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The American Dream is Still Alive: Now Is a Great Time to Start Your Own Business Thinking of getting your side hustle started? Read this first.

By Kim Perell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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In the midst of uncertainty and turmoil, ingenuity has still managed to thrive, with Americans starting new businesses at the fastest rate in over a decade. 3.2 million people have filed for a business application in 2020, up from 2.7 million at the same point in 2019.

These "covidpreneurs" give me hope.

These entrepreneurs show us that the American Dream – the freedom to start something out of nothing and pursue your own personal passion – is still alive and well.

There are certainly more obstacles that may exist today than there were prior, but starting a business is always challenging. If the pandemic is the main thing that's holding you back from starting a business right now, I'm here to tell you that it shouldn't.

Why now is actually a great time to start a business

1. There's plenty of room in the market
The U.S. lost more businesses during the first three months of the pandemic than it normally does in an entire year, with hundreds of thousands of businesses permanently shutting their doors. COVID-19 has accelerated the process of transformation, creating opportunities for new businesses to embrace a new future.

2. The pandemic has introduced new needs in the market.
From a widespread need for reusable masks to better video conferencing options to at-home fitness solutions, COVID-19 has ushered in all sorts of new needs and problems entrepreneurs can address and solve for.

3. Crisis breeds opportunity.
General Motors. Microsoft. Uber. Airbnb. Some of the largest and most successful companies in the world were started during times of economic crisis. If you're considering starting a business during this one, you're in good company.

4. Many have more free time than ever before.
Chances are, the commute to your home office is a whole lot shorter than your commute to work. If working from home has freed up time in your schedule, use it to start a side hustle outside of regular office hours.

5. People are looking for work.
Did you know that startups account for ⅕ of job creation? Starting a business doesn't just give you a new source of income – it can also create opportunities for other people looking for work, too.

Related: Take This Quiz to Find the Perfect Side Hustle for You

Starting a business is always challenging and most startups don't survive even if they're founded during a good time. But that doesn't mean yours has to be one of them. (Besides, doing nothing is way worse than trying and failing!)

Follow these 3 tips to increase your chance of startup success during COVID-19.

1. Make sure there's a need in the market

The most crucial question you need to answer about your business is, "Will people pay me to do this?" Do some research and figure out if the business idea you have is one that solves a problem people will pay to solve. Bonus points if it's a new COVID-era need you're addressing!

2. Learn from someone who's been there before

No need to reinvent the wheel – if you have specific questions about running a business, find an expert to help you out. Reach out to a person in your local community who's running a business that's similar to the one you're considering and ask them to get on a Zoom call with you. Or if you're not entirely sure what type of business you'd like to start yet or how you'd even begin, my step-by-step course The Side Hustle Accelerator is a great place to start.

3. Dream big, start small

No need to make starting a business a bigger risk than it already is. No matter how big you hope your business becomes one day, have the patience (and the good sense) to start small. Don't quit your day job, don't invest your life savings upfront, don't get frustrated that you haven't become wild success yet. Focus on the very next step. Follow opportunities as they come, without getting overwhelmed by how far you're hoping to go.

We've been given a remarkable opportunity to look at the world differently and solve brand new problems. (Hey, even I'm taking advantage. I've started three new businesses in the last six months!)

As always, it'll take resilience, hard work, ingenuity, and a whole lot of hope – but if you play things right, you just might be able to create something truly great.

Kim Perell

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

CEO of Perell Ventures

Kim Perell is an award-winning entrepreneur, bestselling author, CEO, and angel investor, who has made headlines for her transformative story of a startup entrepreneur to a leading tech CEO and prominent angel investor. Laid off from her dream job out of college, Kim started her first company from her kitchen table; going from broke to a multi-millionaire by the time she was 30, and selling her last company for $235 million.  Kim has been named one of AdAge’s Marketing Technology Trailblazers, Business Insider's Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising, Adweek’s Women Trailblazers, a John Maxwell Transformational Leader, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and an Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Female Executives.  Kim’s passion is to help aspiring entrepreneurs achieve success and is an early stage angel investor in over 90 startups, 18 of which have successfully been acquired by some of the largest Fortune 500 companies. Kim’s first book, The Execution Factor, The One Skill That Drives Success, is a national bestseller, designed to help others achieve success in business and life by mastering execution.

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