Fear is powerful.
According to a lot of recent articles I’ve read, one of the biggest issues for people considering the entrepreneurial life is fear. Especially people who haven’t clarified their goals, so they are at the mercy of fear.
Fear of the instability of earnings, of not being able to attract new business, of not being able to make ends meet. Probably (although this is highly subjective) there’s less fear about whether they can produce good quality work.
Mind you, for many salaried workers these days, there are also a fairly heavy set of fears.
Fear of being made redundant, fear of losing work/life balance through having to work insane hours to keep the job, fear of working for the boss from hell.
A sort of “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” scenario.
In both instances, you can be consumed by the fear. Or having established your goal, you can take positive steps to address each of the issues provoking the fear reaction.
In other words, break it down into its constituent parts. Fear is a very powerful but often generalized emotional response. Your goal on the other hand is specific and measurable.
Once the fear’s been broken down you will find that you’re quite able to deal with most of the specific aspects, which should reduce the overall fear response.
I suspect that once fear has been broken down like that, it can never assume the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” size again.
Suzanne Jeffers’ book “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” saved my life when it first came out 20 years ago. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re feeling the least bit fearful about becoming an entrepreneur; or have made the transition and are worrying yourself sick.
For me, the most powerful antidote to that fear I felt 20 years ago was Taking Action. To do that, according to Jeffers, you need to take action on each bit of the fear, even while still feeling the emotion.
The activity quickly dispels the negative emotion because you get this delicious “that wasn’t so bad!” feeling, followed shortly by “Huh! You know what, I CAN do this! “We
You’re a small business at the moment. You need to act like a highly efficient business. Acting that way will reduce your uncertainty and enable you instead to become (and stay) highly positive and optimistic.
You will need at a minimum:
A clear, compelling, measurable goal: “I will start my business on (date) with my brand, website, product/service ad materials, audience location and social media campaign ready to roll out. Plus, a payment mechanism in place.”
This business goal encompasses…
A brand that represents your personality and style which enables you to STAND OUT and be noticed.
An extremely clear view of what you’re selling, for how much, and who to (and an equally clear view of what you’re NOT selling – You MUST NOT try to be all things, to all people, at any price).
A fit-for-purpose website which is intuitively easy to navigate and ridiculously fast.
A marketing strategy for getting to, and engaging with, your target audience.
A process for defining EXACTLY what you’re doing for the client, how much you’re charging and your Ts &Cs. This is to avoid you doing too much for free… which you should rightly be scared rigid about!!!
Core business admin processes for quoting, invoicing, chasing debt and so on.
A successful method for juggling your timeto meet your business priorities (such as getting new clients while servicing existing clients) and running your business and your life.
A process for quickly and professionally resolving the inevitable breakdowns. Things like dealing with the unreasonable client, chasing unpaid invoices, being let down by suppliers, having something from your private life intrude on your business life.
Here’s a little technique I was given at the same time 20 years ago when I was immobilized by fear:
“Respond, don’t react”.
Give yourself time to consider the BEST thing to do, which may not be the FIRST thought that comes rushing into your head!
There are no guarantees in life. But the best way to deal with the fear of uncertainty, is to take well thought out, measurable, achievable actions to bring certainty into play.
And remember, as an entrepreneur, you have MUCH MORE FREEDOM TO ACT than the average salary slave.
Stay confident and focused on your business goals and targets.
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