9 Ways To Overcome Entrepreneurial Fear
One of the biggest killers of business dreams is that unsettling feeling that you’re doing the wrong thing, that your business idea is terrible and your entrepreneurial dreams are going to waste your time and money. This entrepreneurial fear kills your business before you start – or worse yet – it doesn’t kill your idea, but relegates it to an unhelpful daydream.
In this article, I’m going to go over the ways I’ve dealt with entrepreneurial fear. There are also some random business tips scattered throughout.
Stack the Odds in Your Favour With EV Calculations
Most of the time, people suffer from entrepreneurial fear or doubt because they don’t know exactly what they’re doing – or, they don’t know whether what they plan to do is a good idea or not.
Every decision you make can be broken down into an equation – an expected value equation.
If you have a 20% chance of making one million dollars, then that idea is worth $200,000. (.2*100)
But you also have an 80% chance of losing $10,000. So that’s ($10,000*.8)
Is the risk of $10k for a potential loss of $80k worth more or less than the chance of earning $200k?
Promise Yourself You’re Going To Give It All You’ve Got
The above might seem a bit mathematical and abstract.
There’s something that will help you overcome lingering doubt and entrepreneurial fear that is no way esoteric though – promise yourself that you will do your best.
Most of us can hold our head held high if we give our best shot at something, even if we don’t succeed.
Also, most of us will achieve a lot more than we anticipate if we bear the responsibility of our decisions and own the results.
If you commit fully to a project, you’re less likely to let it fail than if it’s just “an idea.”
The Grass Isn’t Greener – Stick With What You Know
Don’t try and be a lifestyle coach one week and a YouTube celebrity the next.
You are a unique individual with a particular set of skills and life experiences. There will be things that you are good at and knowledgeable about.
Work out how to leverage those skills to make money, and don’t allow yourself to think, “What if I try this one different idea?”
Overcome Procrastination First
Most businesses fail not due to chance, but because the person running them didn’t do what it took to keep them running.
In a lot of cases, it’s a lack of knowledge. Luckily, you can gain knowledge.
But you have to be willing to put the hours in to learn. You also have to be willing to do the grunt work and the boring business stuff.
Procrastination is the big killer when it comes to productivity. If you can keep it at bay and learn to channel yourself into productive procrastination when you’re not going at full pelt, then you open up many hours in the day to work.
If you’re willing to put most of your waking hours into something, then not only will you erase entrepreneurial fear, but you will get a lot done.
Get Your First Clients Out Of The Way
Most new freelancers/business owners get a massive sense of fear the first time they put themselves out there.
- “What if I’m terrible?!”
- “How about if I get a 1-Star Review?”
- “What if the person never pays me or I get scammed?”
These things may happen to you. They may not.
The only way you’ll get over the fear of them happening is by getting those first few customers out of the way.
Then, when you’ve got a set of clients that pay you regularly, when things go wrong, they’ll be a blip on the radar as opposed to a massive juggernaut that destroys your mental state.
Get Out Of The “Bad Customer” Cycle
As an addendum to the above – bad customers inspire entrepreneurial fear.
When you have great customers who love your product or service, you’ll love your business. It sounds quaint, but having people email you to say, “Hey, I love your work” really makes you feel great.
Conversely, having a dick of a customer who always wants more, done faster and for less money will make you want to leave your business behind and go and live in the mountains somewhere.
If you want to overcome that problem, then you need to up your game, do business with better people, charge more and deliver more.
Build Gamification Into Your Routine
Gamification is the act of building little games out of your routines.
It’s great for productivity and clearer thinking in business, but it’s also great for removing fear and stress.
The reason is that if you think, “Gee… this client will pay my rent this month” you’re bound to be scared and anxious that the client will leave and you’ll be living under the nearest bridge.
If you think, “For every piece of writing I do I’ll give myself a chocolate biscuit” then you’ll get the same work done in a faster time with less stress.
You’ll keep the roof above your head for the cost of a packet of biscuits, and your nervous system will thank you.
Create a Modular Business
Something I like to do is think in terms of “modules.” I guess this is an extension of a couple of above points, but if you want to feel like your business is developing as opposed to spinning its wheels, then think of each service and product as part of a larger future-whole.
Say, for instance, you’re a freelance writer.
Your core service might be writing content for people’s websites.
You can extend your service by offering graphic design or landing page design to go with that core offering.
Then, after a few months you might notice all your customers want something else – stock photos or an email marketing course. So you spend a few weeks putting together a product. This is another new “module.”
At no point do these “value adding extras” ever impact on your ability to provide your core service, but they’ll make your business stronger over time.
Saving money for a rainy day is the best way to overcome entrepreneurial fear.
It’s also easy if you’re following the above steps, because you’ll be too busy having fun with your business to spend the money you’re making, and every time you do spend money, you’ll find that that makes your business more money in the long run anyway.
That said, save up a few months’ money; it might mean the difference between you quitting or investing more inn your business.
Having a savings fund for your business means that you’ll be able to pounce on opportunities or fix the holes in your business if they ever arise.
Final Thoughts On Entrepreneurial Fear
You’re never going to eliminate the fear of starting a business entirely. It’s a risky activity.
However, the above options are going to limit your entrepreneurial fear, make it manageable and even possibly make it into a positive as opposed to a negative.
It’s not a complete list though – it’s just what I’ve found works.
Drop your ideas below so we can get a comprehensive list going!