By Jacy Lee Pulford
“Fear cannot take what you do not give it” ~ Christopher Coan
So you want to start a business, huh? Being a self-starter is the same as being a dreamer. You can’t start a business without a dream. That vision is like gas in a tank and will drive you to where you want to go. I’m very much a dreamer. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an artist. Hours were spent in my own world. Once, my mother banned me from using the computer paper. She tried to print but the feeder was empty. Hey, an artist needed paper!
Even though I had this hunger to be great, I felt this fear come over me. I didn’t know what it was. As I got older, it grew and started to cast a shadow. The more I thought about being an artist, the more discouraged I got. What happened?
Sharing my dream with others brought lots of questions and criticism. For example, I was told being an artist wasn’t a “real job”. To me, being an artist meant freedom, life, purpose, creativity and enjoying what I did everyday. To those around me, being an artist meant empty bank accounts, instability and lack of opportunity. I started an unhealthy relationship with fear before I had even begun to make a business plan!
Fear is inevitable, but it can be defeated. Fear does not have to dictate the outcome of what you want to accomplish. Every person and every business is different. That is okay! It’s supposed to be that way, isn’t it? This shouldn’t be looked at as a negative, but as a positive. Embrace your uniqueness; it may be what the world needs!
Here are five main fears and concerns that most self-starters have:
Lack of Money
Okay, I get it. Money makes the world go ‘round and we need it to survive. The problem with this fear, is it never seems to go away! We’ll always be concerned about finances. Research can help. Instead of taking advice from your boyfriend’s sister’s cousin who once knew a guy who had a business and is now in debt thousands of dollars; doing research helps you gather information that is more reliable. There are so many websites and books from people who were once where you are now. They can help you make a business plan that won’t break your bank account and provide solid advice on being prepared financially.
Lack of Substance
This fear is one of self-doubt. We don’t think we have anything to offer that hasn’t already been offered, or we just plainly think we are not good enough. The truth is that you are good enough! The greatest minds out there did not follow a generic step-by-step success plan. Being a self-starter means you have to be a self-motivator. You will get discouraged the more you try and wait on people to give you that pat on the back for your ideas. You have to first believe in your business before other people do.
Setting Up for Failure
Everyone who wants to start a business walks down this same path. We get a dream. We get excited. We get scared. There’s this fear that we will work so hard for nothing. All of our efforts will be wasted and we’ll be back at square one. The truth is, how do we really know that we are going to fail if we never try? I have always told myself that I’d rather do it and see for myself, then spend hours wondering if it would have worked. Turn this negative into a positive! Instead of thinking “What if I fail?” ask yourself “What if I succeed?”
There is a little nerd inside of all of us; we fix our glasses and walk past the cool table, wishing to be part of it. We all want that acceptance and we don’t want to start a business by being too different. This is a natural fear. We naturally want to fit in the right way but it’s okay to be different! Embrace it and go with it! Your originality and uniqueness is what is going to make your business stand out on its own. If you are the same as everybody else, you may not be taken seriously. Just think: where would Bill Gates be if he went with the crowd?
This fear is the most common. Every self-starter starts with questions: Where do I start? How will I get there? Where will I be in ten years? I think we spend most of the time pondering then actually doing! Even if we make a business plan, the true outcome is unsure. This fear of not knowing is what stops most people from even starting. Breathe. Take a nice, big breath of fresh air and sit still for a moment. Take one thing at a time; one day at a time. You can do this! The unknown doesn’t have to be scary, it can be super exciting! Instead of thinking “What is going to happen? Where will I be?” tell yourself “Great things will happen! I’ll be where I’ve always dreamed!” If you change your perception, it can change the essence of your situation.
Starting a business doesn’t have to be full of fear and dread. It can be full of excitement and anticipation! You can be logical and realistic without giving into these fears. When you feel one creeping up, stop before you let it in. Look at all of the great resources around you and the people who have succeeded. You can one of them too!
Jacy Lee Pulford is a freelance artist from Enfield, CT. She has written many inspiring articles and blog posts to help encourage the entrepreneur. Follow Jacy’s blog, where she promotes other handmade artists/crafters, hosts giveaways and shares the insights of her heart.