Fear one of the strongest forces in the world. The opposite of fear is faith. For so many people, fear has taken up their abode, driven their lives and helped them make important decisions. Worst of all, or rather best of all…but rather sadly; many have also started businesses. Yes! This sounds strange however, if you look closely you’ll notice that many have started businesses out of fear. Mostly being led by the fear of failure.
Have you ever asked yourself, “ What if I don’t make it in life?” Most of us have asked ourselves this question. Probably in a twisted perspective. If you started business springing from this very question, you are going to be led by a very ruthless master, one who will not allow you to sleep. A master who will not allow you to even enjoy the money you will earn. All because of the fear to fail. The fear that your business might fail some day. The fear that one day, the popular business man might come to naught. Eventually, if you build a successful business, people will applaud you for what they will be seeing: A successful business. They will however not see the man who is daily consumed by this fear. A man who is dying daily from heart attacks and related diseases, all because of fear, that brings in constant worry, which is a true killer.
My take on this…
I always like to think that an entrepreneur should be a man/woman who is in control of their entire life and not just their money. That’s why personal development is very important. Good care should be taken for the person behind the dream empire you are building. Good care should include health and all other important aspects of life. This morning, i was reading Anik Singal’s book ESCAPE where Daymond John gave the foreword. Daymond John mentioned something that caught my eye, he said that as a shark, when he is reviewing pitches inside or outside the tank, his main focus is not usually on the business, but the person behind the business. That’s precisely it!
I thought we are talking about fear! So where does personal development come in?
Fear thrives in a place where there is little or less knowledge.
“People fear what they don’t understand…” – Andrew Smith
This means care should be taken to educate the man/ woman behind the dream. With good education, many fears will vanish. That’s all included in personal development you see! As an entrepreneur, you should know that none of the problems you are facing or will ever face, is unique to you. Many people have passed through the same things. Again, to re-emphasize, with good knowledge, you will always have answers. Later,we will discuss some of the solutions to the common fears entreprenuers face.
According to pshychology, some level of fear is also necessary for some reasons. I will not go into that today as I am fully focused on business.
Common fears entrepreneurs face.
- The fear of failure. There is nothing as bad as being deriven by this kind. Yes, you might build a successful business, but will all be for the wrong reason: the fear to fail.
- The fear to be rejected. Many fear to be rejected, some times because they feel that they don’t know enough or look good enough. One thing will forever be sure: Many successful entreprenuers are not smarter than you are. Infact, most of them don’t look better than you do.
- The fear of losing control. Most entreprenuers fear that one day their business might just go on a skid. This normally springs up from businesses that were built out of the Fear of failure. Have faith in the business you are building. You cannot come so far just to throw in the towel. Focus on building a business that can survive with or without you. That’s exactly how systems are built. There is a difference between building a system and being self employed. To be self employed is to build yourself a job, a very difficult job. It may not survive if you are away for too long. However, building a business is different, your focus should be on building a system that can make money while you sleep. So there is no need to be in control anyway.
The fear of starting.
“The cemetery is the richest place, because so many ideas are buried in there…” – Miles Munroe. How true is this?
The fear of starting is another pathetic one. That’s the reason many people are buried with life changing ideas.
I always ask my friends this one question – “You keep looking for jobs, what if your employer never started that business? Would you still have a job?”
- The fear of trying. Many entrepreneurs are afraid of trying. By trying I mean anything like a new system, anew business model, anew marketing channel…
- The fear to ask for help. This is rather a very limiting fear because as an entrepreneur if you are looking to scale your business, you have to admit to the fact that you need help when do need it. If you do need help, then go for it. Some entrepreneurs always care about how others will think less of them when they ask for help.
- The fear to say no. Some entrepreneurs fear to say no, especially when dealing with acquaintances and close family relatives. I have written an article on learning to say no. You must learn that every time you say yes, you are most probably saying no to yourself.
- The fear and care about what others are thinking. This seems so minute but gets many entrepreneurs obsessed. As an entrepreneur, you must note that your dream is unique and will always be strange to others. There is almost no need to discuss your dream with others because if you do, you shouldn’t expect a positive word. Knowing this, you can begin to live carefree about what they might be thinking.
How to overcome the common fears entrepreneurs face.
1. Read Read Read
As I mentioned earlier, fear thrives in a place where there is little or less knowledge. Reading will show you how other successful entrepreneurs went about the same problems you are facing or those you will face. This will help you deal with those like the fear of starting, the fear of failure and others we could have left out. You can read my article on why entrepreneurs must read.
2. Listening to podcasts.
Throughout my start-ups, I have discovered that fear could mount pressure on you if you work alone especially in the start. Podcasts on inspiring subjects of your interest will definitely help to alleviate this. They will also help you to receive education which is very good for you as an entrepreneur. You can choose to listen to one podcast a day like I do, especially when driving.
3. Expect to make mistakes.
This will help you avoid the shock of making mistakes in the first place. It will also help you to avoid being overwhelmed which can cause burn-out and then lead to weeks and months of less or no work at all. This will help you with the fear of failure and the fear of trying.
Remember, entrepreneurs make mistakes and learn from them. Employees work hard to be perfect.
4. You are not alone!
This is one very important point every entrepreneur ought to remember. Always look for help and don’t be afraid to ask. One other key point we will see later on is doing what you fear. It’s another solution to counter attack fear. So if you fear asking for help, you better go on to ask for it. Tim Ferris calls it fear setting which is the path to stoicism.
Since the start up can be alonely place, try attending local business mettings and seminars in your field. It will help with connections and a lot of answers.
5. Focus on growth.
The biggest reason for fear in business is that we focus so much on the fear of failure rather than growth its self. I think the main focus of a business should first of all growth…rather than “my house might be taken if my business doesn’t work”.
6. Positive affirmations will definitely help.
I always do this as part of my morning ritual. I believe its important for entrepreneurs to have a morning ritual. Something that you always do when you are up early in the morning. You can write down some 10-15 affirmations that you use every day.
Examples of affirmations;
- I can grow my business and I have what it takes.
- I am smart enough to make great progress.
- The mistakes of yesterday don’t define me. I choose to learn from them.
- I will not give up, but I will keep trying.
This looks so simple but will help you calm the storms of fear raging in and around you.
7. Separate yourself from the business.
Always ask yourself, “If my business doesn’t work-out, will I lose my life?” If the answer is no, then you have no business worrying at all. Always recognise that you will still have so many other ideas if this doesn’t work. This will help you with the fear of starting.
8. Start doing exactly what you fear.
You can start with baby steps. You will soon discover that it was all naught.
Can I get rid of fear completely?
This is rather a tricky question but most definitely I will say no. Fear will always show up especially in terms of important decision making. The most important thing is to practice some steps on how to slap it when it shows up. Guess what, the next time you have an important decision to make, If you have been reading a few books, you may quickly remember it’s something you read about before. The answer will pop up and the fear will run. That’s why it’s important to act quickly.