By Debbie Larry-Izamoje
I think most people just jump into business without the mental capacity to handle it. A lot of people are unaware that there’s so much more to running a business than having a start-up capital and a great idea.
Although these things definitely make the journey smoother, they don’t completely erase the fears that might pop up once or twice on your journey. So I’ve decided to share some very common fears entrepreneurs have, and how to handle them if you are finding yourself dealing with any.
This will most likely happen to you in the first three years of starting your business – especially if you started off with little or no experience. The imposter syndrome is feeling like a fraud or fake despite your knowledge in a field. 70% of successful people have suffered from this.
It is so dangerous, as it slowly zaps you of your confidence and usually crawls on people very slowly. I like to say that if it were an insect it would definitely be a tsetse fly. This neurotic imposture, makes you feel unworthy of success so when you do get clients, you feel lucky and sometimes find it hard to discuss your business with others for fear of being “exposed”.
Now, the imposter syndrome makes sense for people who are actually frauds or selling fake items, and this article is in no way for those people. But if all you’re trying to do is make the world better with your products or services, then you shouldn’t be feeling like an imposter.
If this sounds like you, all hope is not lost. You must understand that the only reason you feel this way is that you’re aware of all the things you don’t know, but this doesn’t mean that you’re an imposter. I mean, how many of our teachers had answers to all our questions.
Accept that you do know what you’re offering and you’ve had a huge role to play in your journey so far. Don’t attribute your success to good luck and stop comparing yourself to others in your field. Ensure that your product or service is providing value. Always remember that being wrong or not knowing everything doesn’t make you an imposter and if you the thought crosses your mind just say this out loud “ this is the impostor syndrome and I choose not to believe it”.
Fear Of Failure
The term failure is very broad and subjective. Failure to some people means low cash flow, to others it means inability to reinvent the business, to some it might even mean running the business without a great team. I know a major fear entrepreneurs have is that of money. And we need clients to pay so as to get this money right? So every month the question is: how do I get clients this month?
To deal with the fear of failure you must go back to the books. Ask yourself why you’re so afraid and what the worst that can happen is. Getting that knowledge will help you know where and how to tackle your fears. Every time I’m gripped by the fear of failure, I contact a mentor immediately, as I know my voice of reasoning might not be objective at that moment. I also tackle problems by asking what the three immediate things I can do are. You must also understand that the presence of fear doesn’t always mean something in the business is wrong. Sometimes our mind plays tricks on us and this is why you must be intentional with the information you feed yourself as a business person.
Fear of letting others down
I sometimes look at my team and realize that not only am I responsible for each and every one of them, I am responsible for the earnings in their household. I cannot explain in words the pressure this mounts on me during our down times but over the years, it’s a fear I have learned to handle. Apart from salaries, there are days or even months where you just might not feel like it. Waking up in the morning might feel like a stretch and you have zero motivation to do anything. And rather than focus on your mental health, you start to think of the many people counting on you.
I’ve come to understand the importance of building a business that does not require your presence to function and you must understand this too. The minute you put structures in place, you’ll be able to take care of yourself and better care of your business. Also, understand that you cannot please everyone, my mentor recently showed me the importance of hiring just a few people to reduce the pressure of large monthly bills.
Always remember that the more fears you overcome, the higher your chances of staying in business. What are your greatest business fears and how do you handle them?