Everyone in business experiences fears. Fear keeps people in jobs they hate, and it keeps them from following their dreams and opening their own businesses. Given the Bureau of Labour Statistics estimate that 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first four years, it’s no wonder people are scared. Moreover, when you’re the one in charge, there’s a lot at stake, and you can feel that it’s all on your shoulders. It’s enough to make you run the other way.
But entrepreneurs can’t afford to be paralyzed by fear.
In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, South Africa’s iconic revolutionary and subsequent president, Nelson Mandela, wrote, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Successful entrepreneurs know how to move past their fear and change their mindset. Here are five fears all entrepreneurs must conquer:
- Fear of failure
In The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho wrote, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
No one wants to fail. But in business, there will definitely be times that you do — and you have to be OK with that. All entrepreneurs experience failure, but they also learn from it and find meaning in it.
Still, what if? We often build up negative scenarios in our heads of the worst possible outcomes. These keep you on the sidelines, afraid to jump in the game. Yet you can’t worry about what might happen. You have to focus on your possible success instead.
- Fear of a lack of focus
When you’re running your own business, there’s no one to hold you accountable but yourself. You may even have others dependent on you to keep them on track. Being an entrepreneur requires a laser focus on your goals and on each task at hand.
Without a set work schedule, you’ll find it easy to spend more time watching Netflix than working. But entrepreneurs must be disciplined if they want to be successful. That means having a plan and organizing your time wisely.
To be successful, you can’t let one minute go to waste. You must schedule and plan to ensure work gets done in a timely manner. But you also need to make time for your personal life and cultivate a healthy work-life balance.
- Fear of a loss of creativity
Entrepreneurs depend on their ideas. Their creativity and vision are what drives their business. Without it, they have nothing.
On the Virgin website, founder Richard Branson has written, “There is no substitute for innovation. Original, revolutionary ideas will always rise to the top.”
To foster your own creativity, make time to engage in creative activities. Inspiration can come from anywhere, whether it’s a serious brainstorming session or just a walk in the park. Either way, you need to continually engage your mind in a way that makes space for creativity.
- Fear of risk
When you start your own business, there is always some degree of risk. You’re probably staking all of your savings on your idea and investing all of your time. But success doesn’t come without risk.
And the best entrepreneurs don’t let those risks scare them off from taking a chance. Instead, they focus on the positive — the possible results they might see.
On Twitter, the eminent entrepreneur and author Robert Kiyosaki has written, “Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward.”
If you’re struggling to take a leap of faith, find a way to make yourself more comfortable with the situation. Do your research, crunch the numbers and get the facts you need to make your decision easier.
- Fear of financial instability
As an entrepreneur, you’re no longer reliant on a steady paycheck and a full-time job. You may have even invested some of your savings into your business. Plus, you’re now in complete charge of your business’s finances. That pressure can make anyone uneasy.
But, if you’re staying in a dead-end job because you’re scared of falling into insolvency, you’re not going to move beyond mediocrity. By taking a chance on a potentially financially unstable situation, you make room for huge growth and great success.
In an interview with Entrepreneur, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh said, “Chase the vision, not the money. Passion will get you through the tough times, rub off on employees and have a ripple effect on customers, suppliers and business partners.”
Hsieh was right: If money is your main concern, you’ll never find success. You need to focus on your work, not on how much money your business will earn — and you need to move beyond the fear.