Do you want to start a business but are scared? Having fear as an entrepreneur is normal and healthy – and can be overcome with these proven strategies I have used personally to launch successful firms while terrified!
It can be daunting to take that first step. You may have a million fears about what it will be like to start your own business. Will I have to give up my job? What if I fail? Who’s going to pay the bills if this doesn’t work out?
But you have the advantage of my experience and that of my startup clients. In this blog post, I will detail the most common entrepreneurial fears and how to work through them to feel confident and succeed.
That’s why we’ve created this guide for entrepreneurs who are terrified – just like I was in my first startup!
Fears All Entrepreneurs Must Face: Expert Tips to Overcome
Many people have dreams of starting their own business but are also very scared.
“I can’t do it”, “I’m not an expert”, “what if I fail?” These fears are haunting many new entrepreneurs.
The idea of owning your own company and overseeing your own destiny is attractive to many, but the thought can be scary at times because there are so many things that could go wrong. Yikes! No worries.
Here is a list of the most common new business owner fears and how to overcome them to your startup success:
Fear of not knowing what you’re doing:
Every entrepreneur, at one point or another, has to face their fear of not knowing what they’re doing.
Every entrepreneur, at one point or another, has to face their fear of not knowing what they’re doing. It can be scary to take on a new project and be responsible for the outcome even though you’ve never done it before.
It’s true that most successful entrepreneurs do have some kind of specialized industry knowledge. But you don’t need it to get started! In fact, the best entrepreneurs are problem-solvers who can find solutions in any industry. Many bootstrappers get started with no industry knowledge and become experts after lots of trial and error.
To succeed as a business owner you have to break through your fears and rise to the challenge. So how do you learn everything you need? Start with small projects that are similar so you can learn from them, then work up to bigger projects as you go along. My first business was better than a high-priced college education for learning about business management principles.
Fear of failure:
Fear of failure is an irrational belief that makes some people avoid taking risks in life because they’re afraid the worst might happen if they do. Being a business owner is risky because not all business ideas are guaranteed to be successful.
Everyone has this fear at the beginning of a new venture, but it’s largely unfounded. Don’t believe those scary false reports of 80% of new businesses fail in the first 5 years – the reality is that MORE than 50% of all startups survive according to the experts at the SBA. Really, you don’t have much to lose with a startup because there are lower costs and less personal exposure.
But if you can’t overcome your fear of failure in life and learn from the mistakes you make along the way, then you’re unlikely to achieve success in any career!
This is tough because it’s hard to see past the doubt that plagues every new entrepreneur.
But this is no time to back down. You have to break through your fears and rise to the challenge. So how do you learn everything you need? Start with small projects that are similar so you can learn from them, then work up to bigger projects as you go along.
Fear of lack of support:
If you’ve thought about starting your own business but haven’t gone ahead with it, this one might be holding you back. You’re afraid that people, especially your family and friends, won’t support your ideas or fail to understand why they’re important. Quite often, when people are afraid of something, it’s because they feel uncertain and lack the confidence to take action.
If you don’t believe in yourself, others won’t believe in you either. So your best bet is to surround yourself with supportive people and remember that even if they don’t believe in you, you still have to do what’s right for your business.
Fear of starting a business alone
If this applies to you, don’t be afraid to ask for help with your business. You’ll find that everyone is willing to share their expertise and experiences if you take the time to ask them. If you are uncomfortable launching solo consider partnering with another entrepreneur as a business partner. Here are my top tips on how to find a good business partner.
Fear of being different:
If everyone else is doing it one way, why would you want to do it differently? And surely if something works, there’s no point in trying something different? But just because the masses do things one way, doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the best or only way to do it. It could be that there is a better, more efficient, or affordable way to achieve what you want. Being a leader means being part of the vanguard, so remember why you wanted to start your own business in the first place and go for it!
Fear of the unknown
This is a tough one to beat, but there are always resources available to help you research a new business idea. Use a library to find books on the topic, talk to someone who has been in the industry for years, and use Google Scholar to research academic papers on your topic just as you would for any other assignment.
Fear of losing money and financial insecurity
In this day and age it’s hard not to be at least a little fearful about starting a business because it will cost money. But I always tell my clients that joining an MLM company with no startup costs is better than sitting at home and not working at all.
Fear of putting yourself out there
Many people who are considering starting their business are afraid of what might happen – both good and bad. One common fear is that you put yourself out there and then no one likes your idea or you (or it’s not as good as you thought).
It’s important to remember that entrepreneurship involves risk, but also reward. Before you tell the world about your idea, make sure you’ve done your research first! Be sure to check out my article about the best ways to field test your business ideas so you know that there is both demand and paying customers for your new product idea.
If this fear prevents you from taking risks, take smaller steps to get used to the idea of putting yourself out there. Try attending some industry trade shows and startup networking events to gain courage.
Or if your shyness prevents you from trying new things, just remember that failure can be a wonderful thing! Many successful entrepreneurs have failed way more than they’ve succeeded. You learn so much about yourself when you try and fail – it’s one of the most valuable lessons you can learn. I know I always learned a lot from my failures that propelled me to greater success in my next entrepreneurial venture.
Fear of competition
“I’m afraid that my idea will be stolen” OR “People are already doing this, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to catch up”
How to overcome this fear: Competition is a good thing. It means there is an opportunity to make money or serve customers better than others. If you are trying to do something unusual, competitors may be fewer – but don’t assume the first one you encounter is your only competitor! You will never be able to avoid all competition.
Fear of looking stupid
Some people worry that if they create a business and other people think it is dumb, they will look stupid.
They are scared people will think their idea is silly, or that they aren’t a smart enough person to create and run a business.
How to fight the fear of looking stupid for entrepreneurs: We call this “idea risk.” Many people take the path of least resistance in life. They pick jobs that are too safe, where there’s no risk of failure or embarrassment. If you’re worried that your idea might sound ridiculous, I have some good news for you.
Your ideas make you unique, and people will be excited about your ideas if you are! No one has the same mix of interests and passions as you do. You’ll bring a perspective to the market that’s unique. People want to buy interesting and unique products.
Yes, you might put your idea out in the world and find that it’s not perfect – but that’s OK, too. You can continue to improve it as you get feedback from real customers. In fact, you’ll learn more about how to run a business by actually running one than you ever could by reading a book or just thinking about it.
Are you looking for a profitable business idea that you can start alone?
You’re in the right place! I share with you some of my favorite solo business ideas that can be started alone in my post: Profitable Solo Business Ideas to Start Alone: No Employees!
These businesses are great because they don’t require employees, which means no overhead costs and more profits for YOU!
Fear of Success
Another common fear of starting a business is the fear of success. Success can be intimidating (and scary) so some people will avoid it at all costs to prevent any risk of failure.
The fear is often rooted in a fear of responsibility and the complexities that come with achieving success. However, these are just excuses to avoid the difficulties that come with growth and accomplishment. There are many ways to overcome this fear, but for me, it was embracing my fears rather than running from them.
If you’re struggling with the fear of success, try to talk openly about it with someone who may understand what you’re going through. Take some time to think of the people in your life who have always been supportive and remember that they’ll be there for you no matter what.
You can also build a support network of other entrepreneurs by joining forums or online communities of like-minded individuals – this will help you realize that you can’t be afraid to succeed!
Funny, I was afraid that people would not like me if I succeed and got rich. Weird right? Also, I was concerned that I would get a big ego and act like a jerk. Well sometimes, I do still, but by looking at my fear and talking to my mentor I am now aware of my issues and usually behave well.
Fear of not having enough startup capital
Entrepreneurship can be scary for many reasons, but this one is especially relevant since lack of startup capital is often a major factor in why small businesses fail. If you don’t have enough money to get your business up and running, it’s easy to feel hopeless.
In reality, successful businesses are often bootstrapped (i.e., funded by the founders). Think outside the box to come up with more ways to fund your venture, such as my 17 proven sources for startup funds here.
16 Smart Strategies to Overcome Entreprener Fears
Fear of entrepreneurship is a combination of fear and anxiety about the unknown. The best strategy for overcoming this is to take action, break it down into manageable chunks, then deal with those chunks one at a time.
I have personally used these strategies to overcome my fears and I am sure they will help calm your new business owner’s nerves and give you the confidence to proceed boldly.
Here’s how I worked through my startup fears and got on my own entrepreneurial journey to success
– Take Action.
Create and execute a plan so you can learn and experience success sooner rather than later. Seek guidance from mentors and experts who have been there before.
– Break It Down Into Manageable Chunks.
Break your goal down into smaller stages or projects so you can tackle them one step at a time. Focus on completing the first stage instead of worrying about how many more you need to complete. Fewer issues to think about mean less room for fear to creep in.
– Acknowledge the fear
Don’t pretend you aren’t afraid. The first step to overcoming fear is to own it and be aware of it.
– Never stop learning –
The world of entrepreneurship is always changing and growing, so it’s important to be open to new things that will keep your business fresh.
– Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs
This will help you learn faster and stay motivated! Work with people who are passionate about the same thing as you. Join founder groups, startup incubators and attend local meet-ups of inventors. One of these 26,000 groups is sure to be near you.
– Realize That Failure Is Only One Possible Outcome.
Your business plan may be correct, but your assumptions may not hold water in the market, and that’s okay! If things don’t turn out as you had planned, there’s always something new to learn from the experience.
– Focus On The Can’t-Dos, Not The Can’ts.
Many of the things that scare you are just your mind projecting those fears onto the unknown future. It’s a defense mechanism to protect you in case “the worst” happens, but it can prevent you from achieving success and fulfillment by limiting you.
– Take baby steps
– You don’t need to launch your business overnight. Start with a small goal and go from there. Break down your goals into smaller chunks that get you closer to where you want to be, but take things one step at a time.
– Take Small, Calming Breaths.
When fear arises, pause for a few breaths and acknowledge the feeling without judging it or trying to fight it. Breathe in slowly and deeply for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, then breathe out slowly for another five seconds. Repeat as needed until you feel calm enough to take action again.
– Remember What You Stand To Gain.
Taking the first step is scary, but when you imagine yourself enjoying your new business and succeeding at it, that fear can be easier to overcome!
– Seek Support From Those Who Care.
Sometimes all we need are a few encouraging words from someone who loves us, and that can make all the difference.
-View Failure As An Opportunity For Learning.
Take a deep breath and when you’re ready, try it again! Then rinse and repeat as needed until you succeed. Learning from your mistakes and failures (and learning to not beat yourself up about them) is one of the best ways to succeed in business.
– Embrace Happiness.
When you decide that you’re going to be happy no matter what, your stress and fear lessen because they can’t survive in an environment of happiness! If you need support with finding happiness, a free Spiritual Foundations for Wellness course can help you find that happiness.
– Spend Time Outside In Nature.
Fresh air and nature are proven to reduce stress, even when just viewing pictures of natural beauty! Nature is so calming for our bodies and minds, and spending time in it can improve our mood and health immensely.
– Leave Your Judgments At The Door.
Not all of your fear will dissipate with these strategies, but when you feel them coming on, remember that they are simply judgments you have about yourself and the world and nothing more. Judging yourself for judging something is double counting!
– Remember it’s supposed to be fun!
Start your business because you want to, not because you feel like it’s something you need to do. If self-employment isn’t a good fit for your personality, the best thing to do is reevaluate and try something new.
Fear is a natural part of entrepreneurship.
That fear can be paralyzing and prevent you from taking the first step in starting your business, but with time and understanding, it’s possible to work through those fears. The most common entrepreneurial fears are detailed here along with tips for overcoming them so that you can find success as an entrepreneur!
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