Updated: Apr 20
Fear causes procrastination, avoidance behavior, overwhelm and inaction. Yet it’s something that everyone experiences in business.
Having the ability to be aware of fears and conquer them, however, is the only path to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I like to think of it as a ride on the entrepreneurial roller coaster — just like life, there are bound to be things that come up and things that bring you down.
1. Fear of failure
Fear of failure is one of the most commonly experienced fears. It’s the thing that keeps us on the sidelines, wanting to play the game before we have the guts to jump on in.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, between 29.66 percent to 61.6 percent of people experience this fear — so you’re definitely not alone in this respect. When faced with this fear, I find it helpful to ask myself — what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Often, we’re guilty of building up unreal scenarios in our head and amplifying a problem that doesn’t yet exist — all because of fear. As Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company said:
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
2. Fear of taking risks
You have to take risks in order to be successful and continually move your business to the next level – but that doesn’t mean doing so is easy.
In my experience, I’ve found that gathering as much information as possible by crunching numbers and doing my research helps me move beyond this fear. When it comes down to it, there’s never really is any certainty in life; everything we do is a calculated risk. And when you take the time to crunch the numbers, all of that anxiety begins to feel much more like a plan than a fear.
3. Fear of falling prey to the fears
Sounds crazy, right? Being afraid of fear itself? Research shows that one of the things that sets entrepreneurs apart from others is their incredible ability to be able to manage fear.
The study also highlights one particular skill – their ability to confront things. If fear does comes up, don’t ignore it. Instead, face it head on and find ways to manage and overcome it.
4. Fear of being mediocre
As an entrepreneur, aiming for excellence is always my goal. I know mediocrity won’t cut it, but that doesn’t stop me from being afraid of falling short.
To keep you on your toes and to keep your business growing, Michael Seaver, Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst, proposes asking yourself a range of questions, including:
What percentage of your day are you able to use your strengths?
Are you deemed a subject-matter expert at what you do?
Does life feel like it is passing you by?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Instead, use them to determine whether you’re on that path towards excellence, or if you’re at risk of coming up mediocre.
The journey to excellence is marked by your ability to always be striving towards growth — both personally and professionally — and to always be thinking, how can I (or my business) be the very best it can be? These questions will help.
At the very core of every entrepreneur is the ability to be creative, and to have that creation — your business — become a living, breathing thing that supports you and your visions on a personal (and financial) level.
To come up with ideas, to brainstorm ways around obstacles, and to keep visualizing and manifesting your life to the next level and beyond – that’s what makes the heart and soul of an entrepreneur beat. Which is why it’s no surprise that the fear of losing that heart and soul feels a lot like losing life itself.
Once you get sailing on your entrepreneurial journey, the thought of having to go back and work in a traditional job can seem crushing. But what will happen if you lose the creativity you’ve staked your business on?
It’s a valid fear, which is why I’ve found that you have to continually foster creativity by engaging in other activities that inspire you outside of your business. It sounds too easy to be true, but managing this fear can be something as simple as taking an outdoor walk in nature and creating space to allow yourself to recharge.
6. Fear of acceptance
We live in a world where we’re constantly judged by others — so, naturally, we all fear being accepted (or, more appropriately, being left out.) But if we’d dig just a little bit deeper, we’d discover that everything we do in business is an inside job — and by that, I mean having acceptance and confidence in yourself and your own abilities.
The more you invest in your own abilities and skills, the better you feel from the inside out – and the more confidence you’ll have to forge your way forward and grow your business.
7. Fear of financial woes
Whether you’re just starting out or trying to move to the next level, juggling finances is always going to be a challenge and concern — a fear that arises that can make you apprehensive about the key decisions you have to make as an entrepreneur.
What I’ve found helps — and what others agree on — is the need to take control of your finances and self-educate on money matters. That way, you’ll always feel like you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your business. The repercussions of failing to do so: financial ignorance is one of the main reasons eight out of ten businesses fail in the first 18 months of business. Getting a good hold of your own financial know-how, and looking out for fears that do arise, does help you ride the entrepreneurial wave a hell of a lot easier.