You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

-Eleanor Roosevelt


From my work with both aspiring and wildly successful entrepreneurs, there’s one thing they experience equally – fear. Yes, the all-too-powerful emotion that can leave some dead in their tracks.

So do you know what separates the wildly successful entrepreneurs from everyone else?

It’s how they handle fear when it rears its ugly head. Some “feel the fear and do it anyway,” as Les Brown says. Others manage their explanatory style, allowing them to think and act positively and productively.

In any case, they don’t allow themselves to get bogged down or gripped by fear, and they continue taking massive action.
In this article, we’ll review some of the common fears entrepreneurs face, the questions prompting them to appear, and suggestions to overcome.

1. Fear of Failure: What If I Fail?

At the top of the list is the fear of failure. Many people have allowed this fear to completely paralyze them.

Oftentimes, a lack of self-confidence, or a past mired with ridicule for failing at something, are the culprits for having this deep rooted fear.

You overcome this by changing your thinking as it relates to failure. When you believe failure gives you the opportunity to learn, you become free. Because let’s be real, failure is going to happen – for you, for me, for everyone. At some point or another, everyone sets out to accomplish something, and they fall short – it happens.

The key is never to let a single failed event define you as a person. Instead, it should only give a definition of what to avoid in the future, so you simply pay attention. As John Wooden said, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal, it’s courage that counts.

2. Fear of Losing Money: What If I Lose All My Money?

Being an entrepreneur is risky business, and losing money is a reality for many who blaze the trail. The real question is, “How do you not lose all your money?” I’ll tell you, it’s by planning properly and working your a** off, that’s how!

When you create a business plan, there are important assumptions you make for expenses and revenue. The suggestion is to overestimate your expenses and underestimate on revenue (both in time and amounts).

Many successful entrepreneurs suggest this in the beginning stages to avoid the dreaded event of running out of capital – or going broke!

Another piece of advice is to get your personal finances – specifically your expenses – mapped out. When you do this, it gives concrete data and clear thresholds, so you know exactly where the line of “going broke” resides.

3. Fear of Success: What If I Can’t Handle It?

It seems counterintuitive, I know, but truly it’s a thing. Some people have this deeply rooted inside, and it’s akin to the fear of failure.

The fear of success is less about accomplishing goals and more about the inability to handle the accomplishments or the circumstances that will prevail afterward.

For instance, some people are concerned that being successful could ostracize them from their closest friends or family. Truthfully, in some cases, it actually can.

A cure for fear of success is accepting circumstances will change, but to only think positively about the changes. Also, keep in mind that you’ve come this far in life, so even if things change, you’ll find a way to make it through…right?

4. Fear of the Unknown: What’s going to happen?

I’ll admit, this is a tough one to battle. It’s not only scary to think about the “known unknowns,” but what about the “unknown, unknowns.” Said another way, it’s what you have no idea what you don’t know. Even that gives me the creeps sometimes – yikes.

Les Brown once asked, “why do people prefer known hells as opposed to unknown heavens?” It’s true, some people prefer the “devil they know,” but why?

In my experience, belief is the single greatest factor for overcoming the fear of the unknown. It’s the belief that you have in yourself, in your abilities, and that no matter what, you’re going to make it. For most, they have to dig deep to unlock this belief, so dig if you must, but let it rise to the surface and carry you through.

5. Fear of Social Judgement: What If People Don’t Like It (Or Me)?

Do you remember your first day of high school? I do, and it was terrifying! My head was filled with, “What will everyone think of me?” or “Will I fit in?” and even, “Will I make friends?”

It’s natural to want people to like us and our ideas, but understand, not everyone will. Some people will dislike you, your idea, your product or service, but guess what, that’s okay!

You get over this fear by taking action and getting real feedback. And once you tally up actual opinions, especially those of real customers, you can pivot accordingly, if required. Truly, it’s that simple.

Once you understand (and accept) that a percentage of folks won’t like what you do, or how you do it, well, you become free of this fear.

6. Fear of Being Inadequate: What If I’m Not Good Enough?

Everyone questions their abilities in life or business at one point or another. For many, it’s unsettling to think your intellect will be subpar or that you may fold under pressure.

However, if you hone your ability to be resourceful, well, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Think of it like this, if an obstacle presents itself and you know exactly where to turn for a solution, wouldn’t you feel at ease?

Try completing this exercise. First, consider potential obstacles you may encounter while operating your business and get them written. Next, find people or places with possible solutions. Finally, pair them together and keep them handy. With this in your possession, it will give a little confidence you’ll have direction when obstacles strike. That alone can help overcome this fear.

Final Thoughts

If nothing else, I hope this helps to identify fears you may be experiencing and injects you with a little confidence to overcome them.

As a final piece of advice, I’ll quote Eleanor Roosevelt when she said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Imagine how much you’d accomplish in life and business by facing your fears!

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Shawn Wenner

As the founder, after a decade in culinary education I decided to fuse my favorite topics in this corner of the web - education, entrepreneurship, & culinary arts. Join the growing community of culinary entrepreneurs and I hope you enjoy the site!

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