How to take the fear out of starting your own business

‘Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.’ – Dale Carnegie Fear is natural. It’s an instinctual, primal urge that lets you know that fire burns you, the sea can swallow you and, if you’re on a cliff edge, it’s a long way down. These are understandable fears, ingrained in our collective consciousness after thousands of years on Earth. But there are some common ungrounded fears too like having a fear of clowns, a fear of checking your bank account, or a fear of starting your own business. Although self-employment is at an all-time high, 70 percent of would-be entrepreneurs are too afraid to start their own business. They fear failure. At First Class Learning, we work with people who have made the decision to start their own business – often for the first time. When it comes to entrepreneurship, we know what we’re talking about. Don’t let fear rule you. Here are our top tips on how to take the fear out of starting your own business.

1. Plan, prepare and execute
The key to any good plan is preparation. You wouldn’t make any other major life choice without considering all your options, after all. Before thinking about your own business, think about someone who has taken the path ahead of you. Research and speak to this person. Not only might you receive some excellent advice, they may warn you of potential pitfalls. They’ve been there before you, so listen to their experiences. Once you’ve done your initial research, you need to put your idea in writing. Write a business plan that describes your business, your objectives, your sales strategy and financial forecasts. You can find sample business plans and business plan templates here. Alternatively, you can research franchise business options and take advantage of an already established (and proven) business model. Whatever you decide to do, having a plan will help you feel organised and dissolve any fear. But remember: you should follow your plan, but don’t let it limit you. Half the fun in working for yourself is the ability to be flexible. If you see an opportunity, take it.
2. Don’t fear the past, learn from it
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery but today is a gift. That is why it’s called the present. - Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Truer words were never spoken by a cartoon turtle. The past is the past. Whether your career or life experience so far has been good or bad, you should learn from it. Just because something didn’t work out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work now. Reflect and move on.
3. Divide and conquer
Starting a business can seem overwhelming. There is so much to do and then, once you’ve started, you need to actually run it! There is no denying that entrepreneurship is a challenge but it can also be rewarding if you give it a chance. Remember, you own the business, you have the power to make it exactly what you want. Rather than thinking on the massive objective of ‘starting your own business’, break it down into smaller goals. Examples of this are:
  • Opening a business banking account
  • Finding a business premises
  • Coming up with a name for the business
When you break it down like this, each individual task becomes much more manageable.
4. Live to learn
It helps to know all about your product or service, but you don’t need to be an expert to be an entrepreneurThis is not like school, where one exam determines your fate. If you feel like a lack of experience or knowledge is holding you back, do something about it. Don’t have any sales experience? Participate in a sales workshop. Don’t know anything about marketing, accounting or management? Do a course or take an online class. There is no obstacle that can’t be overcome with knowledge.
5. Don’t listen to the naysayers
‘I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.’ – Michael Jordan
There will be people that won’t understand what you’re doing. For some, eschewing a comfortable, predictable working life for the world of self-employment seems illogical. But, if you have the desire then go for it. If people listened to everyone saying ‘you can’t’ then no-one would do anything, ever! Know that there will be hard times, but also know that failure doesn’t define you. It doesn’t determine your worth as a business person. You learn from it and move on. All it takes is one good idea and you can have a thriving business. The fear of embarrassment can be limiting. So, don’t worry about what everybody thinks.
6. Do something you’re passionate about
Doing something you’re passionate about is a great way to take the fear out of starting your own business. When you do what you love, you are more accepting of risk and fear of failure isn’t even on your radar. The premise is simple: if you love to bake, open a bakery. If you want to work with children, open a tuition centre. You’ll likely be more knowledgeable about your business area, meaning you can fully focus on the aspects of business that you don’t yet know. And furthermore, if you’re doing something you love, you’ll have more motivation to push through the challenges and the difficult times.
7. Franchise the fear away
Another tactic that can take the fear out of starting your own business is franchising. You reduce the risk by working as an already established brand with a proven path to success.  In exchange for your franchising fee, the franchisor will also supply you with all the training and support you need. This is much more support than you would receive as an independent business.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be scary
There is plenty of opportunity out there whether you start up as an independent or franchise business. Just don’t let the fear of running a business prevent you from realising your potential. Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be scary, so put your money where your mouth is.