Hey y’all, listen up. Entrepreneurship is SCARY. If it wasn’t, anyone would do it.
In this blog, I will share 3 hacks for overcoming your fear as an entrepreneur. And let me tell you, they really work.
When you start a business, especially when going full-time (or “making the leap,” as they say), it can feel like leaping off a cliff. It can be terrifying. I know because I’ve been there. I am a self-professed “scaredy-cat” turned serial-risk-taker; I have learned to deliberately tackle my fears head-on. And owning my own business and quitting my job – that was a big one. In fact, I got to the point where owning my own business was the only fear I hadn’t conquered. (Well, that and my major phobia of rats and all little furry things).
So, you’re feeling freaked out in your business, really afraid to make the leap, getting bogged down by what ifs and worries and, and worries – what can you do?
#1 Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!
This is my favorite thing. It’s kind of like Nike says, just do it!
Fear is part of the process. We will always be scared, but sometimes you just have to keep moving forward. You have to be brave! And that’s what courage is. It’s not the absence of fear; it’s the presence of action in the face of fear.
Sometimes that looks like just keeping yourself so busy doing the thing that the fear can’t take over. If you have anxiety like me, you likely know this to be very true. If you can get out of your head and focus on the actual doing, it takes the air out of the anxiety balloon, so to speak. It may sound simplistic, but just doing it can do a whole lot and can actually counteract the fear of doing it.
Sometimes a lot is going on in addition to the fear, but often, the fear is the one thing really stopping us from moving forward. Fear that it’s not good enough or won’t ultimately be successful – all of these fears that we have no way of knowing. If you just start doing it, those will dissipate. Or, if they don’t dissipate, at least you’re doing something in the process, and you’re trying your best to make it good enough or make it successful.
Fear can be paralyzing, and that often comes from trying to be perfect or take the perfect next step. (Trust me, I’ve experienced that a lot myself). Take one imperfect action today. Right now! It doesn’t matter how big or how small just take a step! And once you’ve done that, you take the next one, and the next one, and you’ll keep moving forward!
Take one imperfect action today!
Now, this might sound counterintuitive to my last step, but when it comes to some of the bigger leaps, you can alleviate a lot of the fear by being prepared.
Most fear comes from uncertainty – we’re afraid of what we don’t know. So by doing our best to prepare for the things we can control in that process, we can lessen a lot of that fear.
As I said before, quitting my job was one of my biggest fears. More specifically, being solely dependent on myself financially. So, I spent a year preparing for that. I created a plan and reverse-engineered it. I included how my business was going to run and what I was going to do financially (be sure to check out my video on it for tips!). I thought that I would be scared when that day came to finally quit. But I wasn’t scared at all because I was so prepared! Sure, it was scary as hell a year ago, but once I started to do the work, it no longer was. Of course, many other difficult things have come up since then, but I conquered that one, and the way that I was able to make myself comfortable enough to take it on was through this planning and preparation.
Part of creating that plan is to factor in the things you can’t control. So, some of it might not be up to you, but at least in your plan, you can say, “I’m gonna ask so-and-so” or “I’m gonna figure out who to ask for this thing.” Just start to factor in, “oh, there is a step I can take. Even if I can’t control the outcome of this thing, there is something I can do to influence the outcome.”
It also may help to plan for the worst-case scenario. Many fears are grounded in “what if, what if, what if.” Well, what if you indulge that for a second? If every bad thing you could possibly think of happened, and you planned for that, where would you be? Would it really be as bad as your fears make it out to be? Are there steps that you can take? Does it even seem realistic that all those things would happen? This can help mitigate the fear, but even if it doesn’t, planning for worst-case scenarios, having contingencies, and backup plans or prep for that can really help you take action when the fear gets overwhelming.
Create a plan for how you will handle the things that you’re afraid of.
#3 Practice Acceptance and Agility
According to my therapist, much of fear and anxiety is trying to control things out of our control. We don’t know what will happen, and we want to be in control of what happens to us. So, when unexpected things pop up, it’s terrifying. Here are a couple of crucial ways to practice acceptance and agility.
Easier said than done, I know. But if you expect that things will pop up, you won’t be as surprised when they do. There will inevitably be problems and challenges, but they won’t be as scary if you’re planning for them and prepared for the possibilities of struggles and difficulties, rather than harping on it. Just accept it – it’s coming! We can get the worrying out of the way because we know it’s coming!
The good news: everything is solvable! If you throw enough resources, people, money, or time at it, pretty much everything that a given business will come across is solvable in some way.
Problem Solving and Agility:
That means adapting when something scary pops up or when something goes wrong. When your worst fear is realized, how do you react? How can you problem-solve this? How can you move forward and find a solution?
Now, that skill doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. It’s something I feel I’ve been blessed with – that ability to navigate difficult situations. You see that in a lot of entrepreneurs or people that naturally move towards taking that big risk. However, if it doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s something you can practice. So when you’re in a difficult situation, and something unexpected comes up, you consciously work on “how do I work my way out of this?”. And it doesn’t mean that you won’t be emotional or that it won’t be scary at times, but it does mean you’re working that muscle and developing that skill of finding solutions and problem-solving. And that builds a lot of confidence. Over time, things become less scary because one, you’ve already accepted that they’re gonna happen, and two, you’ve built confidence that whatever does happen, you can find your way out of it.
So, this is more of a way of thinking and a mindset than a specific action, but it is something that you can practice and a skill that you can develop. It’s using your imagination to strategically approach problems, situations, or circumstances and brainstorm different ways to navigate them and have access to people who can help you with those things.
Practice problem solving for inevitable uncertainty
When you own a business, fear is just part of the process…
It comes along with it because it is scary! You’re creating something out of nothing, and a lot of emotions come with that. But that’s also part of what makes an adventure! It’s what helps you grow. And you can cultivate that courage to keep moving forward, to keep taking action, even when you’re afraid. It will get easier and easier over time, and you will conquer bigger and bigger challenges.
Hopefully, these hacks help you face that fear head-on and dive head-first into your business or tackle the next scary challenge that comes your way. Let me know which hack is your favorite or how you’ve put it into practice in your business.
Until next time, stay badass!