Do I look the part of a boss? Will people take me seriously? I’ll admit it, these entrepreneur fears are some of the limiting thoughts that crossed my mind when I started my marketing agency a few years ago.
Uncomfortable, uncertain… typically, becoming an entrepreneur comes with a lot of self-doubts and questions. What if I fail? What will people think if I don’t make it? Or what if I lose my passion for my business? More often than not, entrepreneurship grows from a place of self-doubt, and with self-doubt comes fear.
What’s terrible though, is that these fears aren’t just hurting our entrepreneur mindset, they also put our whole business at risk. So let’s address these fears head-on, so that we may grow confident on our entrepreneurial journey!
1. Fear of starting
Fear can be the fire that keeps you going or it can be the thing that paralyzes you and holds you back. The fear of starting is so common for entrepreneurs when embarking on a new business venture. After all, it’s not easy putting ourselves in the position of a beginner.
The fear of starting is the apprehension and hesitation that surface when taking the first steps. The risk is that it grows so big that it stops us from pursuing our dreams, stifles our creativity, and prevents us from achieving our full potential.
One of the ways we can tackle the fear of starting is by accepting that we need to get uncomfortable in order to grow our business. Yes, we might fail or feel inadequate at some point. Yet, by embracing our discomfort, we can gain so much and actually accelerate our learning and personal growth.
2. Fear of losing momentum
As counterintuitive as it might sound, the fear of losing momentum tends to arise when our business is picking up and we are getting excited. It typically starts with a little voice in our head saying that all of our newfound success is due to luck and that it likely won’t last.
When we let these thoughts creep in, we are discounting the work and efforts we have put into our business. Yet, even if you believe in manifesting, good luck doesn’t just happen. We create our good luck by setting up the right foundations for success and setting up the stage for our business.
So whether you are facing setbacks or external pressures, snuff your fears of losing momentum, drive, or motivation. Instead use strategies like time management, goal and accountability setting to keep your motivation high.
3. Fear of relying on yourself
The fear of relying on yourself is particularly powerful if you are transitioning from a 9-to-5 job to entrepreneurship. This fear is understandable. After all, you might be putting your entire livelihood into your new venture! All of a sudden you’re not only becoming the boss but also the HR, accountant, marketer… That’s a lot to take on.
This dread usually stems from a lack of confidence in our abilities and a fear of not being able to handle the responsibilities and challenges that come with starting a business. When it gets bad, the fear of relying on yourself can lead to self-doubt, decision paralysis, and even imposter syndrome.
Part of dealing with the fear of relying on yourself is to admit you can’t be good at everything and to develop your skills and knowledge as you go. Another part is to (re)invest in your business by hiring experts that can support you in the areas you’re not an expert at. Think, legal, accounting, or web design, these can be crucial for your enterprise but might be better accomplished if they are outsourced. Consequentially, freeing up your bandwidth for areas where you can make a bigger impact on your business.
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4. Fear of financial insecurity
This is a valid concern for most entrepreneurs and one that kept me up at night when I started out. The fear of financial insecurity happens when you no longer have a regular paycheck or are taking risks by investing your savings into your new business. It usually comes with quite a bit of stress that can divert our energy and focus away from strategic decision-making.
There’s no one-size-fits-all way around this one. For some entrepreneurs, the best place to start is with a loan and that means the risk of debt, for others it can take time to generate revenue and set up a self-sufficient business. Nonetheless, you can mitigate the fear of financial insecurity with sufficient budgeting and planning, by getting professional financial advice, or by starting your new adventure as a side hustle.
It’s always a good idea to plan for an emergency fund to keep you afloat if anything unexpected happens in your business or in your personal life. Sometimes, having that little nest is enough to keep the fear of financial insecurity from nagging at you.
5. Fear of taking risks
This is such a common fear for new entrepreneurs! Hesitating, doubting, or having a hard time making decisions are often symptoms of our fear of taking risks. However in business, where risk-taking is inherent, this fear can hinder our progress, limit our innovation, and prevent us from seizing new opportunities.
Of course, we shouldn’t jump into important decisions blindly, but taking calculated risks is essential for our entrepreneurial success. That means making informed judgments, getting comfortable with our data, and carefully evaluating potential rewards and consequences.
Some strategies to lessen risk include having a contingency plan in case something doesn’t go according to plan, starting small and testing before going full scale, and seeking advice and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs.
All entrepreneurs go through self-criticism, self-doubt, and a multitude of fears. Still, by acknowledging and addressing these fears head-on, we can empower ourselves to overcome them and grow our businesses with confidence.
By crushing our fears and adopting an entrepreneurial mindset focused on growth and resilience, we can navigate the challenges of business ownership and pave the way for our success.
Remember, every fear we conquer becomes a stepping stone toward realizing our full potential as entrepreneurs. Embrace the journey, embrace the fears, and let them propel you forward on the path to entrepreneurial greatness!
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