How to overcome anxiety and fear when starting your new business

How to overcome anxiety and fear when starting your new business
Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial

Posted: Thu 12th May 2022

Being an entrepreneur is an adventure. You haven't chosen an easy path and, as a result, you're open to a variety of emotions: fear, anxiety, loneliness, euphoria, frustration and stress. But don't be mistaken: you aren't alone in this.

In this blog, we look at why people feel fear and anxiety – specifically in the world of business and entrepreneurship – and set out some simple tips and guidance on how you can overcome it.

What anxiety means

Anxiety is an emotion that arises from uncertainty. When setting up your new business, you might feel anxious because you lack a clear view of what's going to happen. Unfortunately, you can suffer anxiety due to several reasons:

  • There's too much to do at once: The key is to be well organised. Be the master of your own time and not the other way around.

  • Having tight finances: Make sure your new business has good capital, send out invoices on time, don't delay chasing late payments and, ultimately, bring in some money.

  • A lack of self-confidence: If you've got this far after months of management and meetings, you should persevere. Don't stop. You're an entrepreneur, so don't be afraid to forge ahead.

How fear plays a part – and ways to overcome it

Fear also features heavily in the entrepreneur's rather intense world. This is entirely normal and necessary. However, you can overcome fear by conquering and mastering it. Here are some reasons why you might feel afraid when setting up a business.

Fear of financial difficulty

It's common knowledge that starting a new business is more of a risk than being a paid employee. But just because you're working for (and being paid by) someone doesn't always guarantee job security.

Always keep in mind that entrepreneurs have access to a wide range of help from public organisations (such as local authorities) when launching and growing a new business.

Fear that your idea is too strange

Worrying that your business idea isn't worth much or is too 'niche' is totally normal. But it's likely that your new business won't end up exactly resembling your original idea. This is because you need to adapt to the market and develop your product.

So, launch your initial idea, then create it according to the feedback you receive, as well as what your initial customers want and need from you.

Fear of failing

Naturally, anyone can fail. Building and growing a new business is a challenging task. Also, it isn't always clear what the right approach might be.

Work on your ability to learn from mistakes (and successes!). Take your time, educate and train yourself, and find a good support network to turn to (see Why having a support network is crucial below). After all, you aren't alone.

The biggest fear any entrepreneur can feel is not having taken the plunge in the first place. You could bitterly regret this for the rest of your life.

Why having a support network is crucial

Directing and managing a new business can be hectic and sometimes chaotic. Yet being a founder can be very lonely, especially during times of crisis and stress. Of course, if you aren't well organised, you'll encounter these difficulties frequently.

But you don't have to feel lonely. Reaching out to other people can be hugely beneficial, and having a solid professional network to rely on is essential. Here's how to build a network:

  • New business communities (co-working spaces or incubators), other entrepreneurs, business experts and investors can play an important role in supporting you in making business decisions.

  • Face-to-face or online events and workshops related to being an entrepreneur. You'll meet other entrepreneurs, and some will also share your worries and concerns.

  • Build a strong relationship with business mentors and organisations that support new companies, as this is a great sparring opportunity. You'll engage and have productive conversations that give you perspective when deciding between various courses of action.

On a personal level, you can also do the following:

  • Rely on your family. Those who are close to you will be by your side when times are good and especially when times are bad.

  • Try to keep up your regular social activities (sport, hobbies, cultural activities etc.) and look for ways to build your network of contacts.

Being an entrepreneur may seem like a reckless adventure full of extreme emotions. The path can be long, narrow and a little hostile at times. But always remember: you're not alone.

Relevant resources

Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial
I'm Enterprise Nation's senior content manager, and I spend most of my time working on all types of content for the small business programmes and campaigns we run with our corporate, government and local-authority partners.

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