Have you always wanted to start a business, but feel afraid of failing?

There are so many reasons we set off on the path of entrepreneurship. We have a passion to deliver, teach or create the thing we love. We know what we offer can make a difference. Or solve a problem for people. We also want to be free of the constraints of working for someone else and for our time to be our own and to be flexible. And when we put in the hours and hard work, we want to reap the rewards rather than someone else taking the lion’s share.

So why then, if we have all this passion and knowledge and talent, do so many entrepreneurs end up giving up? Or not being able to fulfil their potential, because they’re afraid of failing?

What is the fear about?

There’s the fear of getting it wrong, of it not working, of being laughed at or humiliated. The fear of not being good enough and of being rejected. Perhaps of seeming stupid, or the very real fear of losing clients or not earning enough money. Or putting in all the hard work and it never amounting to anything. 

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

What happens when we’re afraid?

Being afraid of failing stops us from taking action. It stops us from doing the things that would actually lead us towards what we want. We are unable to move towards success. To pursue the deals and strike up the partnerships that would catapult our businesses to the next level.

We have real moments of inspiration where we see exactly what we should do next. We know where our passion would kindle huge results. But then we get scared. We stop. We don’t move. And things can start to fall apart as our confidence falters and we tell ourselves off for being a slave to the fear.

But the thing is, if we do fail what happens? Admittedley, it’s not nice. We don’t feel great. But things continue. Time passes. The experience fades. Time doesn’t stop. The world doesn’t end.

In fact, we just learn. Learn what doesn’t work. Learn it perhaps wasn’t quite the right route for us. There are many ways to achieve your goals, and that the one you tried just wasn’t the right one for you. Failure makes us stronger by building our resilience – our ability to get back up and try again.

And we don’t realise just how resilient we are.

Moving forward.

How can you overcome this fear of failure and keep yourself moving forward? Here are our 5 top tips.

1. Go for progress rather than seeking perfection.

If you’re always trying to make something perfect before putting it out there, Or waiting for the perfect conditions, you will be waiting forever! Perfect doesn’t exist, and doing it so that’s it’s ok for right now is just fine. 

2. Remember why you’re doing this.

Your ‘why’ is always a big motivator. When you have to make those nerve wracking decisions or approach something that has you facing your fears, tapping back in to where you’re heading and what your future vision is can be enormously helpful. Especially if you realise that by not feeling the fear and doing it anyway you will continue to just dream rather than work towards that future. 

3. Draw on your passion.

If you’re putting off accepting a commission, signing that big client, setting up the important meeting, just do it. Remember to tap into your passion, be authentic and you can’t go wrong. Even if the outcome isn’t what you imagined, if you have given it your all.

4. Get your support network in place.

As business owners we try to do so much ourselves. Too much in fact. Whether it’s finding skilled individuals and team members, or outsourcing those things that just find too hard, or having a supportive network to ask questions and get support from. The people we surround ourselves with can make all the difference and can help allay some of our fears, and even remove others.

4. Accept that failure happens.

It’s all about developing a mindset that can adapt, adjust and keep going. The more dead ends or supposed failures we experience, the more adaptable we become. Just because something didn’t work out the way we anticipated, doesn’t mean it’s a failure or that we’re wrong. It was just an avenue explored that has taught us something on our journey. 

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start getting excited about what could go right.

Tony Robbins

As you move forward with your life and your business, remember these words. Be excited about what could go right, and what the future has in store. It’s time to stop being afraid of failing. You can also read more about developing a success mindset in The Definitive Guide to Starting a Small Business.