Many first-time entrepreneurs make the same mistake. They do not use their network to help them out. They may be afraid of failing or that people will tell them that it is time to "get a real job". In any case, it will seriously hurt their probability of future success.
When you are in the early stage of starting a business you are always searching for:
- Feedback/Business idea validation
The list goes on and on.
If you don't come out as an entrepreneur about to start a business, your network can not help you. Not only can they not help you directly, they also can not connect you with people or resources they meet as they go about their lives, because they don't know that this person might be valuable for you to meet. It is like a negative network effect opportunity cost.
I recently talked to a group of budding entrepreneurs and I compared it to a situation where you suddenly lost your job. In that scenario, what would be the most successful strategy to land a new job? To be ashamed and not tell anyone about your predicament, or tell everyone you knew, online and offline? I think you get the picture.
Even if your business idea is the rarest among birds, and it must be protected and not talked about (and it isn't is it?), you can still tell people about yourself being an entrepreneur, that you are working on a startup and roughly what field it will be in. Right there, that is enough information for your network to be 80% effective in helping you out.
Just do it!