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I want to get really honest with you here today: starting your own business can be scary!
I hear the fears and doubts about starting a business from my clients all the time:
What if I don’t make any money?
What if I don’t know anything about techie stuff?
What if I get hate mail?
The truth is, starting a business IS scary! But the best way to overcome a fear is to get it out in the open and think of ways to beat it.
1. No regular paycheck
The number one fear I hear from new entrepreneurs or people who are considering starting their own business is the fear that they won’t make any money, that they won’t be able to replace their current/former salary, or that they won’t be able to count on a consistent, regular paycheck every month.
That’s a valid fear, because most of us don’t have a trust fund lying around to support us! But when you set your business up properly from the beginning, choose a business model that will work with your needs and expectations, and really understand where your leads and coming from and how to turn them into sales, these fears can be alleviated to a certain extent. Yes, of course there are still ups and downs and you don’t have total control but by keeping working on what moves the need in your business you can reach a level of consistency where this becomes much less of a concern.
2. The buck stops with you
Second, the buck stops with you. You’re the boss, so there’s no one else to blame when something goes wrong. There’s no one else to make the tough decisions, no one else to help out when the going gets rough.
On the other hand, you’re the boss! You get to decide when you work, how you work, how much you work, where you work, and so on. And for many people, that freedom and flexibility far outweighs the fear of being in charge.
A great way to handle the difficulty in making all those decisions is getting a coach or a mentor so you don’t feel alone when the going gets tough.
3. You have to put yourself out there.
Another fear I hear all the time is the fear of putting yourself out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been chatting with someone who has started a new business – but they haven’t even told their family and friends about it!
Let’s not lie: It IS scary to put yourself out there! It’s scary for me to make videos, to write my blog at times – especially when sharing personal stuff, to pitch guest posts to big outlets like Business Insider and Huffington Post. In the beginning, it was even scary for me to get professional pictures taken to put up on my website.
But I can tell you from personal experience that it’s the best growth and learning opportunity ever. Someone once told me that starting a business is like going to therapy, and they’re right. You’ll be amazed at how many barriers you can bust through when you put your mind to it.
4. You are about to become crap at a lot of new things.
The number four fear I hear from clients all the time is that they’ll be crap at whatever new thing it is they have to learn. They’re afraid of being a crap web designer, or a crap writer, or a crap speaker – or whatever it is.
And yes: they probably will be – to start off with. But what would you say to a child who says, “I’m not going to ever ride a bike because I’m no good at it,”? You’d tell them – OF COURSE you’re no good at it! You’re just starting to learn. BUT then you’ll become good and better still, you’ll become good at learning.
Nobody starts out good at something the first time they try it. But somehow we’ve all got it in our head, probably because we are high achievers, that we have to be geniuses at everything! Just keep trying.
5. Other people might have opinions about what you are doing.
And finally, it’s true: if you put yourself out there and take a stand on anything, there will be someone else who will have the opposing view. And they might even call you out on it. It might even be that a friend or family member has strong opinions about why you shouldn’t start a business (probably because they were too afraid to ever try it!).
Really, you have two options here. The first option is to just let them have their opinions. It’s like this wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt that Brené Brown uses in her book on vulnerability:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
Your second option is to take steps to shield yourself from the negativity. If you know great Uncle Harry is going to have Something To Say about it, just don’t tell him. I did this by not announcing my business until it was just an indisputable fact. Even incredibly successful business people do this. Marie Forleo has talked about how she has an assistant who goes through all her email – because she chooses not to even let the hate mail into her life. I think that’s a powerful statement of her own confidence in her worth.
So, back to you: what’s your biggest fear about starting a business? Name it! Call it out in the comments below and let’s see if together we can’t find a way to turn that big negative into an equally big positive.