Before we begin, let's make one thing clear: starting your own business is scary. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're lying or at the very least misguided. Choosing to go your own way takes guts. If it didn't, everyone would be an entrepreneur.
Now that we've got that out of the way, it's time to talk about fear. Not just the fear of failure that comes with the launch of every new business, but the specific fears that all entrepreneurs face at some point.
Fears about money. Are you making enough?
Fears about your employees. Are they the right fit?
Fears about the economy. How can you stay ahead of the curve?
This article will discuss these and other common fears every entrepreneur must face and some of the ways to manage them, because you totally can manage them. You're the boss, remember?
1. Fear That You Won't Make Any Money
This is a big one, especially if you're leaving the steady paycheck of a full-time job to go all in on your business. If you start to feel this worry, just remember why you started your business in the first place. Most entrepreneurs aren't looking for a get rich quick scheme. They're either extremely passionate about their work, or they want to be independent. Often, it's a bit of both.
When it comes to the money, the fear is more about uncertainty than anything else. Why isn't it working and what can you do to change? This is where a business plan is essential. As long as you've done your research, understand your market, and have financial discipline, you can get through a few lean months.
Trust your product and make whatever tweaks you need to see positive momentum. The more you understand your finances, the more likely you are to remain calm and make the right decisions to get you back to profitability.
It's important that you don't get discouraged. As Katie Raquel of Katie's Coldpress explains, "I try to stay positive and not to feel bad when I fail in little ways. And not to take those failures to mean more than they are, which are just little challenges and little learning experiences."
2. Fear That You'll Hire the Wrong People
When you hire your first employee it can feel a little like giving your child to a stranger. Nobody loves this business like you do, so how can you trust that they'll take good care of it? One way to counter this fear is to think about the alternative: you working by yourself all day, every day, for the rest of your life.
It's a sobering thought, but one that bears repeating. Your business may feel like your baby, but it's not going to grow without some help. And if you don't find a way to give yourself some time off, you risk burning out and taking the business down with you.
If your business is going to succeed, you're going to need to hire (and fire) many employees along the way. Take your time and interview several candidates for the position. Find a person that not only can do the job, but who shares your vision for the business. If you're really concerned, consider a temp-to-hire arrangement, where you can give a potential employee a trial period before hiring them full-time.
3. Fear That the Economy Will Change
This is an easy fear to get over, because it will happen whether you like it or not. The economy is constantly changing in ways big and small. From regulatory changes to stock market dips, your business will inevitably be impacted by the broader economy. So what do you do?
You could spend every day reading the Wall Street Journal and binge watching CNBC to try and predict the latest economic indicators, or you could focus on what you actually can control: your business.
It's good to pay attention to what's happening in the world, but it's more important to pay attention to what's happening with your site traffic, your product inventory, or your customer feedback. Work on making your business as strong as it can be so that when an untimely shift in the market happens, you're ready.
4. Fear That You'll Lose Your Passion
Starting your own business is scary, but also thrilling, because for most entrepreneurs it means you're finally pursuing your passion. However, your passion today may not be your passion in five years. It's entirely possible that you will fall out of love with your business someday, but should that stop you from starting one in the first place? Of course not.
The key to overcoming this fear is simply reminding yourself that if you were brave enough to start your own business once, you're brave enough to do it again. When you're the boss, you control your own destiny. Nothing is permanent. If you feel like you're starting to lose your passion, maybe it's your mind and body telling you to take some time to relax. Sometimes taking a step away is the best way to find out what really matters.
5. Fear That People Will Think You're Crazy
There will be plenty of people that will discourage you from pursuing your dreams of entrepreneurship. Some will be haters, pure and simple. But others, including friends and family, will just be trying to protect you. The truth is that people's perception of your decision to start a business has very little to do with whether your business will be successful.
Your Aunt Sheryl might think you're insane to become a photographer, but if people are willing to pay you money to take their picture, guess what? You're a professional photographer.
Focus on pleasing the people that matter — your customers — and trust in yourself. If it doesn't succeed, it doesn't mean you're a failure or that your aunt was right. It just means you haven't found the right idea yet.
When you start to doubt your own sanity, turn to a resource like the Internet or a local small business group to connect with some of your entrepreneurial peers. You'll find that you are not alone in wanting to do something on your terms. In fact, you're in great company.