you want to be paid your worth, website design isn’t a very nice place to look.

  1. You do not want to get your Hands Dirty

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty on every typical workday, there are many businesses out there for you to get into; Businesses that involve evacuating human excreta, handling dead bodies and such yuck-inducing services. These businesses have fat income that could get anyone to consider changing career. Notwithstanding, some people would give up anything just to ensure that they did not get anywhere close to them. Such businesses includes garbage collecting, farming or ranching, truck driver, mortician, plumbing, and the likes.

  1. You want to help People

Businesses often have mission and vision statements. You are expected to have a purpose for your business. And the ultimate goal of most businesses is to help people and make the planet a better place. A lot of businesses will give you such an opportunity to contribute your quota to the advancement of the human race. If you believe this to be the essence of doing business, then you want to stay away from businesses that will stair you in the opposite direction. Example of such businesses includes a casino, gambling, porn site and betting. These kinds of business are suited for people who believe the sole purpose to be in business is to make money.

  1. If you want to save the Planet

A UN report states that if the biggest 3,000 companies were forced to pay for the use, loss and damage they cause on our environment, they would have lost one-third of their profit. There is a new movement of creating eco-friendly businesses over environment polluting ones. Many nations of the world are on the race to phase out fossil fuel combustion vehicles in the near future; to replace them with electric cars. This is in the bid to reduce carbon dioxide emission, which is harmful to our environment.

Climate change is an environmental threat and fighting it can create businesses in the process. If you share in the belief to only involve in business activities that are environmentally clean, then you want to stay away from a business like plastic production, tree-felling, coal and petroleum-related businesses.

Bear in mind that we are not advocating against any of these businesses. You have the freedom to choose a business based on your interests and perception of the business. It’s all up to you.


  • Ikenna Odinaka C. is a Writer, Career Development Professional, Entrepreneur, Educator and Investor. He is the founder of AfterschoolAfrica.com, AfterSchoolMedia.com and Edxtra.com. He has also co-founded other businesses in Education, technology and media industry. He is passionate about the future of work, entrepreneurship and helping young people explore opportunities to develop their financial capability. You can read his best content on AfterSchoolMedia.com and watch his insightful videos on YouTube