You want to start a business, but you keep stalling. You dream of waking up in the morning, strolling down the hallway in your pajamas, and checking your email over a leisurely cup of coffee.
Or maybe you already have a small business – a side hustle, perhaps, or just a project you’ve been working on from home. You want to turn it into something bigger, but there’s always another activity that takes priority, another reason not to start.
I’ve heard my clients state countless different reasons for stalling, and I’ve definitely made excuses myself. Some of the most common reasons are:
- You think you don’t have time.
- Your family is keeping you from taking action.
- Your job is too stressful/you work too many hours.
- You think you don’t have the skills to run a successful business.
- You don’t have enough money to start your business.
- You’re afraid you might fail.
Any of these sound familiar?
You might think it’s some external factor keeping you from starting a business, but I’ve got news for you. [clickToTweet tweet=”The only thing keeping you from launching your entrepreneurial journey is you.” quote=”The only thing keeping you from launching your entrepreneurial journey is you.”]
This is the biggest challenge, and perhaps the most difficult one to overcome. So I present to you … the ultimate guide to getting over the fear of entrepreneurship and finally starting the business you’ve always wanted to run.
Get ready for a fun and bumpy ride. I’m going to give you advice you might not like – but if you follow it, entrepreneurship is just a few steps away. I know because I dealt with many of these fears myself, and my business today revolves around helping others do the same. I observe these journeys all the time, and there is much less variation in the stories than you might think. So let’s get going, shall we?
Part 1: Develop Your Mindset
The first part of getting over your fear is to start working on yourself. When you tell yourself things like “now’s not the time because my kids are too young” or “I can’t start my business until I can stop working overtime at my day job”, pause and consider what single action you could take to start to remove that barrier today. [clickToTweet tweet=”External factors only affect your ability to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take the steps to remove them.” quote=”External factors only affect your ability to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take the steps to remove them.”] That is ALWAYS under your control.
So if you’re stalling because, say, you don’t have the money you think you need to start, then you might take the action of sitting down and itemizing all the costs to start your new business. If you get some momentum going, then you might look at what items you don’t really need. Then, you might develop a plan to save the money you do need.
See? Three actions, right there. And you’re three steps closer to your dream.
Remember, before you start a business, you need to learn to think like a business owner – just writing a business plan won’t be enough. You have to prepare yourself mentally for the process of taking your good idea and turning it into a viable business that actually makes money.
If you’ve already started your business, this principle still works. Chances are there’s some way you want to grow your business and – for whatever reason – you haven’t done it. So choose just one action that begins to remove your greatest barrier. One step at a time, until the barrier is gone.
Part 2: Clarify Your Solution
It’s not enough to tell yourself you’ll launch a copywriting business or that you’ll do accounting for small business owners. Why do people need copywriting services, or accounting support? What problems do they have that your services specifically solve? When you’re launching a new venture, you need to know what problems you solve for people, because it’s the only way to describe the benefits you provide in a way that makes people bring out their wallets.
You have to be careful with this step, because it can create a new self-limiting belief that you didn’t have before: “I can’t launch my business because I haven’t figured out my competitive advantage/niche/target market.”
Now even though I’m an expert in business planning, I still say you don’t have to have these things explicitly defined before you start. If you’re like me, you need to experiment for a little while first. It took me six months to figure out the problem I was solving in my work (helping new entrepreneurs plan their companies), and I’m still refining and tweaking all the time.[clickToTweet tweet=”Work on clarifying the solution you offer to an important problem, but don’t let this exercise hold you back.” quote=”Work on clarifying the solution you offer to an important problem, but don’t let this exercise hold you back.”]Just be conscious of it and work on it.
Part 3: Talk to People
As a consultant working almost exclusively with new business owners, I often hear clients say they are concerned about starting their companies because they don’t want their idea stolen.
This is another self-limiting belief. You heard it here, folks: no one’s going to steal your idea. If they do, you can be happy your idea was good enough to be stolen (see, I even stole that quote, but no one got hurt). It’s highly unlikely that someone will, upon hearing about your great business idea, decide to launch it themselves. They won’t run it like you do, they won’t plan it the same way, they won’t implement it the same way. Every business is as unique as the person running it.
So you need to talk to people – complementary service providers, entrepreneurship organizations, LinkedIn groups, whoever wants to listen – and tell them about the business you want to start. Doing this makes it more real. You said it out loud, so you have to follow through!
Talking to others about your ideas helps create accountability and makes it more likely that you’ll take the actions you say you will. Now I’m sure there’s some psychology around that, and I don’t have a link to the research; but, I know it’s always worked for me, and I believe it will work for you too.
Part 4: Starting Thinking like a Business Owner
If you’ve read the E-Myth Revisited, then you know the story of the woman who loved baking pie, so she started a pie shop – and ended up miserable. The essence of Gerber’s advice to this pie shop owner was that she needed to learn to think like a business owner; it was the systems she created to empower herself and her staff that allowed her pie business to thrive. The fact that the pies were also good was the icing on top – NOT the key success factor for her company.
Let’s say you make a fantastic pasta sauce. It’s so good that your friends and family encourage you to start selling it. All you have to do is get a few people to taste it, and sales will explode – right?
The pasta sauce entrepreneur isn’t thinking like a business owner if she thinks taste tests alone will support and market a successful business. There’s a lot more to consider – first and foremost is who the best customer is for the product. Just because “everyone” likes pasta sauce doesn’t mean “everyone” will like this sauce, and great taste alone isn’t necessarily enough for that customer to make a buying decision.
Let’s take another example from the world of online business. Say you’re a life coach for health care professionals. You know you have to do quite a bit of marketing to generate leads for your services, but converting those leads to sales requires a business owner’s mentality.
I’ve talked to dozens of excellent coaches and consultants whose businesses struggle simply because they think the benefits of working with them should be obvious – they’re not. Not even to people who say they’re interested. You have to spell it out for them, give them boundaries, show them the potential return on investment and then ask for the sale.
No More Fear
By following the advice in this Ultimate Guide, I hope you’ll begin to develop a lot of confidence in your ability to launch or grow a successful company. All of these steps can help you remove the biggest entrepreneurial barrier – YOU – and set the stage for a really exciting journey ahead. I can’t wait to join you!
So – what’s one action you can take today to remove one of your barriers to entrepreneurship? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to hold you accountable!