Face of ClockLots of people would love to start a business, but they think they don’t have time. “I don’t have time to start a business,” they say to themselves. “What with my job, taking care of my house, commuting to work, taking care of my kids…how can I possibly find time?”

This is the biggest excuse people make. And you know what? It’s not a good excuse. Stop saying “I don’t have time to start a business!” You have tons of time. If it’s really important to you, you can find time to start a business, even if you have a family, even if you have a full-time job.

Here are some ways that you can squeeze some time out of your busy schedule and put it to good use in starting a business:

  • Stop watching TV. As of February 2009, Nielsen reported that the average American was watching 151 hours of TV per month – an all-time high! That’s almost 5 hours per day – including weekdays and weekends. Now, I love to watch some of my favorite TV shows and football games just as much as anyone, but come on – 151 hours per month is just ridiculous. That’s the equivalent of almost four full 40-hour work weeks! I’ll bet there are a lot of happy couch potatoes out there who would be even happier as entrepreneurs if they could devote just a few of those TV hours to starting a business. Seth Godin says, “I don’t watch TV and I don’t go to meetings. You’d be amazed at the difference it makes.”
  • Stop playing video games. Video game enthusiasts spend 13 hours per week playing video games. And these aren’t just teenagers we’re talking about; the average age of the gamers in the survey was 32.
  • Give up Facebook for a month. The average American spent 32 hours per month on the Internet during 2010. According to this survey, the average U.S. Facebook user spent almost 6 hours per month on Facebook (which is probably a conservative estimate).
  • Say “sayonara” to your friends. OK, just kidding – you don’t need to totally cut your friends out of your life. But maybe instead of meeting friends for happy hour after work, you could devote some “happy hours” to starting a business of your own. Tell your friends that you won’t be able to see them as often for a little while, because you’re working on something big and important that could potentially change your life. Chances are, your true friends will be happy for you – and once your business is making a profit, you can take everyone out for a celebratory round of drinks.
  • Send the kids to the neighbors’ house, book a babysitter two nights a week, take all your laundry to the cleaners, hire someone to mow your lawn, get Chinese takeout. Do whatever it takes in your domestic routine to carve out some time for yourself and for working on your business. Starting a business is not the time for “work-life balance.” You can get the work life balance later, after your business is up and running. Sometimes you just have to work flat out, pedal to the medal, 24/7 until you reach your goals in getting your business off the ground. This can be really hard. Your spouse might feel neglected and you might feel guilty about spending time away from your kids. But explain to them that in the end, you’re trying to put the family in an even better position, where you can have more control over your schedule and make more money than ever before.

“I don’t have time to start a business” is a terrible excuse. Don’t let your dreams be extinguished by limiting beliefs and self-defeating expressions like these. If starting a business is truly important to you, you’ll find time to make it work. Or if not, you could always go back to watching TV for five hours a day…