I Want to Start My Own Business – But I’m Too Terrified to Begin
“Entrepreneurship is throwing yourself off a cliff and assembling the plane on the way down.” – Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn.
Starting a business comes with endless fear. How do I begin? What if I fail? What if they judge me? Will I look stupid? Is my idea any good?
Here are our tips on breaking through the fear when starting a business.
Fearlessness VS Courage
People look to me all the time and ask, “Nick, how did you get so fearless?” I’m not fearless. I’m courageous. I’ve started companies with uncertainty, given keynote speeches to a room of 20 people while I’m shaking, began mentoring when I wasn’t sure if anyone would listen, invested in completely unknown territory, wrote a book when I’d never written anything longer than an email, and sold companies without knowing what I would do next. I’ve been completely terrified all my life and never let it stop me from doing what I wanted to do. But I do these things because I have courage. I’m more scared about not achieving my goals and dreams than failing – there is fear involved but I view it from a different angle.
Where Does Courage Come From?
You have to know what you’re working towards. You have to want to get there so badly that you’re willing to jump onto a moving train at a thousand miles an hour, with nothing more than an idea up your sleeve. If you don’t have a destination in mind, and you don’t have a damn good reason for getting there, you won’t ever jump aboard that train. Dig deep – where are you going and why do you want to get there?
It Has to Be Bigger Than You.
If you have something to say, in way that’s never been said before. If you want to stand up for all the people who don’t have a voice. If you have a product that is going to change lives. If you want to change the way things have always been done. Then it’s time to start your business.
If you are doing this for recognition or money, go back to the drawing board. Once you find the motivation that is bigger than yourself, you’ll be amazed at the COURAGE you find within to make it happen.
Entrepreneurship is in Your DNA.
The DNA of a true entrepreneur is defined by a few factors.
- Entrepreneurs find white space, create new categories, or take something that exists, and they do it better.
- They don’t make excuses.
- They roll up their sleeves and commit to hard work.
- They act quickly on a combination of instinct, knowledge and experience.
- They reframe stress and fear as excitement.
- They are in it for the marathon, and don’t expect an overnight success.
- They believe in their product or service more than anything or anyone.
- They take advice from the right people.
- They see opportunities where others don’t.
- They want to build BIG businesses; they don’t go into business thinking, “I want this to be a small business.”
Only you know if you’re an entrepreneur at heart. Maybe you’re not and that’s ok. But you need to determine that now, before you dive in.
Get Comfortable with Discomfort.
It’s important to always be challenging yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone. This could be having a cold shower, swimming in winter, jumping out of an airplane or going for a run. It could mean meeting new people, taking an online course, selling, applying for a new job or networking. This training ground of placing yourself outside your comfort zone puts you in good stead for business ownership, which is a constant rollercoaster!
Learn on the Job.
Get paid to learn on the job. If you’re currently in someone else’s organisation, now is the perfect time to learn. Look at what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong. How have they built this company? Take this real-life knowledge with you. Learn from their mistakes and learn from your own. Write down everything you learn and be a student in life.
Always Ask “Why?”
Due to an innate curiosity, entrepreneurs see things around the corner that others don’t. They constantly ask questions and challenge the way things have always been done. Take the initiative to think bigger than the conversation at hand. By asking questions, you’re putting yourself in a position to learn, and by way of learning you are growing. When you’re growing, your company grows. Learning never ends; it’s a process and a life experience you should enjoy. If you enjoy learning, then you have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Unravel the Fear.
Currently, you may be telling yourself, “I’m too scared to start a business.” Compartmentalising that fear is the first step to overcoming it. What’s really scaring you? Whether it’s making samples, finding suppliers, managing money, hiring staff or looking ridiculous in front of your peers, unearth the real fear. Write it down and then conjure a plan to overcome it. In one year, you will be surprised at how insignificant it seems from your new perspective. Label it, understand it, draft it – only then will you discover the solution to surmount it.
Regret Hurts More Than Failure.
If nothing else drives you, then let it be this: regret hurts more than failure. I truly believe it is better to do something that you love and fail than to wonder for the rest of your life what might have happened, if you had you only taken a leap of faith. How many lives could have been changed? What would your own life look like? For me, I cannot live with the idea of being age 80 and wondering, what if? For you, only you can decide whether you can live with the ‘what if’. If you’re a true entrepreneur, then the ‘what if’ makes you feel far more anxious than the fear of starting a business ever will.
For me, it’s so important to have people in my life who propel me forward. When starting a business, I’ll often bring on a business partner. We will have weekly meetings and create weekly goals. Staying accountable to my business partner is such a huge driver. I would never turn up to one of these meetings without having achieved my weekly goals. If you don’t have a business partner, discover who that person is in your life; someone to whom you feel accountable. They may not even realise they are in that role, but the important thing is, you do.
Take That First Step
Just begin. Right now. Purchase your domain name, create a logo, set up an Instagram handle, make a prototype, build awareness. One step at a time, your business will unfold. Give yourself a deadline for launch and make it happen.