The top obstacle for any entrepreneur is overcoming fear
Editor’s note: Michelle Stockman works with Little Rock-based Arkansas Capital Corp. to promote entrepreneurship development around the state. Stockman earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University-Chicago in communications and fine arts, and earned a master’s in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Her thoughts on business success appear each week on The City Wire.
There is a moment in every entrepreneur’s journey that fear, anxiety and uncertainty chip away at the vision and passion that started their business journey. Through the hours of planning, preparing, building and launching the business, the moment of facing the unknown with a new business and leaving the comforts of a stable job are full of thoughts about “what if’s?”
What if this business does not allow me to make any salary for six months? What if I run out of start up funds for the business and myself? How will I cover my own bills while I wait for accounts receivables? How will I cover the business overhead if receivables are late? What if I don’t build the customer base I need? How will I get the work complete for the business if I am busy trying to find the business needed to survive during the day? The list of questions can fill up volumes in books, but every entrepreneur faces the laundry list of questions not only in start-up, but throughout the life of the business.
Fear is a crippling emotion and the number one obstacle for everyone who has entrepreneurial ambitions. While some have mastered their ability to overcome their fears, others have not. Max Lucado in his book “Fearless” notes, “We subject ourselves to a position of fear, allowing anxiety to dominate and define our lives. Joy-sapping worries Day-numbing dread. Repeated bouts of insecurity that petrify and paralyze us.”
Lucado further writes, “We fear we don’t. We fear nothingness, insignificance. We fear evaporation. We fear that in the last tabulation we make no contribution to the final sum. We fear coming and going and no one knowing … our deepest trepidation: no one cares, because we are not worth caring about.”
In business, we fear failing our friends and family, we fear losing the very money we need to show people they should care. We fear stepping outside our comfort zones to pursue a vocation that truly could bring happiness. We fear our ideas may not be sought after by others.
There comes a point in every entrepreneurial pursuit where the ideas, research and planning come to a tipping point. The tipping point is where the entrepreneur needs to face the fears racing through the mind. In this moment, the business needs you to leave the comforts of how you got to that point and take the risk that all your hard work will provide for you and your family. This is the time to make lifestyle adjustments that should lead to greater life satisfaction.
The road is never easy for an entrepreneur. The days are long, the finances are a roller coaster at best, the family life often requires more creative time management and the details are never ending. However, starting a business is the ultimate test of overcoming fears. “Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors.” Walk out and walk into a new life by overcoming your business fears.
Stockman can be reached at [email protected]