Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. No matter how well-educated, well-funded, or well prepared – the entrepreneurial journey will have its hurdle. And being ready for these challenges is crucial in achieving the success you strive for. The surprising thing about many obstacles faced by those starting a business, however, they begin in your mind. Fear can be debilitating when it comes to growing a business to its full potential. Many an entrepreneur has given up purely because they don’t have enough self-belief to work passed the fears which naturally arise as part of a new business story.
Here's a look at 6 of the most common fears which restrict start-up success, and how you can overcome them. Whether you’re currently stuck in procrastination mode due to these exact anxieties, or your toying with the idea of starting a business and want to prepare yourself for what’s to come – awareness of these shared anxieties is sure to strengthen your business outlook:
Imagine putting a halt to your entrepreneurial vision before it’s even started purely because you were concerned about experiencing the worst case scenario – your business failing. Many fully-capable business dreamers decide never to take a single step towards starting a company due to a devastating fear that everything will go wrong. A risk some are simply not willing to take.
Tragically, a fear of failure is the biggest blockage between many who desperately wish they could create something for themselves and the true rewards which could be theirs. On the outside, these are people who have everything it takes – talented, hard-working, intelligent – but on the inside, they have the one thing which will see their business fail quicker than anything else – an unwillingness to work passed their anxieties and keep going anyway.
Nobody wants to see their business crash and burn when they’ve poured their heart (and hard earned cash) into a start-up. But fear of this happening is inescapable and is experienced by successful entrepreneurs at all stages of their business. There is no way to completely avoid doubts about whether things will work out… but there are many ways to manage your fears around failure and to carry out and have phenomenal success despite them.
Begin by defining success on your own terms. On first thought, failure might be never making a profit. Or having fleeting business recognition not to make the impact you really desire. But how would it feel to never actually give things a try and attempt to achieve the business goals you’ve set for yourself? Success may mean starting the adventure open to you, and enjoying the ride!
Next, analyse what it is you're afraid of happening and look at all the possible outcomes of the worst case scenario. The unknown of what failure would bring can be the most terrifying of it all. Reduce this anxiety by planning in advance what you would do next. What would you try before you had to ‘quit’ your business? What support would be open to you?
It’s hard to ever really get to grips with our own power uniqueness. We all experience niggling voices in the back of our heads which tell us we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously, or that we’re not good enough at what we do to make a success of ourselves. If you’re lucky, these voices won’t arise often. But for many the fear of inadequacy is real and inescapable – or so they think.
Imposter syndrome is a recognised psychological phenomenon where high-achieving individuals, in particular, cannot recognise their accomplishments and there for live in ongoing fear they are going to be ‘caught out’ for being a fraud (even though they have legitimately achieved their, sometimes extreme, levels of success). As with a fear of failing, doubting yourself is a natural part of being an entrepreneur which has to be managed.
Acknowledging that everyone has feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy will revolutionise your approach to building your business. As adults, we are falsely led to believe that everyone else has their stuff together – confident, collected, and in control of what they’re doing with their life. In reality, we all struggle with fears and confusion in business, and otherwise, and it’s how we deal with these feelings that matter.
You may be able to build your confidence simply by working on positive thinking – hearing those negative voices and consciously telling yourself more positive statements instead – but having the right qualifications, or support, can also help build that sense of legitimacy.
When you’re anxious about what others think about you, which most of us are, the fear of being laughed at is a big one. Nobody wants to be the laughing stock of their friends and family – though you’d hope they were the people who would do nothing but encourage you. Fear of humiliation comes hand in hand with fear of failure – in fact, it’s one step worse. To be fearful of embarrassing yourself is to be fearful of failing and then fearful of how that failure will land you as the butt of the joke!
The only real way to push passed this fear is to keep going and see that when it comes to adverse reactions, laughter is not something you’ll be hearing much of. Spiteful comments, questions which scrutinise your choices – perhaps – but people laughing at you is doubtful. Most people secretly admire (or are envious of) those who have the courage to start their own business and, having never done so themselves, are not well placed to laugh in your face.
Those who have been-there-done-that will understand your journey and are highly unlikely to find your business stumbles an embarrassment… more of a rite of passage.
If you’ve grown up around poverty, the experience of being in lack is one which can shape your future. To step away from the security of a well-paid job is feels too ludicrous for some, as fears of being without swoop in. Others won’t push themselves as far as they can in business because the loss of short term success is too much to risk in the pursuit of growth.
The great thing about being an entrepreneur today is that you can dramatically reduce the financial risks which you may have faced previously. Crowdfunding is one such way to do that. No longer do you have to invest huge amounts of your own without finding out whether people have an interest in what you offer. Crowdfunding allows you to build your funds while you get support from those who will eventually pay for your products and services – meaning your confidence grows as your funding does.
If you are struggling with the thought of running out of cash, it’s time to acknowledge you have a scarcity mindset, and deal with it. You need to open yourself up to the success you truly desire by realising there’s no limit to what you ‘deserve’ to achieve. Opening yourself up to more doesn’t need to come hand-in-hand with losing what you already have.
If you’re not yet ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign, there are others steps you can take to build your financial confidence. Self-educate yourself in money mindset, look at where your issues around scarcity were founded, and do as much research into your target market and what they need as possible – to increase your likelihood of making a profit as soon as possible.
This one is another factor in fear of failure, but far beyond business failure, some entrepreneurs fear they risk losing everything by starting a business – including their close relationships. First, there’s the idea that without a stable career, a good income, and predictable hours… you’ll be considered a total loser, or so unreliable in other areas of life you’ll be a pain to be connected to. Then, there’s the notion that if you do succeed, friends and family will feel disconnected and un-relatable – and want less to do with you then too.
Remember the saying: ‘those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind’. People who are worth being in your life will be therefore you no matter what, and offer the guidance and direction you need if you are being a pain! Others may come and go, but they weren’t real friends anyway.
Change is daunting. Even positive change. There’s a comfort in staying in situations that are comfortable to us… even if they’re not what we really hope for from life. It sounds ridiculous to have a fear of achieving all you set out to (and more) but it’s a real obstacle for many entrepreneurs with big ambitions. It particularly plagues people who are on the edge of true independence and success, stemming from that nagging sense of inadequacy again. Or that all you dream of won’t be what you hoped.
Perhaps you are afraid of how you will be perceived when you have reached a certain level of success?
Wherever this fear stems from, it can be just as much of as obstacle as a fear of failing. Signs include: feeling guilty for the success you have, self-sabotaging your goals, feeling like you don’t deserve the success you enjoy, not wanting to share your achievements with people.
Fear of growth is another aspect of fearing success. Growing your business can feel like a daunting prospect and one which will lead to instability, loss of control, and your brand losing its values. Again, remember it doesn’t to be this way – always weigh up the pros and cons of making business shaping decisions so you can evaluate whether you should be fearful or not.
If you’re afraid of how your life might change when you start to have success with your business, remember that the wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is: you are in control. You can decide how your life changes, and what you do with new found freedom, finances, and power.
Success is a blessing which should be treasured and used wisely. Make a promise to yourself that this is how you will treat positive changes in your life and find confidence in the commitment you make to yourself. Don’t get caught up in any illusion that successful people have a habit of forgetting where they come from or that they always treat people poorly on the way to the top. There are many hugely successful people in the world who are grounded, kind, and use their success to do more and more good in the world. You can be one of those people too!
If these fears don’t put you off creating the business you dream of, you stand a great chance of reaching your goals! A huge part of success is having the right mindset and being ready to learn, adapt, and grow to conquer your fears – rather than running from them. There’s no fear that can’t be pushed passed, however debilitating it feels at the time.
When it comes to securing the funding you need to launch your business, or take it to the next stage, LeoCrowd is here to support your ambitions and shake off any financial fears. Crowdfunding allows you to secure the funds you need without getting into debt or giving up company control, allowing you to get attention for your products/services at the same time as gaining much-needed finances.
Leave a comment to share how you’ve overcome your own fears on the road to start-up success or start your crowdfunding project today and create the funds you need now!