BusinessStartups

How to Work Up the Courage to Finally Start a Business

3 Mins read

If you’ve always been an employee of a company, the thought of starting a business is equal parts exciting and nauseating. While there’s clearly upside, it’s hard not to become intimidated by the risk. But as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, you have to work up the courage and dive in!

5 Ways to Find the Courage

Courage is really just a fancy word for having the guts to do something. It’s not a magical trophy that you suddenly receive. It’s not something that you can put on a resume or hang on a wall. It’s simply a strong resolve to do hard things even when the outcome is unknown and intimidating.

Having said all of that, here are some specific tips that entrepreneurs say are helpful in finding the courage to take that initial plunge:

1. Choose the Right Niche

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can’t be anything you want to be. You can try – but you’re much more likely to be successful if you start a business in a niche or industry where you have some experience and a whole lot of passion.

If you have an idea for starting a restaurant, but aren’t much of a foodie and have no experience working in a restaurant environment, it’s probably not a good idea. But if you love coffee and have experience working at farmers markets, a food truck that sells coffee could be viable.

The right mixture of experience, passion, and opportunity will help you land on a business opportunity that has a chance to be successful.

2. Get Over Your Desire for Perfection

If you’re waiting until you have everything figured out to launch your business, you’ll never take off. Instead, you’ll find yourself grounded on the runway while you wait to take that next course, read another book, save up enough money, or find a business partner. It’s about progress, not perfection.

When you get over your desire for perfection and just go for it, you’ll feel a huge sense of relief. Yes, there will be some mistakes and embarrassing mess-ups. But in the long run, you’ll be so much further ahead. You’ll learn, pivot, and grow.

3. Find a Support Team

It’s helpful if you have a team of people around you. Not employees or co-founders necessarily – but people that you can tap for encouragement, support, and help. Examples include:

Outsource tasks where you lack skill and passion and/or find super intimidating. If, for example, you’re a creative type who likes producing content and designing graphics, you might hire an IT support company to deal with the backend tech. This frees you up to focus on other areas where you’re skilled.

Find a mentor or accountability group of other entrepreneurs and small business owners who can encourage you, call you out, and offer suggestions.

There are ways to build a support team without leaving a bloated payroll in your wake. Be smart and intentional about how you align yourself with others.

4. Run a Worst-Case Exercise

Have you ever paused to consider why you’re scared? In other words, why are you so hesitant to start a business? If you’re honest with yourself, the fear is less practical than you realize.

If you want to nix fear in a hurry, run a worst-case scenario exercise. You do this by writing down the absolute worst-case situation of starting the business. (It could be bankruptcy, embarrassment, losing a friend, etc.) And while you certainly don’t want this worst-case scenario to play out, the exercise gives you context.

Ask yourself: If this outcome happens, will I be okay? Then, assign a probability of it actually happening. If the answer to the first question is “yes,” and the answer to the second one is 10%, then it’s a no-brainer. You do it!

5. Set Digestible Goals

There’s nothing wrong with having a vision for where you want to be in three to five years, but these long-term goals aren’t practical in your daily life. You need digestible goals that you can reach for over the short term. This includes weekly and quarterly goals with tangible checkpoints that quickly measure how you’re performing. Be specific!

Put Yourself Out There

Courageous people aren’t always the most experienced or successful. But they’re filled with meaning, purpose, and a surprisingly low amount of regret. That’s because they take action and do things that help them grow and mature.

Perhaps you needed to hear this message. Whether it’s an idea for a startup, a possible side hustle, or a new product within an existing business – courage comes from within. Either you choose to act on it, or you’ll continue to watch opportunities pass you by.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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