Let’s Tackle The Fears Of Starting A Business Together
Entrepreneurship is a world full of unknowns. As a business owner, you’re constantly asking yourself question after question, letting the fears of starting a business take over the forefront of ideas you’ve been working so hard to make a reality.
What should you name your company? Are these materials right for the production of your product, or are these other ones better? What if you choose the wrong materials—is quality or price more important to your audience? When it’s all said and done, will investors like your pitch? Do people even care about what you have to offer? There’s no way to know the answers to these questions until you make them a reality, but what a fear that sets in to be.
And then what about you—you as a business owner who needs to make money to survive? When you’re first starting out, there’s the fear of not having a stable paycheck. And a fear of being so consumed by work that you’ll end up spending all of your time alone.
There’s a lot of newness and plenty of unknown during this time, but if you let the fears of starting a business get in your way, how will you ever let your business succeed? Don’t overthink every tiny detail. Have confidence in what you’re doing and work your a** off to make it all happen.
Let’s squash some of the way-too-common fears of starting a business together and realize that they’re really not so scary after all.
Fear of Failure
Failure is a scary thing. Who really wants to fail? Nobody. Fearing failure just means that you’re human, and we’re all human, so good news, right?
But entrepreneurs are superhuman, or at least their superpower is that they embrace failure as the paving stoves to success. Entrepreneurs know failing just means you had the guts to try, and you’re continuing to try until you get it right.
If you’re too afraid to fail at all, you’ll be caging yourself in a small corner of the world—a corner where you’re essentially risking every opportunity to grow. Instead of cornering ourselves, what if we look at it this way: let’s fail more.
Did your stomach just drop? Pick it back up, it’ll be OK. Start out by trying new things that aren’t typically done in your industry. Or because you’re so terrified of public speaking, give Instagram Live a try and see how it goes. Launch that new product you had a hunch about and see how it performs. What’s the worst that can happen? Failure? Great, get out there and fail.
Learning to be comfortable with failure is a skill, and it’ll take some time to get used to, but you’ll only get better if you keep doing it. Ultimately, failure is inevitable, so why not get great at it and fail forward? Because the only real failure is not trying at all—everything else is just a lesson.
Fear of Looking Stupid
As an entrepreneur, you’re a leader. Let’s start out by saying it’s a huge misconception that all leaders have to know more than everyone else to do their job right. Not true.
Leadership is all about being a role model for values, beliefs, and techniques—it’s not about being perfect. As a leader, even you are steadfast to create a community of others who are much better than you at certain things because that’s the way you can learn and focus on the stuff that you’re really good at. Leaders rise together!
The point is, you don’t have to know everything. No one does—literally nobody. You just have to be open to learning all the time, getting better at what you do know and being open to things that you don’t know—and that’s not stupid. Don’t be a know-it-all, be a life-long learner.
Fear of Spending Money
But how the hell will you ever make money without first spending money? You have to invest in your company to make a profit, plain and simple. Now, investing in your company doesn’t mean you have to drain your savings and sell your children’s favorite toys to do so. You have to be smart about the way you invest your money, and know who to get money from (* cough cough* investors).
There are plenty of places to look within your own community for investment money. Raise money and give a portion back to local charities. Hang out at local networking events, you’re sure to connect with a potential investor or two.
Just remember that business expenses are inevitable, so don’t fear them. To make money you have to look professional and be able to run smoothly, and that takes branding, marketing, accounting, and software, which costs money. But by putting it off, you’re going to end up spending more time and money dealing with not having the conveniences or benefits those expenses would have originally paid for. So do it upfront and don’t fear investing money in yourself and your business.
Fear of Disappointing People
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches”? You can’t please everyone. And if you try, you’re going to end up pleasing no one.
It’s your business, so do what’s right for it and stick to what aligns with your values and goals. If you do these things right, then you won’t even think about losing sleep over people who don’t understand that.
If you find yourself people-pleasing out of habit, revert back to what’s best for you and your business. A sneaky way of people-pleasing is not knowing when or how to say no. Not every opportunity is a good one, though it can seem that way at the moment. If your actions aren’t aligned with what you value (and what you actually have time for), it’s not good for business.
It’s impossible to make everyone happy, but if you have to make someone happy, make the right people happy. Who is most beneficial to keep happy when it comes to your small business? Employees? Investors? Customers? Whoever it is for you, discern whether making them happy is actually beneficial to them. For example, does your audience actually want you to add that new flavor to your product line? Do your research, and never just gun it and make a move. Make sure the time, energy, and money you’re putting into making someone else happy is worth it for business.
Fear of Risk
You’ve started a business, so congratulations, you’re a risk-taker! Every other risk you take along your business owner journey is just icing on the cake, so stop fearing it.
If you’re truly afraid of a risk, learn as much as you can about the possible outcomes of that risk. Can a bad outcome really be that bad? Or is it a wise decision to back away from the cliff? The more certainty you can create around the outcomes of a risk, the easier it is to make a decision and take that risk.
Additionally, read up on the art and science of risk-taking, and become a master risk-taker. There is a right way to do it, so if risks really freak you out, invest in some risk-taking education.
Honestly, do you think that every mega-successful person didn’t take a leap of faith every now and then? TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie was laughed off the stage when he presented his “buy one, get one” model to investors. Look at him now. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston gave Steve Jobs a big NO when he asked to obtain the company. Now look at what Dropbox has to offer.
Risks are a serious fear when starting a business, but they’re worth it. Ask Mr. Mycoskie and Mr. Houston.
Related Article to Learn More About Risk and Fear
Fear of (Little) Changes
Change is uncomfortable and not always an easy process. And as an entrepreneur, change is more amplified in your life than others.
Even if you feel like you’re comfortable with change on a larger, big-picture scale, you may not realize some of the fears you have on a small scale. For example, starting a business with no definite outcome excites you, but then when thinking about losing your star employee, having months of construction outside of your storefront, or having a supplier inform you that they don’t carry the ingredient you need anymore really makes you wince.
Small changes are often the most difficult to deal with because they build up and lead to huge overall changes. But you have to learn to embrace those small changes too instead of fearing them. A great way to practice this is to prepare as much as you can for the worst of any situation. Remember that you can’t control everything, no matter how much you might want to, so just roll with it.
And hey, if your distributor is out of that ingredient you love, maybe that will spur up a new recipe or product. Change can be good if you have the right mindset, and that could likely lead to products and services that you would’ve never imagined otherwise.
Don’t Make Decisions Out Of Fear
Have you been making branding decisions out of fear? You might not even realize it.
Dive into your brand—the surface-level stuff and the deep, dusty corners—and get an outsider’s opinion. Find out where fear-based decisions may be lurking in your brand with a Brand Scan.