Starting your own business can easily end up being one of the most exciting times in your life. That said, even the most courageous among us will crumble under the pressure — unless we have a plan.
There’s just no getting around it: fear is going to seep into your mind from time to time. It’s not really that surprising when you stop and think about it. The expectations, the changes and the stress you’ll have to deal with…taking the leap into entrepreneurship might be the hardest decision you’ll ever make.
Still, if you’re serious about being an entrepreneur, you’ll need to learn how to manage those fears eventually. That’s the key word: manage. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 5 effective strategies and activities that can help you face your fears whenever they pop up.
1. Evaluate Your Beliefs
So, let’s say that you’ve started to doubt the viability of your business. Maybe someone or something has managed to convince you that your business strategy lacks integrity or that your business won’t have a chance in such a competitive marketplace.
At this point, most articles would encourage you to “shoot the messenger” and disregard their criticism as uneducated negativity.
While that might help make some potential entrepreneurs feel better about their situation, if you’ve got an analytical mind, that advice is useless. That’s the equivalent of telling someone to just “stop being scared”.
Instead, take their criticism as an opportunity to re-evaluate your business. Worst case scenario? They were right and now you can update your business strategy accordingly. Best case scenario? They were wrong–and you can prove it using case studies and market analysis.
No matter what happens, the lesson here is to find comfort in facts, not speculation. As a business owner, you’re going to deal with plenty of people who’ll want to give their two cents about your business. The key is to find comfort in your own research and data. Otherwise, you’ll end up feeling insecure every time someone asks “are you sure that’s a good idea?”
2. Do What You Love
There’s no way around it: running a business is going to be challenging. If it looks easy from the outside, that just means you’re not looking hard enough. So, since it’s going to be tough no matter what you pursue, you might as well pick something you’re passionate about.
It really is that simple. If the only reason you’re starting a business is for money, you’re probably going to burn out pretty quickly. What’s worse, you’ll start to worry that maybe you got into the wrong business. That kind of thinking going to negatively impact your business and your peace of mind.
The unspoken benefit of starting a business you’re passionate about is that, at the end of the day, you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. As minor as that might seem, that sense of satisfaction at the end of a workday will prove to you that you’ve made the right decision. More importantly, it’ll keep that pesky fear at bay.
3. Batch, Don’t Multitask
The gateway to fear and negative self-talk is constant stress. So, the next logical step is to minimize stress brought on by your business. Easier said than done, right?
Well, one of the most common ways that entrepreneurs stress themselves out is by trying to multitask. The idea being that doing multiple things at once will end up freeing more time in their schedules. Unfortunately, that’s not really how the human brain works.
A study by the American Psychological Association showed that multitasking doesn’t help you be more efficient. In fact, another study conducted by Stanford University researchers proved that chronic multitaskers made more mistakes and took longer to complete tasks than infrequent multitaskers.
So, how can you be a more efficient business owner and keep that stress at bay? Instead of trying to juggle activities and meetings, try “batching” them. Batching is simply grouping tasks together and focusing on one task at a time.
As simple as it might sound, the lack of distractions and shifting from task to task will improve your efficiency and reduce your overall stress level.
4. Accept That There’s Never a Perfect Time
For whatever reason, people tend to think there’s going to be an ideal time to start a business. Unfortunately, life never gets less stressful. The longer you wait, the more responsibilities you’ll have and the less likely you’ll be to start your own business.
No matter when you decide to start your business, it’ll never be “the perfect time”. The thing that really helped me overcome this fear was building up a safety net. Having about 6 months of expenses saved up took the pressure off of becoming immediately profitable.
The time will never be perfect. So, just do your best to prepare, then make the leap.
5. Trust in the Plan
We’ve talked a lot about how you can keep fear at bay by finding satisfaction in facts and being more efficient with your workload. Now, I want to give you one final piece of advice.
Self-doubt can be vicious. Left unchecked, it can undermine your business (and your sanity). This last part might be the most challenging of all the strategies to implement, but it’s also the most powerful.
Believing in your ability to execute is going to be the key to your success. There will be competitors out there with more experience and better connections than you, absolutely. Still, you must be completely convinced that your plan is going to work. There’s no other way around it. The first step to being a successful business owner is believing you can be.
If there’s any doubt in your mind that you can’t accomplish your goals, go back to the steps. Take a good honest look at yourself and decide whether or not you can do this. Find something you love and accept the fact that it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Once you do that, you’ll be hooked on entrepreneurship for life.
So, what do you think? Did I miss any strategies? Can anyone be an entrepreneur or is it just something a few people can do? Let me know in the comments below.