by Raya Khashab
During my days working in corporate America, I met a lot of people who dreamed of owning their own business. They were thinking that they wanted to call the shots, and to be their own boss, but the reality is most people won’t take that step into becoming an entrepreneur. Why? The most common reason is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of losing their day job (and not being able to have a stable income again), fear of disappointing their loved ones, you get the idea. I would know, because I was one of those people who had a good paying stable job, but always wanted to start my own business. It took me years to finally overcome my fear.
John Lee Dumas on his daily podcast, EOFire, makes a great point when he says most people have this fear that if they don’t succeed in their venture, one day they might end up under a bridge, homeless, sitting next to a fire, and roasting a rat!! In reality that’s not the case, because you will find a way to survive, and provide for you family. Still, we all have that picture or something similar, in our minds. Fear is a normal human instinct, but it shouldn’t prevent you from striving to achieve your dreams.
How do you overcome fear, and make the transition to a full time entrepreneur? Here are some steps which helped me in my journey:
• Honesty: Be honest with yourself. Is being an entrepreneur something you really want to do? Or, is it one of those “I want what they have” when you read about successful entrepreneurs on the web? When it comes down to it, are you willing to work harder than you’ve ever done before, and put yourself in uncomfortable situations? For me, it was selling that made me uncomfortable. Going out and selling was not something I did easily, yet I had to push myself to do it, because I knew it was essential to the success of our business. So, be honest with yourself.
• Company: Surround yourself with the right people, folks who are smart and ambitious, mentors that can advise you, or business owners that have accomplished what you strive to do. For the longest time my only circle of acquaintances were employees. They were smart and ambitious people, but to get my mindset to think like a business owner, I needed to change my environment. So, I attended networking events for entrepreneurs, and met with mentors. This will calm your fears down, because these are people who are out there doing what you want to do. Not some headline from a news article, but rather real people who you can talk to, and ask questions. Mentors are essential. If you don’t know where to find mentors, check out your local startup business community, or the Small Business Administration office in your city.
• Have A Plan: Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Your plan should include how much money you need to save before starting your venture. You should have at least one year of personal expenses saved up. Ask yourself how much funding do you need for your new business? Can you build a prototype, and test it out? Can you build it yourself, or outsource it? Meet with a lawyer, and an accountant to make sure that any necessary legalities and finances are in order before you take that leap.
• Knowledge Is Power: Try to learn as much as you can about your potential business, by reading books, attending webinars, and/or classes. One of the reasons that fear exists, is due to self-doubt. Things like “I don’t know how to start a company”, “I haven’t run a business before”, “I’m not an expert”, are all thoughts that go through our mind. Although these might be true, they are not a reason for you to fail, because you can educate yourself. One thing I wished I had done before I started my current company, ezClocker, was to learn SEO, and how to write blog posts. I didn’t learn those things beforehand, so there was a lot for me to learn “on the job”.
• Experience: Nothing beats experience, so just go out and do something to get some experience, no matter how small it is. There is so much you can read and learn, from books and webinars, but you will learn the most when you go out, and actually do it. Some of that fear will start to fade away. Create a prototype if you want to build a product, or take a service job if you want to start a service company. Then, go out and meet potential customers, talk about your idea, and get some feedback.
Starting a business is hard, but fear shouldn’t be an excuse for not trying. Are you trying to transition from a wantrepreneur to an entrepreneur? How are you overcoming your fears?
Raya is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker (https://ezclocker.com). She is passionate about customers, and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community, and helping people achieve their dreams. To read her other blog posts, please visit https://blog.ezclocker.com