Don’t Get Spooked by Starting Your Own Business

It’s that time of year when one holiday seems to follow right on the heels of another. Now that summer is wrapped up, you need to get the jack-o-lanterns, Halloween candy and costumes ready for our scariest of holidays.

scared businessman

While ghouls and goblins should frighten you on Halloween, what about starting your own business? Fear (and more specifically, the fear of failure) is one of the strongest forces preventing budding entrepreneurs from reaching their potential. It’s fear that has stopped countless great businesses before they’ve even begun.

A few simple “tricks” can help you overcome your fear of starting or growing a business:

1. Forget about perfection: To often potential entrepreneurs wait until every little detail of their business is perfected before launching. But guess what? Perfection is unattainable. So don’t wait, just go for it! So what if you’re wrong? So what if there are little glitches here and there? Just go with what you have, and build on what you learn. If you wait until your blog, product, website, etc. is perfect, you’ll never launch anything at all.

2. Really think about your worst-case scenario – is it as scary as you think? All too often, we underestimate our ability to recover from a worst-case scenario. If you start a business and fall flat on your face, how long would it take you to recover? How hard would it be to find another job or start another business venture? Would you be down for a few months, a few years? Could you handle that risk? And what’s that risk compared to a lifetime of never chasing your dream?

Of course, you, along with your family, best know your situation and your ability to assume risk. But for many, the monster hiding under the bed is not as bad as you envisioned.

3. Take steps to minimize the downside of failure: No matter your personal situation, you should always manage risk intelligently. Overcoming fear doesn’t necessarily mean you should risk losing it all. You can make the necessary preparations to minimize the downside of failure. For example, you can structure your new business so as to minimize your personal liability. You can build up an emergency fund. Or you could begin the early stages of your business while you still have a “day job.”

4. Be honest about your financing: It’s no secret that Main Street/small business lending isn’t in such great shape right now. We are seeing some venture capital coming back, but for the average small business, traditional funding from banks is still tight. This means you may have to self-finance or start small at the beginning. If you don’t have access to tons of capital, you probably shouldn’t consider launching a manufacturing company with lots of overhead, or a concept with expensive product inventory. However, it’s more than possible to start a business with just a small investment.

5. Think about what’s truly scary: Yes, starting a business can be a scary endeavor, particularly when the news paints such a troubling economic picture. But think of it this way: Never taking a chance on your dreams can be scariest outcome of all.

This fall is the perfect time to start putting a plan in motion to launch a business for the New Year. You’ve got two months to create your business plan, assemble whatever resources you need, and research your legal and tax obligations for starting a business.

So if you’ve been considering starting a business, take a deep breath and jump right in! Set a deadline with yourself (and maybe with a friend to hold you accountable) and do something that will force you into action. With every action you take, you’ll gain confidence and momentum. And who knows where this exciting entrepreneurial path will take you by next Halloween!

4 Comments ▼

Nellie Akalp


Nellie Akalp Nellie Akalp is CEO of CorpNet, her second incorporation filing service based on her strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting their business. Free guides, advice and videos on small business legal topics are available at her Small Biz Corner.

4 Reactions

  1. “Never taking a chance on your dreams can be scariest outcome of all.”

    That is my thinking precisely! After 22 great years of running a successful marketing/consulting business, I decided to take the plunge and start an e-commerce business to help interfaith and Jewish families celebrate Jewish holidays more easily, with more joy.

    Wish me luck!

  2. Yes just get started now on your dreams. Life is too short! Yes it can be scary but to have your own online business and start to see passive income coming in every day is brilliant. You can learn to do this fairly easily. lol. Honestly anyone can get an online business making a passive income every month.

  3. Nellie, I love item #3 on your list: Take steps to minimize the downside of failure. In order to succeed, you must learn from your failure – which is an inevitable part of the business process. Minimizing its downside is like having an extra chute when you sky dive ( just in case the first one fails to open ). To all those who are starting out, I’d say embrace your fears and hold on to your passion. It’s now or never, they say. Cheers!

  4. Thanks for this article. I particularly emphasise with the first point about trying to be a perfectionist. Starting a business is not a destination, but a journey and you find your path as you go along. Mistakes are just sign post to point you in the right direction. You just need to go for it.

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