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Are these entrepreneurial fears holding you back?

By Klarna

It’s not a lack of a business plan that kills entrepreneurial dreams.

No, it’s fears – fear of being rejected, fear of making mistakes, fear of being judged, fear of not having what it takes, fear of not being unique enough, fear of being too unique, fear of financial ruin… the list goes on and on.

But don’t worry – just keep reading.

In this article we examine some of the fears that hold entrepreneurs back. We’ll identify how they materialise and walk you through the mind shifts you need to make in order to stand strong against them.  We also suggest some practical actions you can take immediately to start overcoming any of these fears that are holding you back.

We have compiled this guide with the expertise of mental advisor and trainer Johannes Hansen (www.johanneshansen.com) who has specialised in helping people bust their individual fears for more than a decade, as well as a mental advisor and coach for entrepreneurs in Sweden. He is also the author of the book Fuck your fears (to be released internationally in the autumn of 2018).

“When you approach your fears in conscious, constructive ways, you’ll dramatically improve your chances of success,” Johannes says. “If you don’t, you probably won’t take the necessary actions and eventually you’ll fail or quit.”

So are you ready to expose your fears and start dealing with them?

We’ll look into …

The fear of judgement

The fear of rejection

The fear of making a strategic mistake due to lack of knowledge

The fear of not being unique or special enough

The fear of being too unique / standing out too much

The fear of jacking up your prices – or even pushing for a sale

The fear of not having what it takes

The fear of ending up financially ruined

Here we go.

Fear of judgement

The symptoms:

  • You spend endless hours updating details on your webpage
  • You polish your brand appearance rather than improving your product or service
  • You care more about what others think of you than the impact you make and the customers you serve

 

How to update your mindset

Too many people become entrepreneurs to build their own self image, rather than to solve problems in other people’s lives. Are you one of those? Then it’s time to start thinking less about yourself, and focusing more on the needs of your customers. If you offer something that really matters, you are likely to receive criticism. As a rule of thumb, you will be criticised by a third, loved by a third, and ignored by a third. The sooner you stop polishing your facade and develop the courage to show up exactly as you are, the faster you’ll build your fanbase.

 

Action to take right now

Identify every person in your life you are trying to please. Next time you meet any of them, don’t act on the impulse to please; just be you. Spend your time and energy on friends, neighbours, customers and other business associates who appreciate the imperfect but authentic version of you. It will build your strength and confidence.

Fear of rejection

The symptoms:

  • You don’t have as many customers as you would like – or any at all yet
  • You have a list of potential customers, collaborators or resellers to call, but avoid dialing the numbers
  • You avoid presenting yourself to people at conferences, meetups, industry fairs and network events – or don’t even attend

 

How to update your mindset

You need to reframe what rejection means. Stop thinking of rejection as a bad thing and instead view it as another step to building your business. You can’t develop a thriving business without getting an unbelievable number of “no”s, especially at the start of your journey. Adopt a mindset of allowing yourself to be rejected more; in fact try to get as many “no”s as possible. Personally approach your potential customers, just to hear them say “no”. As you throw yourself out there, you will inevitably gain a much better understanding of how your customers think and what they need and want. You’ll discover how to better match your offers to people’s problems and desires. And as you do stumble upon an occasional “yes”, you’ll build up a picture of who your ideal customers are and under what conditions they are most open to you. Getting rejections is the path to acceptance.

 

Your next action

Do you have a list in your head of specific people you have avoided getting in touch with? Good. Start to contact them immediately. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is they say “no” – and that will just help you get closer to success. Still not sure? Until you break the pattern of procrastination, it will never go away.

Fear of making a strategic mistake due to lack of knowledge

The symptoms:

  • You are indecisive, frequently change your mind, or often revisit previous decisions
  • You procrastinate
  • You always feel the need to read one more book, participate in one more course, attend one more seminar, or fix one more small thing on your website before you’re “ready”

 

How to update your mindset

Your breakthrough won’t come from another book, course or seminar. It’s unlikely you’re lacking in knowledge. Where you fall short is equivalent experience from the field.  Reading about becoming a great soccer player year after year – or even buying professional shoes – won’t make you a great soccer player. There are a few key activities a soccer player must practice again and again to become successful, and there are no ways around them: passing the ball, receiving the ball, shooting the ball, running fast, field position, etc. Success comes down to focusing on 7-10 key activities and practising them again and again.

 

Next action to take

Get a coach, mentor or advisor who will hold you accountable to focusing on the key actions that lead to success in any business: getting in touch with prospects constantly, building and nurturing relationships, clarifying needs, making more offers, developing affiliate partners, improving your product(s), and so on.

Fear of not being unique or special enough

The symptoms:

  • You lose motivation if you find out your idea has been done before
  • You avoid niches or product ranges that are offered elsewhere

 

How to update your mindset

The search for uniqueness is one of the main reasons young businesses fail. Most “uniqueness seekers” want to be original to the point that no-one really understands what they sell. If someone occasionally comes close to understanding what the business is about and says “So you are like Netflix for sofas?”, they immediately kill that chance of creating a connection by saying “no no, not like that”. Don’t be one of them. Instead, be easy to understand and devote your energy to deciding what experience you want to deliver better than everyone else – something your market is hungry for – and then focus on that. Every successful product, service, marketing campaign, online store or webpage out there is, in fact, a combination of old ideas.

 

Next action to take

Go talk to your prospective customers. Ask: “What would you like me to offer, based on what you already appreciate and use?” Discuss ideas: “What would be really appealing to you?” Give them an opportunity invest in a pilot or the first iteration of a product, and listen and learn from their responses.

Fear of being too unique / standing out too much

The symptoms:

  • You think: “What if I come across as taking up too much space?”
  • You worry that people will think you’re weird, dress differently, have a strange way of talking, are too loud, etc.

 

How to update your mindset

Standing out from the crowd is one of the best things that can happen to your business. Companies spend millions and billions to have us remember them – but for you, it comes naturally. Good for you!

 

Next action to take

Google your role models, and ask yourself: Do any of them play it safe?

Fear of jacking up your prices – or even pushing for a sale

The symptoms:

  • You are not earning enough profit to continue developing your business
  • You feel uncomfortable charging as much as you would like
  • You set your prices without testing what your customers are willing to pay
  • Your low price points aren’t part of a strategy, but you justify them by thinking things like “I’m new in this business” or “The product is not good enough yet”
  • You feel like you always have to give a discount

 

How to update your mindset

Money is compensation for the value your product brings to your customer. You create value by helping people solve a problem or by bringing delight to their life in some way. And you know what? The lower your price point, the less valuable they will perceive your product to be. If you are stuck in the trap of offering lower prices out of fear, you need to ask yourself the following question: What does the future hold if you don’t bring in more money to your business? Maybe it’s better to write off your business now rather than later? The fear of charging enough money is one of the most common reasons lifestyle entrepreneurs drop their business plans.

 

Action to take right now

Next time you talk to a potential customer in person, set a price you really want to be paid. After making the offer, keep quiet and wait for the response without feeling that you have to justify it.

Fear of not having what it takes

The symptoms:

  • You don’t take opportunities right in front of you
  • You start disqualifying yourself, coming up with reasons why you are not the right person
  • The opportunity feels scary to you, so you say no
  • You pull back even though you initially have said yes

 

How to update your mindset

First, realise everyone in the world has these feelings. You are not alone. But if you want to grow yourself as a person as well as your business, feeling inadequate isn’t a reason to say no to opportunities. On the contrary, it’s the reason you should say yes. You need challenges to build your mental muscle of self-belief. Use your feelings of inadequacy as fuel to push yourself forward. And stop obsessing over self-focused questions like “Am I capable of pulling it off?” or “How will I be perceived?”. Instead, start obsessing over how you can deliver the most value to your customers.

 

Action to take right now

Write a list of all the projects you have done that went well. Once you are done, ask yourself: “Did I know everything that would go on this list when I started writing?”. You probably didn’t. Still, you managed to complete the task by simply starting and getting into it. You can complete your next challenging project in just the same way.

Fear of ending up financially ruined

The symptoms:

  • You wake up in the middle of the night worrying about money
  • You try to save money learning everything yourself that experts could do in their sleep

 

How to update your mindset

Entrepreneurs commonly worry about ending up on the street or losing their house and other possessions. But such catastrophic things don’t happen overnight, do they? Such financial ruin is a consequence of ignoring your finances over a significant period of time and not realising in advance how bad and ugly it’s about to get if costs are not cut, or if additional income isn’t added. Of course, starting your own business is a financial risk. That’s why you should challenge your fears and actually put in the work. Make your plan, take control. Be bold, but not stupid.

 

Next action to take

Stay on top of your finances by working with a pro that can help you to understand the numbers. That will give you a focused mind and the assurance that you know what is going on in your business. Even if the situation is bad, becoming aware of the reality puts you in a position to do what’s necessary; hiding from it will get you nowhere.