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How to Manage the 5 Most Common Fears when Starting a Small Business




{Note from Jess} This is a guest post by my friend Cassie Lee, who also wrote the excellent Street Smart Pricing series for us a few months back.

When I decided to be an entrepreneur and start my own business, I was working in a job that even though I do not hate, it certainly made me bored. Then an opportunity came that allowed me to take a couple of years off from work. I thought that if I ever wanted to start my own business, it was then or never.

Without a doubt, my ultimate goal is to eventually earn enough income that will enable me to quit my original job. The decision to step away from a regular salary into the unknown was certainly scary. It brought up all kinds of fears and almost made me backed out. I noticed that I am not the only one and every new (and not so new) entrepreneur has it.

Knowing how to manage these fears is an essential part on how to truly enjoy the entrepreneurial journey.


The Not Enough Money Fear

The number 1 fear that plagues thousands of new small business owners every single minute they are in business. Income from a business comes in flows and ebbs. You may have a month where you get a lot of sales and other months there will be crickets singing in the background. As much as we love the Hollywood themed idea of quitting your day job immediately to start a business, not many people can afford to do that.

What to do:

There are 2 ways to overcome this – you can either work part time (so you free up some time to get your business going) in a role that gives you a steady income OR you have a financial plan on how to make ends meet especially during the early years until your business begins to have a regular revenue stream. Having either one (or both in place) will lessen the fear and give you further assurance that you won’t need to scrounge your neighbour’s bins for your next meal.


The Lack of Support Fear

This fear was very prominent on my mind when I first decided to start a business. I was worried that my husband will not support my idea. Without the support of the person who is the closest to me will make me lose confidence and turn back. When you have this fear, who are the people that may not support you? How important is it to have their ‘approval’? If you answer yes, see below.

What to do:

Talk to them. Yes, it may seem daunting but it will only turn ugly if both of you focus on the lacks rather than the gains. Talking leads to understanding by both parties. Through these conversations, you will find out who truly is on your side and wants the best for you.


The Guilt Fear

Once you have your partner and everyone else that matters to you on board with your idea to start a business, a new fear may come up. It is the fear of guilt that you are putting unnecessary pressure on them to support you (financially, emotionally and physically) while you work hard in getting things up and running.

What to do:

If you are feeling guilty, ask yourself – is this something that you believe that you can pull off? Do you think that having a business is worth the sacrifices that you and possibly others may make? The guilt will never go away completely but it will be manageable. It is always good to have The Talk (see previous fear) again whenever you feel strongly about guilt at any stage of your business building.


The No Customers Fear

Starting a business always involves risks and one of the biggest is that no one will buy what you are selling. Will it be a flop? Maybe. But it could also be a raving success. If the failure is not causing financial distress then you will survive (you are more resilient than you give yourself credit for). If failure will lead to financial woes than I highly recommend to manage your money fear first (see above).

What to do:

Besides doing the usual market research and asking the right questions, there is no real way to find out whether an idea will work or not other than to actually go out there and do it. Whatever the outcome you get, you have a clear direction on what to do next.


The Wrong Decision Fear

Let’s say you start a business. You have the necessary support to do this and you managed to get customers who will buy your products. Then this new fear comes up – having your own business is not all about champagne and unicorns. It takes a lot of hard work to make a business profitable and sustainable for you.

What to do:

Whenever you are experiencing this fear, realign yourself with your reasons for wanting to start the business. Are they still valid? Are you still happy doing what you do now? People change. Priorities change. It is ok to not want to do this anymore. The good thing about this fear is that it will only happen after you have put yourself out there. Many people do not take action on their dreams but you did and this gives you the permission to also let go to pursue another dream?


I would love to hear from you – What is your biggest fear when it comes to having a business?



Cassie Lee helps entrepreneurs to be fearless, have fun, and to create a rewarding business.

Grab a copy of her “You are What you Think” ebook as the first step towards developing your ideal mindset for some serious action taking.

Cassie is hosting the Fearless Trailblazer Telesummit in February, which includes interviews with me (Jess), Kate Byrne, Dave Conrey, Caylie Price, Karen Gunton, Kate McCormak + more.


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.

What say you?