soaring eagle
Overcoming fear
The number one issue in entrepreneurship is not financing; it is overcoming fear of starting up. Learn from my experience to help you overcoming your fear.

I am not a born entrepreneur – I was too afraid of going on my own. I felt that I know too little and chicken out easily when thinking about starting up businesses.

However, a personal issue has helped me to fire walk between working for others to entrepreneurship. It’s a classic issue, really – many people also face what I face early in my entrepreneurship career.

My tipping point from “employee-ship” to “entrepreneurship”

I finally completed my postgraduate degree back in 2004. With my MBA degree, I was looking into the future… not too optimistic. I knew I am not a corporate material. I don’t like plunging myself in the socially-accepted 9-to-5 way of working. I have a tendency to think that 9-to-5 jobs are modern-day slavery and kill creativity.

Unfortunately, my environment is not so supportive toward the idea of entrepreneurship. I am raised in a family that favours 9-to-5 office work. The ultimate plan is to be a big company CEO or Commissioner. I didn’t know any other way than applying for a job in a good company, and stick long enough – maybe in 30 years – or hopping around to better companies to get to where I should be.

Fortunately, my job search ends. Not because I found a dream job, but because I can’t find a proper job with my qualification in a long 9-month period. I try to follow my cousin’s entrepreneurship path, but our styles are conflicting, resulting in a good business idea gone bad.

And, oh – I forgot to mention that I have a family to support. I was doing “odd” jobs and I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, yet.

Then I’ve had enough. Such problems – personal finance problems – lead me to take the entrepreneurship path. I have no other choice: It’s entrepreneurship or die. No backing off.

Lessons learned: Your personal problems can help you overcoming fear in entrepreneurship

My personal issues help me to go the distance and to be where I am right now – and beyond. Indeed, your personal issues are probably the biggest driving factor for you to be able to start a business and thrive.

A colleague started a successful business because of the death of a family member due to illness. Another colleague started a successful business because he was broke.

I was near-broke, and this left me with no other choice. It’s even more fearful than the fear itself. Compared to the fear of starting-up business, I fear being broke more. This propelled me to start my first business. Not a successful one, but failure is a learning process. I’m not considering myself “successful” today, but I am able to use my limitations as motivational power to get me going – and it worked.

So, to sum up, here are some tips on how to use your personal problems to help you overcoming your fear in entrepreneurship:

1. Use your personal issues as motives to “force” yourself into entrepreneurship

Business failures, personal finance problems, family issues, etc. – you need to use those to your advantages. You see, people (well, most people) need challenge; you actually do your best when you are presented with challenges. This is why many business mentors advise us not to learn from our successes; successes lead to procrastination; failures lead to focused effort.

2. Entrepreneurship is about choices

It’s all up to you – do you want to drown yourself in sorrow leading you to depression or do you want to pick up the pieces and move on? It’s your life, anyway – you obviously don’t want to ruin it!

3. Don’t run from fear; befriend it

Running away from your fear of starting up won’t do you any good. Unless you don’t really like the idea of running your own show, you need to befriend fear if you want to be successful. Use fear to have you prepare things better; use fear to double check, even triple check your business startup preparation; use fear to prepare a safety net when things go bad.

4. Always have Plan B, Plan C and Plan D

Die-hard entrepreneurs go all-out; some even start things up without proper planning, and succeed. Unfortunately, not all of us born with such entrepreneurship perk. To overcome your fear, it’s probably best for you to prepare for the “what-ifs.” Having answers ready for your doubts can double your courage to take on big entrepreneurship steps.

Anything to add from your personal experience? Please do so by commenting on this article.

Ivan Widjaya
I’m afraid of starting ups – but I am doing them, anyway.