There are thousands of startup articles that offer advice on the methods, processes and mechanics for starting a business. However, the inner, personal workings of starting a business are just as important as your business plan and capitalization strategy. If you are not mentally prepared to start your business, you will be stopped dead in your tracks.
Perhaps one of the largest personal inhibitors to starting a business is the fear of doing just that. There are numerous fears that most entrepreneurs face, including the feat of quitting one’s job, the fear of losing one’s hard-earned savings, the fear of failing, the fear of not being there for one’s family…the list goes on and on.
While these fears are completely natural and can actually help motivate you to be successful, there are a few techniques that you can use to ensure that your fears do not debilitate you.
• Say yes to your inner voice that’s been elbowing you to start this venture. In fact, write down your reasons for starting your business and remind yourself of these reasons and of your commitment on a continual basis. Believe in yourself and your business.
• Create a journal or idea board where you constantly write down new goals, ideas, emotions, commitments, etc. This will keep you motivated and excited about your venture.
• Visualize your success. Determine what success looks like for you, make it tangible and specific: “In 3 years, I will know that I am successful because I am working less than 30 hours a week, taking over $75k/year in salary, attending all of my kids soccer games and going on a date twice a month with my significant other.”
• Similarly, create affirmation statements and repeat them to yourself. “I am going to sign 3 new deals this month.” Keep a constant list of affirmation statement on hand and read them daily, sometimes multiple times per day.
• Become concretely aware of your beliefs. Prioritize yourself, your business, your family, your money, etc. Be aware of your beliefs and do not allow yourself to stray too far from what is important to you.
• Empower yourself with knowledge. The more you know about your business, your finances, your competitors, your customers, various business strategies, etc, the better and more informed you will feel about the decisions you make.
• Take baby steps. Start your business part-time while maintaining your full-time job. This will allow you to determine if entrepreneurship is right for you and if your business is truly a good idea while mitigating the risk of failure.
• Be realistic with your expectations. If your expectations are too low, then you likely are not suffering from the debilitation of fear. On the contrary, if your expectations are too high, than your fear of not meeting them is likely valid. Be sure to align your expectations with your resources, be that time, money, support, knowledge, relationships, etc.
• Continually build your non-financial capital. Your business relationships and advisors as well as your personal support systems can often be the most effective way of getting through the tough times that you will certainly face.
• On a practical note, be sure to continually shake up your routine so that you do not fall in a rut. Refuse to make excuses, accomplish unfinished tasks and check them off your list.
• Lastly, accept your fear and face it head on. Know that it is better to have tried and failed than to live with regret of what you could have done. The latter will be far more disappointing.