I started my first business 8 years ago. At the time I was working in a high-end hair salon. The owners of the salon were some of the best people you could ever imagine working for. My clients were loyal and my colleagues and I were like family. I loved doing hair and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But, secretly I yearned to be Ms. Independent. To be my own boss.
The thought of starting a business was exciting and at the same time dreadful. I would have detailed conversations with my clients who owned their own companies and think to myself it must be nice. It must be nice to roll out of bed around noon and the only thing on your to do list is hair, lunch with friends, nails then a massage.
Frankly, I’m not a morning person. Each morning my alarm clock would go off I fantasized about starting a business so I could make my own schedule.
I had that thought for years before I actually took the leap. What held me back so long? Probably the same thing that’s preventing you from starting your business.
Research shows that almost two-thirds of American adults think about starting their own businesses, but only half of them actually take the plunge.
Fear is a very powerful tool, but is never a helpful one. It breeds self-doubt and it prohibits you from achieving your greatest potential in life. Jack Cantfield, the originator of Chicken Soup for the Soul says it best, everything you want is on the other side of fear.
Fear is really an illusion. Some of the best advice I received on fear came from one of my favorite authors Susan Jeffers. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Once you do you’ll watch the fear disappear and realize there was never anything to fear.
Why Are You Afraid?
Here is a list of some of the most common reasons why people (and maybe you, too) are afraid to start their own businesses, why they don’t make sense, and what you can do to conquer these fears and move beyond these obstacles:
• “I don’t have what it takes.” When starting a business it’s easy to look at other business owners and think sure they can do it because they’re smarter than me, they have more experience than me, they grew up differently than I did, and they have more money than me. Those are all excuses. Most excuses are simply fear in disguise. We can all come up with reasons why we feel we don’t have what it takes to be a successful business owner. However, truth be told you have the ability to create anything you want in life and that include a thriving business.
• “I’m not confident enough.” “This is overwhelming, there’s no way I can do all of this!” This is another negative thought many people have when starting a business. You may lack self confidence and feel intimidated by the thought of starting a business. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the magnitude of things, try taking things one step at a time. Create positive affirmations and constantly remind yourself that you have everything it takes to be successful in life and in business.
• “I don’t have enough money.” Money, or the lack of it, is a common justification for not starting a business. There are many ways to organically finance your business. You can forgo Starbucks or drinks and save a little at a time to fund your venture.
You can ask for small investments from family or friends and create terms for repayment once the business becomes profitable.
You can get funding through crowd-funding. Websites like Kickstarter.com, Gofundme.com and Prosper.com provide non traditional loans to fund businesses. You do not need to raise $50,000 to start a business. I started my business with less than $1500 that I saved overtime.
• “I don’t have enough time.” If you currently have a job you may feel you do not have time to start a business. Many entrepreneurs started businesses while working full time jobs.
Starting a business while working another job requires sacrificing. You may have to get up an hour earlier and stay up a few hours later to work on building your business.
I experienced firsthand how difficult this juggling act would be when starting my business. Since I was working in the salon from 10 am to sometimes 8 pm it was extremely difficult to work on my business. I would often stay up until 2 am contacting distributors, brainstorming, researching and developing my products.
There were many days I felt like giving up because it felt as if I was getting nowhere. But I’m happy I persevered because now my business is rewarding me in more ways than I could have ever imaged.
• “What if I fail.” Nobody likes to fail, but if you strive to be something great in life it’s inevitable. Napoleon Hill author of Think and Grow Rich says every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. I remind myself of this every time I have feelings of failure or defeat.
Starting a business is not always easy but it can be highly rewarding. Failure may feel like a setback and may often times be devastating but when it happens remind yourself that this too will pass.
• “It’s lonely at the top.” Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. You may find yourself having to make difficult decisions alone. When first starting out you may also find yourself having to juggle everything because you may not have the resources to hire employees.
The biggest mistake that you can make when starting your own business is to do it all by yourself.
One person enterprises have the highest risk for failure, owing to the fact that nobody can be an expert on everything. One of the most critical decisions you can make is to find other experts who have knowledge and skills that complement your own. Elance.com, Odesk.com and Guru.com are great resources to use when looking for experts to hire.
• “It is not the right time to start.” There are no hard and fast rules as to when you can or cannot start. A true entrepreneur seizes the day and declares now to be the best time to start the business and finds ways to make it work.
These common fears and misconceptions may block you from venturing out as an entrepreneur, but they should not discourage you from following your dreams.
Write down your goals, start doing your research and educate yourself. Avoid forming excuses and focus on the time freedom and security starting a business can bring. Take things one step at a time. There is no better time to start a business than now.
I want to hear from you. What are some fears that are holding you back from starting your dream business? Are you a business owner with advice to share on how you overcame your fears? Comment below.