Whether you’re just starting to think about entrepreneurship, already working on your business idea, or about to launch, you’ve probably found yourself thinking “yes, but not now”, “not yet” or “now’s not the right time”.
It’s this type of hesitation that makes you want to revise your business cards countless times instead of going to talk to potential clients. Or similarly, that makes you delay publishing your website, waiting for the perfect provider, instead of simply launching directly on LinkedIn (by the way, we can help you with the provider, contact us!)
Fact #1: Starting your business brings forth your deep-seated fears
When faced with a new challenge, we react with a wide range of emotions: we’re excited, we panic, we’re afraid, or proud, or hesitant, … Does this seem familiar? Good news, you’re human!
The fear of starting your own business can take on many forms and occur at any point in your entrepreneurial journey. It’s perfectly normal, and can even be healthy, as long as it doesn’t hold you back indefinitely. Let’s talk about it!
Fact #2: Fear does not prevent danger
Having worked with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, we have identified the three most debilitating fears for project holders. Let’s dissect them together to learn how to recognise and overcome them.
I am not good enough…
You aren’t experienced enough, or you don’t think you’re an expert in your field. You are too old, or too young. You aren’t good enough at selling, or don’t know how to get in touch with the ecosystem… Does this ring a bell?
A lack of self-confidence, and a tendency towards perfectionism, have nipped more businesses in the bud than you might think. The only way to remedy this is to get started! Imagine yourself as the ideal version of yourself: this person who is experienced enough, expert enough, at the right age, etc. Imagine yourself having everything that you need.
Now take on that person’s confidence and their role. Project yourself, become that person that you admire, little by little.
I’m afraid of being wrong
What if this isn’t the right activity for you? How would you bounce back? How will you find your first customers? And what if this isn’t the right idea, or the right timing? What if your new range of services is not as successful as you hope? Or if your post on LinkedIn does not hit the right tone?
There we go, the notorious impostor syndrome is back, well known to entrepreneurs, whether you are facing a big decision or a small, everyday challenge. From our experience, we never really get rid of it – and it isn’t necessarily wise to try to get rid of it. Indeed, it has a use: our impostor syndrome protects us. What’s important is that we learn to live with it and not give it too much space.
The fear of being criticised or judged
How will your network react to your career change? What will your family say? Your friends? Your former colleagues… Especially if it doesn’t work out? Or if it takes longer to take off? How do you react if you make a blunder in public? Or on the contrary, if you become a success story, how will that change your relationships?
Bad news: you can never please everybody! If you launch your business, you do it for yourself, not for others. As long as you stay aligned with your values, you can hold your head high in all your endeavours, no matter what the outcome.
Fact #3: with the right practical advice, you will overcome these fears!
Do you find yourself in one of these situations? You are not alone! In addition to the tips above, here are our top three recommendations to help you regain control and overcome your fears and doubts.
Stop thinking, and start doing
Ever heard the phrase “done is better than perfect”? Take it to heart! In the start-up world, it’s often said that if the first version of your product is perfect, you should have launched it earlier! Put aside your perfectionism and take concrete action to move your project forward. The important thing is to put something tangible out there, and then you can analyse and improve it. This is the best way to ensure that you are moving in the right direction, and to improve your products and services as you go along. This is what “scientific entrepreneurship” (link in French) is all about.
Learn to take a step back
You think about it day and night, it's your baby, and... you're no longer objective about anything. It's impossible to make good decisions when you've been in the thick of it for so long. Allow yourself time to look at things from a different angle, to change your perspective. A tip that works well is to follow the advice you would give to a friend in your shoes. We often tend to give good advice but don't apply it to ourselves 😉 You can also get caring experts to play this role (and others!)
Take it step by step
Starting is good, persevering is even better! This huge start-up project can be scary, so take the time to break it down into smaller milestones, and tackle each milestone one by one, without worrying about how many still remain. Typically, if you want to climb Mount Everest, you'll need to buy some walking shoes, test them on short hikes, then go backpacking for a few days, etc. And if you have to, take it a step further: check what type of shoes are best suited for climbing Everest, then which brands sell them, go and test several pairs, etc. There is no step too small if it gets you going. Use a tool or method - the Kanban method, for example - to keep you on track and motivated!
We hear you out there: "it's easier said than done"... of course! But by implementing these tips on a daily basis, your techniques for expanding your comfort zone will become second nature and will allow you to get past the fears that are holding you back. It's worth the effort! 💪 As you develop your project, you will develop a range of skills that you would never have imagined.
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