During my days working at corporate America I met a lot of people who dreamed of owning their business. They were thinking that they want to call the shots and to be their own boss, but reality is most people won’t take that step into becoming an entrepreneur. Why? The most common reason is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of losing their day job and not being able to have a stable income again, fear of disappointing their loved ones, you get the idea. I would know because I was one of those people who had a good paying stable job but always wanted to start my own business. It took me years to finally overcome the fear.
John Lee Dumas on his daily podcast EOFire makes a great point when he says most people have this fear that if they don’t succeed in their venture, one day they might end up under a bridge homeless sitting next to a fire roasting a rat. In reality that’s not the case because you will find a way to survive and provide for you family. Still, we all have that picture or something similar in our minds. Fear is a normal human instinct, but it shouldn’t prevent you from achieving your dreams.
How do you overcome fear and make the transition to a full time entrepreneur? Here are some steps which helped me in my journey:
- Honesty: Be honest with yourself. Is being an entrepreneur something you really want to do? Or is it one of those “I want what they have” when you read about successful entrepreneurs on the web? When it comes down to it are you willing to work harder than you’ve ever done before and put yourself in uncomfortable situations? For me it was selling. Going out and selling was not something I did easily, yet I had to push myself to do it because I knew it was essential to the success of our business. So, be honest with yourself.
- Company: Surround yourself with the right people, folks who are smart and ambitious, mentors that can advise you, business owners that have accomplished what you strive to do. For the longest time my only circle of acquaintances were employees. They were smart and ambitious people, but to get my mindset to think like a business owner I needed to change my environment. So I attended networking events for entrepreneurs and met with mentors. This will calm your fears down because these are people who are out there doing what you want to do. Not some headline from a news article, but rather real people who you can talk to and ask questions. Mentors are essential. If you don’t know of any mentors check out your local startup community or Small Business Administrator office in your city.
- Have a plan: Benjamin Franklinonce said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Your plan should include how much money you need to save before starting your venture. You should have at least one year of personal expenses saved up. Ask yourself how much funding do you need for your new business? Can you build a prototype and test it out? Can you build it yourself or outsource it? Meet with a lawyer and accountant to make sure all your legal and finances are in order before you take that leap.
- Knowledge is power: Try to learn as much as you can, by reading books, attending webinars and classes. One of the reasons fear exists is because of self-doubt. Things like “I don’t know how to start a company”, “I haven’t run a business before”, “I’m not an expert”, are all thoughts that go through our mind. Although these might be true, they are not a reason for you to fail because you can educate yourself. One thing I wished I had done before I started ezClocker is learn SEO and how to write blogs. It wasn’t until much later that I started and there is a lot to learn.
- Experience: Nothing beats experience so just go out and do something on the side no matter how small it is. There is so much you can read and learn from books and webinars, but not until you go out and do it that you learn the most. Some of that fear will start to fade. Create a prototype if you want to build a product, take a side job if you want to start a service company. Go out and meet customers, talk about your idea, get feedback.
Starting a business is hard but fear shouldn’t be an excuse for not trying. Are you trying to transition to being an entrepreneur? How are you overcoming your fears? Please share.
Author: Raya Khashab
Raya is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker. She is passionate about customers and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community and helping people achieve their dreams.