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How to Overcome the 6 Biggest Fears of Starting a Business

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Why does it feel so hard to start a business? Simple: Because it is hard!

And one of the most challenging things about starting a business is working through and overcoming the fear of starting a business.

If you’ve found yourself afraid of taking the next step in making your dreams a reality, know you’re not alone.

I see a lot of my students struggling with fears of things like rejection, success, and not being good enough.

Whatever your fear is, you can overcome it and build a successful business, and I’ll show you how.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

How do you overcome your fear of starting a business?

You may think:

“Is it normal to be scared to start a business?”

And the answer is yes.

Maybe you feel embarrassed of starting a business because you think people will judge you…

Or crippled by anxiety because you don’t know if your business will work or not.

It’s normal to feel those things. Overcoming fear is about soothing your “caveman brain”; the parts of the brain that kept us safe when we fought tigers and lived in caves.

But what is entrepreneurial fear, exactly?

There are many forms of it and they all relate back to the fears and insecurities we feel every day.

Ultimately, our fears can be really powerful barriers to starting a business. Yet, those who start businesses find a way to overcome them.

I’ve listed the top ones here below – as well as steps to overcome them.

Let’s start with the fear of failing.

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Fear of failure

Feel scared to start a business?

The fear of failure is one of the most common reasons people don’t start their businesses.

All too often, entrepreneurs who are just starting out think of failure as the end of their journey. Even Bill Gates was afraid of failing!

But failing doesn’t mean you have to give up.

In reality, failure is actually one of the most important parts of the entrepreneurial journey.

Trust me, I used to be afraid of failure, too.

Before I launched my first online business, I used to believe that if I failed, it meant that I had made the wrong choice.

That I should have been focusing solely on my full-time job, which was a sure thing, instead of something I was taking a chance on.

I had to learn to reframe that fear. So, I started by asking myself if it was more important not to fail at all or to try and fail.

The truth is that not failing at all was more important for a while. But as time passed, I started to realize that I’d regret not trying a lot more than I’d regret trying and failing.

Here’s the thing: You will fail. It’s just part of life.

The question is what you’ll do when it happens.

Instead of wallowing in it and allowing it to drag you down, prepare yourself for it.

You can hear me talk more about the fear of failure and how to overcome it in this video:

Keep reading to learn about what’s on the other end of the spectrum: The fear of success.

Fear of success

Even some of the most successful people are afraid of finding success.

Why?

Because finding success means having to sustain it.

I’ve seen several of my students worry about having too many clients to handle or how success might change them down the road.

The reality is that you can only focus on what’s ahead of you right now.

If you find that you have these types of fears in yourself, write them down as a question and come up with an answer.

For example, let’s pretend that you’re worried about getting too many clients too quickly.

Instead of worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet, ask yourself: “How many clients can I handle at one time?”

Don’t just say a random number – take your unique situation into consideration. Are you still working a full-time job? Will you be working alone?

With that number in mind, try to focus only on the first step of getting one client.

Don’t worry about other clients until they come. When they do, you’ll be prepared!

Plus, you’ll have options, like leaving your job or not taking more clients.

But there’s always the fear that clients won’t come. That’s called the fear of rejection.

Let’s talk about what it is and how to overcome it.

Fear of rejection

What if your product isn’t received well? What if you can’t get anyone to work with you or can’t find a client? Or, worse, what if you lose one?

These are normal worries!

A fear of rejection is one of the most common fears among entrepreneurs.

The truth is, you will get rejected. Just like failure, rejection is just part of the entrepreneurial journey.

But it’s important to remember that rejection isn’t about you. The other person could have a thousand reasons for rejecting you.

Regardless of the reason, you need to be prepared for rejection.

When I launched my first online business and was trying to find a podcast to guest star on, I got told no over and over again.

People even said I looked too young to be taken seriously.

But instead of sitting with that failure and letting it define me and derail my progress, I found ways to improve.

Soon, I had my first “yes” and was on my way to running a six-figure business.

I learned quickly that you need to have a thick skin to be an entrepreneur.

Part of that means being able to detach yourself from rejection, taking responsibility for your company, and finding ways to turn a no into a yes.

But part of getting a ‘yes’ is having the right product or service. And that starts with having an idea.

If you’re having trouble finding an idea or are afraid you won’t find one at all, keep reading.

Fear of not having an idea

Believe it or not, it’s completely natural to want to start a business, even if you don’t have an idea yet.

Truth be told, coming up with a business idea is one of the hardest parts of the process!

The good news is that you don’t need to create the Next Big Thing. You can start a far simpler business and still find success.

You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions to come up with your million-dollar idea.

  1. Who are you? Think about everything – your likes, dislikes, favorite foods, and even quirks.
  2. What means the most to you? What stands out when you think about the list you’ve just made?
  3. What problems do you want to solve? Look at the second list and figure out what seems like a problem.

Then, do some research into what’s missing in the market. What are your potential customers willing to pay for?

Boom – a business idea.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out my guide with the best business ideas.

Another common fear I see is that of being judged, whether it’s by friends and family or potential customers. Read on to learn about how to overcome it.

Fear of being judged

I get it. The thought of being judged while you embark on this adventure is scary.

But what’s even scarier is that it will happen. You’ll be judged by friends, family, coworkers, and even total strangers.

After all, most people don’t have entrepreneurs in their support system. Because of that, it’s easy for them to judge you and assume you’ll fail.

But instead of letting their judgment creep into your mind and cause you to doubt yourself, drown it out. Remind yourself that you’re coming from a place of integrity – and that their own negativity is on them.

Even with a multi-six-figure business, I still get judged!

If you look at my comments across social media, you’ll see that people aren’t always kind. But I remember that I’m doing my best and keep going.

Finally, one of the fears that’s hardest to get over: Financial insecurity. Let’s talk about it.

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Fear of financial insecurity

When people have a fear of financial insecurity, they’re afraid that they won’t have enough money to cover the costs associated with their business.

That’s a totally natural fear to have when starting a business! After all, if your business fails, you’re at risk of losing money and, potentially, any savings that you’ve dipped into.

The good news is that there’s no rush when you’re building your business. The only timeline you’re on is your own.

One of the most common misconceptions about the entrepreneurial journey is that new business owners go all in at once.

Most people believe that founders quit their jobs and immediately focus solely on their business venture with a massive business loan.

But I find that to be really risky, and unnecessarily so. If you take that route, chances are that you’ll have to go back to your 9-5 sooner rather than later.

That’s why I always recommend to my clients that they wait to quit their full-time jobs until they’ve made at least double their yearly salary to achieve financial stability.

I was working a 9-5 when I started thinking about launching a business. I knew that if I quit, my employer wouldn’t take me back if I failed as an entrepreneur.

So, I stayed at my job and worked to build my business on the side.

And thank goodness I did! In the first four months alone, I made mistakes that cost me $18,000. If I didn’t have my “sure thing” – my full-time job – I might not have made it.

But four months in, I made $106,000, which was enough for me to hand in my notice and not have to worry about how I was going to pay my bills.

I didn’t start there, of course – I had realistic goals that I worked towards every step of the way. The thing is…with a solid business plan (figuring out a way to acquire new clients), you can start your business despite your fears.

Now, we’ve covered the most common fears people have when starting their own business.

But you might still be thinking, “That’s great, but how do I get over my fear of starting my own business?”

Keep reading to find out.

How do you get the courage to start your own business?

There are two simple ways to get over your fear, and I’m going to share them with you now.

1.  Tell yourself that no one is paying attention

This is actually the same mind trick I use when I’m having a bad skin or hair day, and it works equally well for both.

Just like the way that a majority of people you speak with will only spend a few seconds looking at you, most of the people who come across your business will only casually peruse it.

For example, even spending just a few seconds on your website is more than enough to get an idea of who you are and what you have to offer. (Just like looking at you for a few seconds is enough to remember what you look like).

But it’s not enough to catch those slight imperfections that you’re spending way too much time agonizing over.

2. Stop (over-)thinking

If you’re anything like me, you randomly get great ideas that you know are brilliant….and yet you somehow manage to talk yourself out of acting on them because a few days (or a few hours) later, you’ve convinced yourself that they’re just plain stupid.

The solution? Don’t give yourself a chance to talk yourself out of it.

Instead, take action the moment that inspiration strikes, and don’t second-guess it. Give yourself the gift of trusting your intuition.

Remember, you already have everything and know everything that you need. You’re more than capable of creating the life and business that you want.

So the next time you get that random amazing idea, don’t let that momentum go. Go all in before you can stop yourself!

I’m willing to bet you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Next steps

So, there you have it: Everything you’ll ever need to know about the fear of starting a business – and how to overcome it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re afraid of failure, success, rejection, not having an idea, judgment, or financial insecurity. You can do it.

I’ve had to work through at least one of those same fears of starting a business, and so have most of my students. All successful entrepreneurs have.

Yet we’ve all overcome them and gone on to create successful businesses without having to work every minute of every day.

If you believe in yourself, face your fears, and figure out your own journey, I promise you can create the business of your dreams, too.

Want to learn how to start a business?

I’ll show you exactly how, step-by-step, in my blueprint. Grab it below:

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

Get Instant Access To My FREE Ultimate Guide Below!

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Read more:

The Top Mindset Habits of Entrepreneurs

How to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur

How to Start a 6-Figure Business While Working Full-Time

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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12 Responses

  1. Putting of writing content because I don’t have the practical experience…only knowledge acquired through reading. That reading ( self help) has led to realizations of why I was not very successful in my career. So, I’m not certain if that will be of much value to my readers.

  2. I want to start my own online business, but don’t know how to adverise it on facebook, google and instagram.
    Or own the online business website.

  3. I want to start a pastry and baking business (small size for now). But there’s this fear that my stuff can’t ever be as good as the ones I see other people do, and that what if I start with the little money I have and it fails? It’s so bad and I am battling with it and the year is running out.

  4. Overcoming stress is the most challenging part of our life. And I think everyone has the ability to do as they wish to. So we should need to first believe in ourselves.

    THANKS! for sharing a beautiful post.

  5. My biggest fear is not being able to pay my bills. I’ve been in the public as a cashier for 10 years in my small town, now I’m wanting to start my reflexology business like my mom did with her massage therapy business. Mom past last year so I’m on my own with this I can feel her pushing, but I’m scared.

  6. There is the fear of not being able to pay my bills along with the fact that I feel like I’m not tech savvy enough in order to make my business successful. I also have a lot of different directions I would like to pursue and I know that I need to narrow it down to 1 in the beginning.

  7. Luisa,
    Thank you for this post. Like some of your other fans, I am worried that I am not tech-savvy enough for social media ( among other things) to actually get sales. I like that you remind us that it doesn’t have to be perfect to get started. I welcome any other guidance you can give us!

    1. So, so SO MANY ideas on creating/designing things to start a business. But if i see someone or multiple people are already doing so, what would make my product so different?? Not having (and wanting) any social media is not helpful for creating a business. I dont like social media AT ALL. But these days you seem to need it, otherwise you dont exists.

  8. For me, using social media to do my business was a huge problem for me. I just couldn’t understand. I tried learning from some experts to no avail. When someone asked me to learn again online, I was reluctant. I used to tell people that I was born before technology. But I summoned up courage to learn and to my greatest surprise, I understood and am now able to use this for my business online.

  9. I was a business partner with someone and just got booted out. I was sitting on my patio, trying to figure out what my next step is and looked on my Pinterest feed and saw your information, read it and listen to your video. It was and is exactly what I needed today. It could not have come at a better time. Fear of failure and fear of financial insecurity are my top two fears with starting my own Interior Design business even though I’ve already had one in the past and one are there in a different industry. Thank you thank you thank you so much.

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