Starting up a new business is like sailing off on a new adventure. A lot of your future is unknown, and there are trials and errors and of course a number of fears to deal with. Apart from the unknown and the errors, fear is something we can actually deal with.
Often with the help of Neuro-Linguistic Programming or other brain rewiring techniques we can turn our fears around and move on fearlessly. Identifying and facing your fears means you’re half way to overcoming them. Here is a list of the most common fears many people go through. If you can identify any of these, start working on them now.
- Fear of success. Susanne Babbel, Ph.D., M.F.T. in Somatic Psychology, wrote that many of us have been conditioned to believe that the road to success involves risks such as "getting one's hopes up" - which threatens to lead to disappointment. As Hugh MacLeod pointed out, success is more complex than failure, which makes it scary. Achieving success (whatever definition you give it) means dealing with uncertainty.
- Fear of failure. As Melanie Miller, a business coach, says, if anyone criticises your product or service you will die a little inside. This is very similar to start-up businesses never really becoming big as they are scared of failure.
- Fear of rejection. Similar to failing, even a small rejection can hurt. You feel like you have been rejected, says Melanie, if someone says no to purchasing your product or service because even though they are saying “no to a product or service” you are hearing “they don’t like me”, “they think I am not good enough”, “I didn’t do enough”, “I am not enough”. Entrepreneurs know that there are thousands of reasons why someone might not buy and it has very little to do with their own personality.
- Fear of stepping out of your comfort zone. No doubt starting your own business is not a common routine, which means leaving your comfort zone. Our comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary, which gives us a sense of security. Although the comfort zone is an artificial boundary, there’s plenty of research and science to back up its existence and effects on human performance.
- Fear of having to learn so many new skills at once. According to Maite Barón, the author of the award-winning book ‘Corporate Escape: the Rise of the New Entrepreneur’, when you go into business you will have to acquire a range of skills that you most likely don’t already have. If you don’t see it as an exciting challenge, becoming an entrepreneur will seem like an uphill struggle.
- Fear of doing the wrong thing. Nobody likes to get things wrong, but it happens, and everyone in business makes mistakes from time to time. Virtually all successful business people have had failures, things have gone wrong, and they’ve been left to pick up the pieces. The secret is, says Maite, a reputable entrepreneur coach, to develop resilience and to rebound.
- Fear of what others will think. It’s always good to have the support of others when trying anything new. So if others think that going into business is a foolish idea, that’s not helpful.
- Fear of unfinished goods. Mark Sargent, an information technology and services’ account manager, claims that one of the biggest fears that start-ups face is that their product is not 100% ready for the market. Therefore, they hold off that little longer for release. A new product doesn't need to be perfect to be out there, it simply needs to be out.
- Fear of the better other. Managing Director from Hello Social - a digital marketing agency - Max Doyle raised another curious issue some new business owners face at the beginning of their journey. He talked about a fear of other people being better at what they do or possessing more when starting up. Max’s biggest fears were around other people having a better pitch, better office or more experienced staff than he had when he was starting up.
- Fear of the wrong time. Although fairly unreasonable, many people are worried about getting into business at the wrong time. There are many environmental factors including politics and economy which make people hesitant. People are incredibly good at reasoning their decisions, therefore you can often hear someone saying “this is just not the right time to go into business”. However, as a Chinese proverb says, ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is today'.
The fear associated with starting a business is not irrational like a phobia. In fact, it is very rational. Thoughts many of us go through such as “What if I lose all my money?” or “What if my family won’t support me?” or “What if this is a dead idea?” can put a stop to the development of even the best business ideas. In fact, this is exactly why many great ideas never take off.
The most successful entrepreneurs in the world are not afraid to take a risk. However they are not irrational. They believe their idea will work. Getting the right amount of confidence and a top notch business plan are the secrets of fearless business starters.