One of the biggest reasons why many entrepreneurs never reach their dreams and goals is the fears that hold them back.
Fear is an intrinsic part of human nature - every human has something they inherently fear.
For many people, that could be insects, spiders, those pesky things that show up, uninvited, to ruin your day.
When we look at entrepreneurs, we can pinpoint some commonalities in the fears that we all face.
When I trace back to all the businesses I've tried in the past, it wasn't a lack of knowledge that led to my demise, it was more the fears I felt at the time of giving up.
When I gave up my very first eCommerce business, it was due to my fears.
When I gave up on becoming a forex trader - my fears kicked in to make the final call.
When I finally decided not to pursue the marketing agency, it was my fears that led to that decision.
Humans often make choices based on the way they feel, with love and fear being some of the strongest, most bewitching emotions.
Without a proper way to tackle these fears, they can be the sole reason why you don't realise your dreams and ambitions.
Let's discuss the 5 biggest fears all entrepreneurs face, and how to overcome them.
Fear of sales
Here's a fear that a lot of people don't know they have until they actually experience it.
My very first real-world job was a commission-only salesperson job.
Prior to getting this job, all I did was go to school, and go home, trying to avoid any social interactions as much as possible unless they were with friends.
As a salesperson, I was tasked with the job of going around the neighborhood in hopes of selling the residents on gas and electricity.
For the first week, the job was great!
I was following around one of the best salespeople at the company, and he made it seem like a piece of cake.
On our first day, he managed to rack in over £200 ($300+) with relative ease. My eyes started to glow.
"I'm going to be making so much money from this job, it's absurd!"
I thought that I knew depression up until the week after that when it was my turn to go door to door.
As soon as I was left on my own, I could start to feel some tension building up within me.
It got stronger, the closer I went to my first door.
It took me a while to build the courage to knock on the door, but the shimmer of momentum I had built up immediately dissipated as soon as the first door was slammed in my face.
Door after door, my confidence and courage diminished until it couldn't get any worse.
I've never felt more rejection in such a short amount of time before, it was a nightmare.
Thoughts about quitting engulfed my mind from day 1, and it wasn't long after till those thoughts triumphed.
A few months later, I found myself heading a marketing agency with 2 of my friends.
What we didn't know was that this game was more about sales than anything else. Our success hinged on the fact that we can sell confidently to prospective clients.
When it was finally time to do sales calls, my partner and I sat on Skype and started to ring some numbers.
It took us around 15 minutes to get the first call going.
As I dialed in that first number, my heart pounded harder and harder, the more digits I inserted.
That feeling even haunts me now when I think about it.
After no more than 10 calls combined, we never got on that phone again.
We were scarred for life without even going through any real trauma.
Sales can be an extremely terrifying idea, especially to an introverted entrepreneur.
To some, sales can be the best thing in the world - when we look at movies like The Wolf Of Wallstreet, we can't help but admire how brave and confident Jordan Belfort is.
However, when we try to replicate the same sales tactics, we're immediately filled with fear that seems to ooze out of us because the prospects can see straight through it.
Unfortunately, for us, there is no way to really overcome the fear of sales.
We can only learn to deal with it.
When I used to get on sales calls for my agency, I would spend the 5-10 minutes before the call listening to calming music to rest my mind and soul.
I would try incredibly hard to tell myself that it's just a simple conversation with another human being, nothing will happen if they say no.
With sales, we fear the rejection that comes with it, we fear the 'what if X happens' situation.
Our minds start to make up random, unrealistic scenarios of what might happen if the sales call goes sideways.
Even in the book Fanatical Prospecting, the author says he doesn't enjoy sales, he's just used to it.
Practice doing sales calls, practice them going wrong, going off track.
Start to see how they're not as bad as you think, that you're just overthinking.
Start to build your own strategies and stress-management measures, like listening to music, sitting down, or even meditating before calls.
Fear of failure
I don't think anyone in the world really likes failure.
You'll hear a lot of entrepreneurs say that failure is all part of the process, which it is, however, no one really likes to fail.
If you go around and ask any entrepreneur if they like to fail, they'll tell you that they like to fail because they learn from failure.
That doesn't necessarily mean they like the feeling of failure.
It doesn't necessarily mean that when they fail, they have a big smile on their face.
Failing sucks, and if there was a way to succeed without failure, then everyone would do it.
The fear of failure is the primary reason why entrepreneurs don't succeed.
Over a third of people say that the fear of failing is the reason they don't pursue the things they want to pursue.
I'm sure if they asked, then we'd also see that another third of people say that they give up because they fear failure too.
When we fail at something, we start to build up those negative thoughts in our minds that tell us we're not good enough.
They start to tell us that we're not cut out to do what it is we're looking to do.
These thoughts then stop us from pursuing our dreams and ambitions further.
Thomas Edison, the creator of the lightbulb, puts it perfectly.
He says, "I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
See, a lot of the time, we don't actually understand what failure means.
When I 'failed' at my eCommerce business, I failed because I decided to give up.
The reason I gave up was that I thought that I had failed.
When something doesn't work, it doesn't mean we failed, it just means it didn't work.
When I spent £11 on my first business and saw £0 return, I didn't fail, I just didn't give it enough time.
However, the fact that I thought I failed eventually led to the real failure - giving up.
We just need to reimagine what we think of as failing.
When we start to fear failure, we're almost walking on eggshells which prevents us from making the decisions we need to make to succeed.
Don't think of failure as something going wrong, think of it as giving up - when you give up, you've ultimately failed.
However, when something doesn't go how you intend, it's just a learning curve.
Think about that.
Fear of uncertainty
Entrepreneurship consists of a lot of uncertainty and doing things that we're not really used to.
I like comparing starting a new business, especially in a completely new niche, as a science experiment.
There's a lot of things that can go wrong.
There's a lot of things that won't work, and you simply have to keep testing in order to see what works.
Other entrepreneurs, like Ried Hoffman, partner at PayPal, and co-founder of LinkedIn, say that building a business is like jumping off a cliff and building your plane on the way down.
He says that when you make the jump, you have a limited time before you hit the ground.
The goal is to assemble your plane before hitting the ground - and that is where your business is essentially proven to work and attract customers.
However, to reach that point, there's a lot of things you're going to be doing.
What business model will you choose?
Who's your target audience?
How will you find customers?
Where do your customers hang out?
How do we keep customers and get returning business?
How do we hire the right people?
There are a ton of factors that play into building a business, and it requires a lot of risk in most cases.
It's that element of taking on risks in uncertain situations that people fear a lot.
I, for one, am extremely against taking risks and losing.
When I first started my eCommerce business, it was the risk of losing money that led to my ultimate failure of giving up.
The same thing happened when I wanted to trade forex.
I thought that, by the time I learn how to trade forex, I'd be able to get over the fact that I hate taking on risks and putting money on the line.
When I realised that this wasn't true, I gave up.
Risk and uncertainty are inevitable in business.
We can only be sure to a certain degree what the outcome of a situation will be.
It is then in our hands to decide whether that risk is calculated, or if we're going into a field where the odds are against us.
In his book, Blitzscaling, Ried Hoffman discusses how the process of 'Blitzscaling' consists of prioritising speed over efficiency in uncertain situations.
However, for the majority of entrepreneurs, especially the newer ones, this can seem like a far cry from where they are right now.
It's difficult to overcome uncertainty because it will always be present in business.
You'll rarely come across decisions where your chances of success are 100%.
Starting a business, to begin with, has a chance of success below 10% - an extremely uncomfortable situation for those who fear uncertainty.
Once again, the simplest possible way to overcome this is by constantly stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on risks or uncertainty.
Start small and do things that help you build up that mental fortitude to take on more risk and more uncertainty.
I'm slowly working towards a point where spending money when there's a chance of making a lot more back becomes an easy decision for me.
I do this by stacking up small wins - buying a domain name, buying a subscription to something like Shopify or Amazon, etc.
When I first launched Hawk Prospecting, it took me a few days to build up the courage to launch.
Today, it takes me a few hours, maybe less, to buy everything I needed to run the business.
Fear of change
Change was one of the hardest things to overcome in my experience.
However, unlike many other fears here, change is one that you truly can overcome.
When I got my first door-to-door sales job, I was thrown into an environment I've never been in before.
All I was used to previously was my home and my school - even then, I found it uncomfortable at school a lot of the time.
It was very difficult to acclimate to the fact that I had to learn to talk to more people than I have in my entire life in a single day.
Better yet, these people all are itching to shut the door in my face because they have a negative notion about people who knock on their doors uninvited.
Overcoming fear was a process that started by taking the first step in the right direction.
I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something I've never done before.
That was not enough.
I remember one book that the owner of the company constantly told us about when we went into the office for our morning meetings.
He told us it's a short book, maybe an hour-long, and begged us to read it.
He even gave out prizes to those who read it.
At the time, I wasn't into reading just yet - I've found the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, in my sister's room, but I hadn't finished it yet.
Naturally, I ignored him until the day before I quit the job.
It has been around 2 weeks into the job, every day has built up more and more hatred towards my life and job.
My eyes would tear up on the way to work as I ask myself, "Is this really what my life has come to?"
It was far from the future I had expected only a few months earlier.
That day, I was having the worst day at work so far - and so I took to a park nearby and sat down.
As I looked around, I saw smiling faces, children laughing and playing with their parents - "what is their secret?" I asked myself.
I wanted to be that happy, and so it was time to finally make a change.
It clearly looked like what I was doing wasn't working and so I decided to spend the rest of the day listening to the book.
I downloaded the book, Who Moved My Cheese, on Audible and spent the next few hours listening to it.
It opened my mind to new ideas and possibilities, it redefined the way I thought about change all along.
The reasons a lot of people dislike change, even fear it, is because we think that change brings about negativity.
We believe that change only takes from us the things we love.
However, what we fail to see is the fact that change brings about new opportunities.
It brings about new ways of thinking.
Look at what's currently happening with technology.
Crypto, NFTs, and the metaverse are all brand new things to the majority of the world.
It's the same people who are refusing to accept that this change is inevitable and will eventually come about no matter what.
Technology will always advance, the world will keep spinning.
You can decide to join it and move forward, or get left behind.
Instead of refusing this change, you should instead think of the ways you can benefit off it as an entrepreneur.
That's what entrepreneurs do - they see opportunities and benefit from them by providing value.
A year ago, people were not making millions selling digital copies of simple drawings.
A year ago, normal people didn't make millions from a small Twitter following.
The world is changing, and it's changing fast.
It's in our best favour to change with it, and see how change can benefit us rather than trying our best to avoid it.
Fear of success
What if I told you that the one thing you think you're working towards might be the one thing you're fearful of?
What if I said that the reason you're not where you want to be is that you don't really want to be there?
I learned about the fear of success not long ago - maybe less than a year ago.
See, a lot of people self-sabotage themselves without really knowing because they may fear what success will look like for them.
We've all been raised up to believe different things.
There are people who grew up believing that only the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer.
There are people who grew up around parents who hated rich people and thought they're stuck up and manipulative.
Then there are those who grew up with somewhat rich parents who were always busy and never had time to care for them.
No matter how you grew up, these things will always be part of you no matter where you go.
Now that you're older, you might believe that you want to be successful, and you might believe that you've gotten over those thoughts and beliefs you held on to for so long.
However, whenever you're close to success, your body and mind are favoring those inherent thoughts and beliefs.
It's like a compass, it will only point you in one direction - the direction that you're more familiar with.
For others, it might not be about their beliefs as much as it is about their mind.
No matter how badly you want to succeed, your mind might be telling you, "what happens next?"
"What if you become successful and lose it all?"
"What if you become successful then X, Y, or Z?"
Whenever I came close to closing a client for my marketing agency, my brain just started turning, doing what it does best, and thinking of the worst possible outcomes.
"Let's say you close this client, what happens if you can't deliver on what you've promised? Oooooh, they're going to get angry! Then what?"
It's these thoughts that stopped me from going all out in the sales calls.
It's these thoughts that were the reason I couldn't close on the call - I self-sabotaged myself, every time.
The only way you'll succeed is when your mind and body are in harmony.
When you want to be successful, but your mind is telling you the opposite, you'll find it almost impossible to overcome.
However, when you find a way to bring the two and make them agree with each other, then you can go out and be successful.
Only then do you become unstoppable.
Those were the 5 biggest fears all entrepreneurs face and how to overcome them.
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