According to Statista, fear of failure affects 35.2% of U.S. entrepreneurs. And that is understandable since the U.S. Bureau of Labor suggests that approximately 75% of businesses fail within 10 years.
You may ask questions like:
- What if I lose my investment?
- What if I run out of money?
- What if I lose clients?
- What if no one buys my products?
And the self-doubt questions are endless. But the good news is that many entrepreneurs have overcome the fear of failure, and you can. This article provides tips to overcome the fear of failure and soar as an entrepreneur.
What Is The Fear Of Failure In Entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurial fear of failure is a negative feeling that you will fail to build your business brand. You could also fear losing the money and time dedicated to bringing the business into reality.
So, before we dive into ways to overcome the fear of business and the fear of failure, let’s discuss what causes it. You have a brilliant business idea you know could make a fortune, but you procrastinate launching it.
You may even have enough capital to start. So, why are many potential entrepreneurs afraid of starting? Fear of failure!
Here Are Some Reasons For This Fear
One of the main reasons for experience is that it helps protect us, alert us to danger, and prepare us to deal with it. Generally, feeling afraid is very natural and helpful in various situations.
Here are other reasons most entrepreneurs experience fear:
1- Fear Of Criticism Or Judgment
Most people are scared about what others will say when they fail. We all want love and commendation, and criticism or judgment from our family members, friends, or colleagues if their business fails can breed fear.
2- Negative Attitude Toward Failure
This is a problem that starts at a young age. Parents and teachers criticized failing or getting low grades. If you made a mistake, they vilified you, so instead of welcoming failure as part of the journey, it was the enemy.
And most communities frown at failure or ridicule those who fail! This could accelerate the fear of business failure.
3- Lack of Experience And Skills
Your business idea is viable, but because you don’t have the experience and skills to run a successful business, fear of failure may grip you.
Remember, experience comes from a lot of practice and failure. The more you practice and the more experienced you become.
Perfectionism is a significant contributor to the fear of failure in business. This mindset can prevent you from taking action.
You may feel that you need everything perfect before launching a company, which could hinder your progress.
5- Fear of The Unknown
Fear of the unknown can cripple your prospect of running a successful business. As an entrepreneur, you are concerned with how to run a business, market your products, hire and manage employees, and seek financing.
However, carrying these unknown variables in your head can be overwhelming. Fear of business failure may rear its head when you can’t know the future with certainty.
Now that we know what fuels this fear, let’s discuss how to overcome it.
How Do I Overcome The Fear of Failure in Business?
I will begin this section with a famous quote from Roy Bennet.
While you can’t eliminate fear, you can succeed as an entrepreneur despite it. I found some practical things helpful when starting my business to overcome my fears.
1- Face Your Fears
Every successful entrepreneur has fears, but they have learned to face them and work on them. Sometimes fear is a monster in our heads, a castle built on air that crumbles in the light of knowledge. Start doing what you are afraid of, and you will realize that fear is an illusion- a figment of your imagination.
You see, diving into the unknown and doing things differently is the only way to get better results.
So, whenever you fear doing something or taking reasonable risks, face the fear. The more you tackle things or tasks, you are afraid of, the more you build strong mental muscles to face uncertainties.
2- Prepare for Entrepreneurship Before Quitting Your Job
One of the causes of fear of business is how you will cater to your bills before your business picks up. Relying on a startup’s profits to care for your needs and that of your family is a big ask. It is a sure route to failure.
So, get your finances in order before quitting your job. This will involve saving up to at least six months of your expenses so that you don’t rely on the startup to care for your personal needs.
With peace of mind that you have your family’s financial needs in order, you can focus on growing your business.
3- Develop a Solid Business Plan
Your confidence levels will likely go up if you have a plan on how to proceed with your business.
A solid business plan will help you with the following:
- Clarity of vision: You will know what you want and how to achieve it. You will likely feel more confident about your business idea and how to execute it.
- Identifying potential challenges: A business plan will help you anticipate, prepare for, and mitigate them, thus minimizing chances of failure.
- Set realistic goals: A business plan includes clear and practical goals. You know what you need to do and when to do it. You can also track your progress and accomplishment.
If the fear of entrepreneurial failure overwhelms you, pull out your business plan and remind yourself of what you have accomplished.
4- Surround Yourself With Supportive Friends
The entrepreneurial journey can be a long lonely walk without emotional support. We highlighted the fear of judgment and criticism from friends as one of the causes of fear of failure. So, to overcome the fear of failure, you can surround yourself with supportive people who cheer your course.
You can join a coaching and mentorship program. Support, guidance, and advice from experienced entrepreneurs can alleviate any fear of failure. They will help you learn the ropes and succeed in your venture.
Furthermore, you can talk to your friends and family members sympathetic to your dream. They can help you overcome your fears and face the world with confidence.
5- Enhance Your Creativity Through Knowledge
Acquiring knowledge can improve your creativity and confidence. And as a creative entrepreneur, you can develop unique products with limited competition, which inspires confidence.
But how do you become a creative entrepreneur?
- Conduct market research
- Network with other entrepreneurs
- Leverage your strengths
- Leverage the internet
- Continuously learn and adapt.
6- Develop Grit
One way to overcome your fear of failure is to develop grit and get tough no matter what curve balls life throws.
True, you can make a wrong decision that can knock you down; however, the game is getting up. You can only succeed if you continue doing the things you fear.
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up – Nelson Mandela
So, while some will tell you that you will fail and that you can’t do it, believe in yourself and eliminate these people from your life.
When things get tough, don’t dwell on past mistakes. Learn from them and focus on the present and the future.
Understand that failure is part of the process and welcome them. Take on risks, and when you handle them successfully, your chances of succeeding doubles, and your fear diminishes.
7- Find Ways to Disconnect From The Business Emotionally
Fear of failing in business is even higher when you emotionally connect to the company. Most entrepreneurs will find this advice strange because they view their startups as their babies. While your business needs attention, emotionally disconnecting from the venture can help reduce the fear of failure.
But how do you emotionally disconnect from your dear business? View your new venture as a hobby rather than a business.
Calling your business a hobby allows you to distance yourself psychologically, thus removing the fear associated with it.
I have never heard that someone failed at a hobby. I don’t mean you remove the passion or commitment towards the business; you need to separate the company from your personal life. Your identity and self-worth go beyond your business.
8- Define Failure, And Don’t Allow it to Define You
Earl Nightingale once said that fear is crippling. And that is true even for entrepreneurs known as risk-takers.
But one way to overcome the fear is to define what failure is. If the business fails, it is not you who failed.
Don’t worry. Worry brings fear, and fear is crippling.
Sometimes the perceived business failure is a mistake you could learn from. Take responsibility and define failure in your own terms.
9- Embrace Failure
Have you ever heard the saying, “acceptance is the key to being truly free?” Acceptance is one of the ways to overcome the fear of failure. Admit mistakes and false steps when they happen. Know that entrepreneurship is not a linear route.
You will meet ups and downs. Sometimes you will feel like giving up. The nights will be long, and the endless decisions will be heavy to bear.
However, if you hang in there, success will soon come.
As an entrepreneur, you can overcome the fear of failure and jumpstart your business. Develop a strong business plan, surround yourself with supportive friends, enhance your creativity, detach emotionally from the company, and develop grit and tenacity.
What other things can help you overcome the fear of failure in business?