As an Entrepreneur, You Will Face Many Fears

As a new entrepreneur, we are often racked by fear and end up putting important steps off, or giving up too early. I know, as I have faced these fears in the past.

Here are 10 fears that entrepreneurs can face and how to deal with them. Four that I have experienced myself and six more that I have learned about from other entrepreneurs.

Fear is often called False Evidence Appearing Real I.e we think something bad is going to happen but it is unlikely as there is nothing pointing to that thing that we fear eventuating… or in my words fear could stand for Focus Everything At Reality. Don’t stress over what you think might happen, but be willing to learn, make mistakes, get up again and face your actual situation head on.

Entrepreneurs must take risks and do some things that they have never done before. Maybe even take steps that no one has taken before. When you are an employee, your boss and your company provides the product, the direction, the place it will be sold, the marketing and sets the prices – and also takes all the risks. You are paid for the hours you put in, so there need be no fear… unless you are not delivering what is expected of you… then you might fear being laid off one day.

When you are setting up a business on your own, wanting to become a successful entrepreneur, you will invest some capital (money) and put in a lot of your time before you see results. And yes, you will take risks… and all this can cause you stress and cause the blanket of fear to settle on your shoulders.

Entrepreneurs often have plenty of time, but not enough money, especially in the beginning – so lack of money can be a fear.

I spent 30 years as an employee in financial services and had few, if any fears. Granted I studied, worked hard and rose to the top and was CEO for the final 10 years of my career, but now that I am on the entrepreneurial path, I have faced a number of fears. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being in the wrong place, the wrong niche, at the wrong time, fear of maybe focussing on the wrong things… all these things, these fears, have rattled through my head from time to time.

Fear can lead to paralysis (I must admit here that I have been known to procrastinate at times), and so fear can invite us to look for reasons not to do what we know we need to do, in order to make progress.

Here are some of the fears that I have faced as I embarked on my journey from employee to entrepreneur.

1. What if I get no customers? When I was a restaurant owner, that was my biggest fear. I had the rent to pay, staff on duty, we had done all the prep and paid for all the provisions… but what if no-one came to my restaurant? Of course, this fear was often unwarranted, as we provided great value and offered a really friendly atmosphere, in a good location. But that fear was still there. In any enterprise, you will need customers, but if you follow through with a good product, good communication and great service, your customers will come.

2. What if I can’t feed my family? This is a follow on from the first fear. A new entrepreneur will often wonder what will happen if he or she doesn’t earn enough revenue to cover costs and leave something over for themselves. This is often the case in the early years, when the entrepreneur can’t pay themselves a decent wage from the enterprise as the business is in the early growth phase. In fact, the fear of not having enough capital to put into the business until it is up and established is often enough to cause one to give up. But a good system, that is followed consistently, will usually get you to a break-even and then a profitable point in the not-too-distant future. In the end, this lack of strong revenue growth led me to sell my restaurant, as the overheads were just too high for the level of revenue we received, thus leaving me with little for my efforts at the end of the day.

3. What if the worst happens? What can be worse than no customers and hence no money for the family? Well, some disaster could wreck the joint – I had some strong winds blow in my restaurant’s front wall to ceiling glass doors on two occasions – and could not open for a few days each time. But luckily I had insurance. Many times we think the worst and worry for no reason. So we need to stay positive, make allowances for if some disaster does strike, but not dwell on that fear.

4. Fear of what your family and friends will think. This is a big one when we go into a venture that we feel our family may disapprove of – oftentimes because they lack the knowledge. Network marketing is one such example and when I joined a network company in my early years, I tried not to talk to my family or friends about this, in case they would disapprove, or even laugh at me. But as I realised more and more that most successful businesses are done via building up networks of customers and suppliers, and marketing to them, I soon realised that this fear was baseless. In fact just the opposite – the bigger your network, the easier the marketing.

All these fears are there with many new business owners, but all have solutions. And one solution to these fears is to make sure you follow a good system, and that you have good and ongoing support, from a mentor if you are new to the industry.

But remember, with the risks that an entrepreneur must take, come opportunities. And it is these opportunities that will eventually lead you to that point of success, when you can stand back and say to yourself, “It was hard, it took longer than I planned, but it was fun, I made some great friends and WooHoo! I am now a successful entrepreneur.”

These next six fears have been shared with me by other entrepreneurs.

1. Not being clear on where to start – if you don’t know where to begin the journey, or when you feel you lack enough information to make a good go if it, then you will be more fearful of taking that first step, or even falter at the first hurdle and consider giving up. I’ve been there. If you follow a good system, with good leadership, this will help you clarify where you want to go, to understand your WHY, what you want to achieve and how best to do it. So spend some time with your mentor, before you start implementing your business plan, to make sure these things are clear in your mind, and that you know where you can go for answers.

2. Not having enough information – lack of knowledge, or information, is often the reason for our hesitancy and cause us to procrastinate. With the technology driven information era that we are in, as mentioned in my earlier article, we should never be short of information on what to do next. Google and YouTube are just two sources of valuable information that you can access to find a way out of your dilemma. And if you are in the right business, your leadership will be able to point you to training and information that others before you have proven will work.

3. Not being committed to your goal– This is a big fear for those who are working full time (an employee) but setting out on the entrepreneurial path on a part time basis. What if I can’t put in enough time, or get distracted by my job? If you want to be successful, you can’t just do the entrepreneur stuff now and then, when you have some spare time. Even when it is a part time business, or a side gig, as Mel calls it, you still need to make it ‘full time’ by focussing on it regularly and systematically. Even one or two hours of an evening, after dinner, can be enough to get a business established and growing consistently. Again, by following a good system and learning from those who have gone before you, together with your focus and commitment, you can create the value you are looking for.

4. Not taking the necessary action – This is a follow on from point 3, well, on all the points so far, as in the end, thinking, planning and strategising are not enough. You need to do something, take action, to move your enterprise along. Most of the problems in small businesses result from bad decisions (not enough thought as to the right steps) and poor execution (not doing the right thing well enough). It is often at this point that people freeze and the fear of failure paralyses them. “What if I do something wrong?” But remember, taking risks is all about learning from your mistakes. Many of today’s successful entrepreneurs have made many mistakes along the way. Again, by following a sound proven system, and doing what your leaders have done before you with good results, can increase your chance of success. So take action and consistently execute your plan.

5. Not having the right support – on occasions in my past I have tried to do things my way, pooh-poohing the advice of others. And these have often not worked out well. So, you will not only want to find some professional support for your venture, such as a bookkeeper and maybe a lawyer, but you will also need moral support, from family and team members. Team? Well, yes, oftentimes, there are opportunities to build a team around you who can help you with your new business venture. Involve these people in your mission and explain to them why you are doing what you have set out to do. And if you do find a good mentor, communicate with them regularly, as they are there to help you when you come across a hurdle, as you inevitably will.

6. Not having a back-up plan – things don’t always go to plan and so now and then, having an alternative approach will be useful. Don’t change your target, your goal or your destination, but often there may be a different route that you can take. So keep your destination the same, while having a number of ways that you can reach it.

WOW! with so many things to fear, you might well be wondering if it is all worth it. Well, as I mentioned a few times, having a good system and following it, together with strong leadership and mentoring, can reduce and even eliminate the fears that will arise from time to time. The system I am following has helped me address all 10 fears mentioned in this article.

I invite you to have a look at my system on my website – see below- and see how it can help you on your path to becoming a successful entrepreneur and also help to reduce or eliminate many of the fears you will face.

I would love to help you on your journey.