You know, I feel like everybody — myself included — tends to talk about how great it is to run your own business. How rewarding it is. How exciting it is. How nice the flexibility is. How accomplished and fulfilled you feel at the end of each day.
Want to know what we don’t talk about as much? How flippin’ scary it is to run your own business.
That’s right, I said it. Starting and running your own business is pretty much a terrifying endeavor. There are tons of moments (days, even) when I feel like I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. Yep, there are plenty of those, “What the heck have I gotten myself into?!” panic attacks. They still happen, even though I’ve been doing my own thing for over a year.
Obviously, many of my fears about being a young business owner have faded the longer I’ve been doing this. But, for those of you who are still standing at the edge of that cliff, debating taking the leap, and continuously telling yourself that there’s just no way you can do this, I figured I owe it to you to talk about my initial concerns out loud.
When you’re debating starting your own business, tons of nasty thoughts and self-deprecating monologues can start to fill your creative, beautiful brain. However, you don’t need to let them talk you out of doin’ the darn thing.
So, here we go. Here are some of the fears I had before starting my own biz — as well as how you can kick them to the curb.
I have news for you: pretty much nobody knows what they’re doing when they start a business. Look at it as your opportunity for growth and discovery — as cheesy as that may sound. Bill Gates started Microsoft in 1975, when the average computer had about 1 KB of memory. Think of how much things have evolved since then! So, even when you feel like you have things down pat with your business, something might change and throw you off balance. It’s life — it happens.
SILENCE YOUR INNER MEAN GIRL: Accept the fact that you probably don’t know everything about what you’re doing — and that’s totally ok. You’ll never know everything. You’ll learn as you go, and it will be incredible. As they always say, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
You know, that’s true. You might not make enough money to live on at first. I sure didn’t (am I supposed to admit that sort of thing?). But, I can assure you of one thing: if you let finances be the one thing that stops you from pursuing something you’re passionate about, you’re going to live your life with a lot of regret.
ADDRESS THE PROBLEM: Start building your business while you still work full-time. Get a part-time job. Sell a bunch of your belongings on Craigslist. Do whatever you have to do to build up a solid savings and start going after what you want!
I was 23 when I first started my business. So, you best believe that thoughts like, “I’m so young! Who on earth would anybody take me seriously or want to hire me?” popped into my brain on the regular. But, guess what? Pretty much nobody cared. If you’re good at what you do, people will want you to do it.
SQUASH THAT CONCERN: First things first, take yourself seriously as a business owner and bad-to-the-bone boss lady. You can’t expect others to believe you’re good at what you do if you don’t. Next, do everything that you do with confidence. Order business cards. Talk about your business with pride and certainty. If you’re serious about what you do, people will definitely take you seriously.
Starting a business can be a bit of an isolating experience, and you may feel like you don’t have the tools or resources you need in order to get started successfully. You’ll probably have a lot of questions and concerns — but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have nowhere to express them.
TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS: Find your own resources. Read entrepreneurship books and blogs. Attend local networking events to find professionals that might be willing to help. Contact your local chamber to see if you can get matched up with a business mentor. Post your questions to relevant forums. There are tons of resources out there that can help you. You just need to go after them!
When I first announced that I was starting my business, I was met with a lot of, “You’re doing what?!” sort of responses. Many people were disapproving of the idea and flat out told me they thought it was a big ol’ mistake. I like to think they were just jealous of my incredibly admirable bravery — but who knows.
SHUT DOWN YOUR HATERS: Sometimes life just seems like one big high school. So, there are always going to be people out there who disapprove of something you’re doing, whether it’s your clothes, your boyfriend, or your political stance. As with anything, take their opinion at face value and keep moving forward with your aspirations and desires. Their attitude should have no impact on how you live your life.
I totally feel you there. You have the right to be scared! Starting your own business is positively terrifying. I’m serious, I had moments when I felt like I was literally petrified by fear. But, you can’t let that fear be the thing that holds you back. I’d spout out some cheesy line about regret being way worse than fear, but I’ll spare you.
TAKE THAT FEAR HEAD ON: Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? Then, suck it up and just go for it.
Until next time!