Today I was asked by Mark S. on Facebook, “How did you do it, Barb?” This was referring to how to not be afraid to start a business. I started to respond, with an instant answer, something like “just have faith,” but decided to instead reflect on it a bit. In 2011, I will celebrate 24 years of being in business. In this series I share twelve tips on how to not be afraid to go into business. The first four are: Facing Fear, Having A Compelling Why?, Opportunity, and Timing.
- To Fear or Not to Fear Is Not the Deciding Factor: I started my business in 1987 and I can’t honestly say that I was not afraid back then for I’m sure that I was. But, what I can say is, if you are afraid, DO IT ANYWAY! You will be afraid sometimes; that’s life. The only way to overcome fear is to face it. If you allow all of those negative “What If” questions to take hold, you’ll never go into business. Sometimes that fear is cathartic, other times it’s cancerous. If it points out essential knowledge, skills, and resources you need, acknowledge it and then figure out how to get what you need.Our decisions are either FEAR-based or FAITH-based, one excites you the other paralyzes you. But in the end, fear is only a thought. And, you have to consciously focus on that thought in order for it to derail you. So don’t focus on what you fear! If you want to start a business, you have a lot to be thinking about, the name, the business structure, the product, the team, the marketing (benefits), the money, the audience, the delivery method etc. Once you decide you have something viable to offer, focus on that and you’ll have very little time left over to just worry.
- Must Have A Compelling Why?– You must start by asking yourself the question, “Why do I want to go into business?” The answer to that question must be compelling enough to carry you through the fear, the doubt, the naysayers, the frustration, and the despair that you will probably experience at some time. My “WHY” was that I wanted to work at home, to be able to guide and protect my kids. My older son had gotten into drugs in high school even though my husband and I came home every day from work and was with him. We didn’t understand or notice the subtle changes of a teen, and being our first teen, shrugged it off as just “teenage puberty.” At that time, I had another teen son, and after the birth of my first daughter I made a goal to figure out a way to work from home. I didn’t know how I was going to do it at that time. In retrospect, none of that really mattered anyway. The universe takes care of ‘how’ for committed faithful people. I just had to DECIDE to do it and set a goal. If you’ve got something that the world needs, share it! My compelling ‘WHY’ was to save my kids and I didn’t want them to be latch-key kids. My “WHY” kept me going through the fear.
- Seize the Opportunity and Just Do It!= There will never be a perfect time to go into business. Although I had set a 6-year goal to go into business, I actually accomplished it within a couple of years. I had to decide to do it and then start doing it. I’d like to say I had a great plan, but I didn’t at first. Some read a book about how to drive and then drive. Others, like myself watch other people and then just do it. I learned how to be in business by “just jumping in. It was “sink or swim,” so I learned how to swim. Now if you’ve got the option to dip your feet in the water, by all means, do that if that will ease your fear. Now, I’ve found that only serious wholehearted and unlimited faith, hard work, and tenacity will keep you going, but first you’ve got to get going.
- Don’t Wait for the Perfect Time– There never will be a perfect time. And, it was not the perfect time for me either. I was 7 months pregnant, laid off from my job, had a teen on drugs, had no money to start a business, and within a couple of months I would be giving birth to my 5th child. But, I didn’t allow excuses into the equation; I focused on my ‘WHY.” I had to act like I was in business. So I started telling folks, setting up my office, and preparing myself. Word, got around and I got some business and was “in business.