Overcoming your fear is one of the most difficult hurdles of starting a business. Starting a new business is such a leap of faith that it can scare the wits out of you; more so when you are leaving the comfort and security of a steady paycheck.
There are a number factors that can bring fear to any would-be entrepreneur. Foremost of these fears is the fear of failure and taking a risk, and the disappointment associated with this failure or losing what you already have.
Starting a business can be very scary, especially if you’re giving up a lot in order to jumpstart the business. The key is to prepare and have a plan of action. So, here are the 5 things that you will need if you are going to conquer your fears of starting a new business.
1. Set your goals
First, set attainable goals for the first year of your business. If you’re just starting out, this could mean developing a business plan. Take all of the ideas you have in your head and get them out in a single document that can be followed throughout your business journey.
Your plan will include your business’ mission and vision, and any research you’ve done into the market you’re planning to enter. Here, also consider your target audience and the brand identity you want to have when your customers think of your products or services. You’ll also outline pricing and the marketing that’ll be necessary to get your business off of the ground.
Working on a business plan will require you to think about all of the small details that will go into your business. Its structured approach can help relieve your fears by showing you how feasible your business is. Furthermore, setting attainable goals will help keep you on track so you know exactly what to focus on throughout the year and the amount of effort you’ll need to undertake.
The more you know about the industry, your business, and the process of starting the business, the less daunting it becomes. The key is to familiarize yourself with all the steps of starting a business and to learn all facets of your business. Fear often comes from not knowing what lies ahead, and the more you arm yourself with information, the more you become confident in pushing through. Educate yourself by:
- Reading books on general entrepreneurship, starting a business, and publications about your specific industry.
- Finding forums to help you learn more about the business. If you are running a blog and monetizing it through Google Adsense, participate in the official Google Adsense groups or forums such as WebmasterWorld.
- Networking both offline and online and find like-minded individuals who can give you advice, inspire you, and possibly even work with you. Visit sites as LinkedIn, Twitter and specialty networking sites. Participate in business groups in your area.
- Talking to other entrepreneurs, including those who are in the same business as you. Some may resist and view you as a competitor, but others may be more accommodating especially if you are not directly competing in the same area.
3. Embrace your fear
The fear of failure is one of the most common among entrepreneurs. We’ve all known that sting of embarrassment when a plan goes wrong or the feeling of disapproval. Naturally, we want to avoid those feelings at all costs. Learn from your mistakes and use your fear to better yourself and better your craft. It’s easier said than done, but try to welcome fear as an experience to learn and grow, and remember that fear can actually be a good thing. Courage is being scared to death and doing it anyway. Slowly but surely, action leads to confidence, which helps abate your fears and move your business forward.
4. Ask for help
You don’t have to do it alone. Starting a business can seem overwhelming for so many reasons, but that’s why there are many different resources available to entrepreneurs.
You can start with your friends and family, and from there, you’ll begin to build a community of support. Identify the people who are champions of your business – they’ll spread your message eagerly and can help you in the long-term. As you grow, your community will also include investors, partners, customers, and mentors.
Keep in mind that growing a business is an exciting and common journey to take, and entrepreneurs are also eager to help each other.
Be positive, even when it’s tough, and believe in yourself and your business. Go after what you want even if it seems crazy. As George Addair said, "Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
5. Failure is not life threatening
Failure can be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but is not life-threatening. And failure is always an opportunity of one kind or another – an opportunity to stretch beyond our usual boundaries, to learn something valuable, or to make previously undreamed-of connections. Remembering this positive face of failure and focusing on it will go a long way towards changing your attitude about it.
Starting and running your own small business could be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. Don’t let your fear of failure make you miss out. You are not going to be able to outrun your fear. But eventually, once you build on enough successes, you will be able to tame it. Why not start now?
As for losing money and/or possessions if your new business fails, should be part of your business plan. Just like it’s not advisable to put all your eggs in one basket, you better have a backup plan and a limit of how much you are willing to invest. Make sure not to spend all your savings, not to leverage your equity, way behind what you can afford to lose, consider starting your business as a side hustle, while keeping a part-time job until you start seeing positive results in your business.
Be aware of the risk of losing your investment and consider the amount you are willing or can afford to lose. How much is it? That’s a matter of perspective. Money is never as important as your health, for instance, or the health and well-being of your loved ones. So make sure whatever you risk will not be something that will effect your health and lifestyle.
Make sure to consult a lawyer or a tax advisor about how to limit your liability by forming a legal entity for your business.
So, these are the 5 ways that will help you to overcome the fear of starting a new business. But, it is up to you. You need to start doing things. Stop dreaming and start doing!