Dealing with fear and doubt when starting a small business

Black-and-white drawing of a man's nighttime encounter with a creepy ghoul and vampire bats.

Don't let fear and doubt stop you from achieving your small business goals. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/Edd Cartier/Wikipedia)

Starting a small business is difficult, particularly on the psychological level. Too many people allow fear and doubt to overwhelm them before they even begin. Here are some tips for dealing with fear and doubt, embracing personal growth and opening the door to business success.

Step No. 1: Accept no excuses

For all the reasons a person struggling with fear and doubt can devise as to why their small business idea won’t work, there are just as many excuse tags that can be affixed to those reasons. Not having the time, money or energy to embark on a small business venture are all ultimately short-term excuses. It’s your life, and there’s no better time to work on personal growth than the present. If you avoid making excuses, you can move forward and make things happen for yourself and your business.

Step No. 2: Let the fear pass through you

Fear and doubt plague even the most accomplished, confident people, so you shouldn’t feel alone when they impregnate your consciousness. Recognizing fear for what it is – a self-preservation instinct that can be carried to self-defeating extremes – is essential for the successful small business entrepreneur. Encounter fear head on, and only you will remain.

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

– The Bene Gesserit “Litany Against Fear” from Frank Herbert’s “Dune” (1965).

Step No. 3: Leave your comfort zone

The kind of hard work necessary to get a small business off the ground and to maintain that business isn’t comfortable. It’s a day-in, day-out process, and there’s never an off-season for a small business owner. You must be willing to do what you must, speak with the right people and go where you must – all within legal parameters – in order to make a small business work. Fear and doubt over whether you’re ready or willing will stop you cold.

Step No. 4: Choose and follow through

Wishing and hoping are easy. Taking action is hard, and it is necessary. Don’t be afraid to make the decisions that will set your small business idea in motion, and don’t doubt yourself into a pit of self-sabotage. Bold and decisive action is the best way to approach business and life in general. Once you commit to the process, you’ll be too busy to even think about failure. Even if you do stumble, don’t be afraid to stand up, make corrections and get back on course. Move forward.




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