As an Entrepreneur, You Will Face Many Fears

As a new entrepreneur, we are often racked by fear and end up putting important steps off, or giving up too early. I know, as I have faced these fears in the past.

Here are 10 fears that entrepreneurs can face and how to deal with them. Four that I have experienced myself and six more that I have learned about from other entrepreneurs.

Fear is often called False Evidence Appearing Real I.e we think something bad is going to happen but it is unlikely as there is nothing pointing to that thing that we fear eventuating… or in my words fear could stand for Focus Everything At Reality. Don’t stress over what you think might happen, but be willing to learn, make mistakes, get up again and face your actual situation head on.

Entrepreneurs must take risks and do some things that they have never done before. Maybe even take steps that no one has taken before. When you are an employee, your boss and your company provides the product, the direction, the place it will be sold, the marketing and sets the prices – and also takes all the risks. You are paid for the hours you put in, so there need be no fear… unless you are not delivering what is expected of you… then you might fear being laid off one day.

When you are setting up a business on your own, wanting to become a successful entrepreneur, you will invest some capital (money) and put in a lot of your time before you see results. And yes, you will take risks… and all this can cause you stress and cause the blanket of fear to settle on your shoulders.

Entrepreneurs often have plenty of time, but not enough money, especially in the beginning – so lack of money can be a fear.

I spent 30 years as an employee in financial services and had few, if any fears. Granted I studied, worked hard and rose to the top and was CEO for the final 10 years of my career, but now that I am on the entrepreneurial path, I have faced a number of fears. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being in the wrong place, the wrong niche, at the wrong time, fear of maybe focussing on the wrong things… all these things, these fears, have rattled through my head from time to time.

Fear can lead to paralysis (I must admit here that I have been known to procrastinate at times), and so fear can invite us to look for reasons not to do what we know we need to do, in order to make progress.

Here are some of the fears that I have faced as I embarked on my journey from employee to entrepreneur.

1. What if I get no customers? When I was a restaurant owner, that was my biggest fear. I had the rent to pay, staff on duty, we had done all the prep and paid for all the provisions… but what if no-one came to my restaurant? Of course, this fear was often unwarranted, as we provided great value and offered a really friendly atmosphere, in a good location. But that fear was still there. In any enterprise, you will need customers, but if you follow through with a good product, good communication and great service, your customers will come.

2. What if I can’t feed my family? This is a follow on from the first fear. A new entrepreneur will often wonder what will happen if he or she doesn’t earn enough revenue to cover costs and leave something over for themselves. This is often the case in the early years, when the entrepreneur can’t pay themselves a decent wage from the enterprise as the business is in the early growth phase. In fact, the fear of not having enough capital to put into the business until it is up and established is often enough to cause one to give up. But a good system, that is followed consistently, will usually get you to a break-even and then a profitable point in the not-too-distant future. In the end, this lack of strong revenue growth led me to sell my restaurant, as the overheads were just too high for the level of revenue we received, thus leaving me with little for my efforts at the end of the day.

3. What if the worst happens? What can be worse than no customers and hence no money for the family? Well, some disaster could wreck the joint – I had some strong winds blow in my restaurant’s front wall to ceiling glass doors on two occasions – and could not open for a few days each time. But luckily I had insurance. Many times we think the worst and worry for no reason. So we need to stay positive, make allowances for if some disaster does strike, but not dwell on that fear.

4. Fear of what your family and friends will think. This is a big one when we go into a venture that we feel our family may disapprove of – oftentimes because they lack the knowledge. Network marketing is one such example and when I joined a network company in my early years, I tried not to talk to my family or friends about this, in case they would disapprove, or even laugh at me. But as I realised more and more that most successful businesses are done via building up networks of customers and suppliers, and marketing to them, I soon realised that this fear was baseless. In fact just the opposite – the bigger your network, the easier the marketing.

All these fears are there with many new business owners, but all have solutions. And one solution to these fears is to make sure you follow a good system, and that you have good and ongoing support, from a mentor if you are new to the industry.

But remember, with the risks that an entrepreneur must take, come opportunities. And it is these opportunities that will eventually lead you to that point of success, when you can stand back and say to yourself, “It was hard, it took longer than I planned, but it was fun, I made some great friends and WooHoo! I am now a successful entrepreneur.”

These next six fears have been shared with me by other entrepreneurs.

1. Not being clear on where to start – if you don’t know where to begin the journey, or when you feel you lack enough information to make a good go if it, then you will be more fearful of taking that first step, or even falter at the first hurdle and consider giving up. I’ve been there. If you follow a good system, with good leadership, this will help you clarify where you want to go, to understand your WHY, what you want to achieve and how best to do it. So spend some time with your mentor, before you start implementing your business plan, to make sure these things are clear in your mind, and that you know where you can go for answers.

2. Not having enough information – lack of knowledge, or information, is often the reason for our hesitancy and cause us to procrastinate. With the technology driven information era that we are in, as mentioned in my earlier article, we should never be short of information on what to do next. Google and YouTube are just two sources of valuable information that you can access to find a way out of your dilemma. And if you are in the right business, your leadership will be able to point you to training and information that others before you have proven will work.

3. Not being committed to your goal– This is a big fear for those who are working full time (an employee) but setting out on the entrepreneurial path on a part time basis. What if I can’t put in enough time, or get distracted by my job? If you want to be successful, you can’t just do the entrepreneur stuff now and then, when you have some spare time. Even when it is a part time business, or a side gig, as Mel calls it, you still need to make it ‘full time’ by focussing on it regularly and systematically. Even one or two hours of an evening, after dinner, can be enough to get a business established and growing consistently. Again, by following a good system and learning from those who have gone before you, together with your focus and commitment, you can create the value you are looking for.

4. Not taking the necessary action – This is a follow on from point 3, well, on all the points so far, as in the end, thinking, planning and strategising are not enough. You need to do something, take action, to move your enterprise along. Most of the problems in small businesses result from bad decisions (not enough thought as to the right steps) and poor execution (not doing the right thing well enough). It is often at this point that people freeze and the fear of failure paralyses them. “What if I do something wrong?” But remember, taking risks is all about learning from your mistakes. Many of today’s successful entrepreneurs have made many mistakes along the way. Again, by following a sound proven system, and doing what your leaders have done before you with good results, can increase your chance of success. So take action and consistently execute your plan.

5. Not having the right support – on occasions in my past I have tried to do things my way, pooh-poohing the advice of others. And these have often not worked out well. So, you will not only want to find some professional support for your venture, such as a bookkeeper and maybe a lawyer, but you will also need moral support, from family and team members. Team? Well, yes, oftentimes, there are opportunities to build a team around you who can help you with your new business venture. Involve these people in your mission and explain to them why you are doing what you have set out to do. And if you do find a good mentor, communicate with them regularly, as they are there to help you when you come across a hurdle, as you inevitably will.

6. Not having a back-up plan – things don’t always go to plan and so now and then, having an alternative approach will be useful. Don’t change your target, your goal or your destination, but often there may be a different route that you can take. So keep your destination the same, while having a number of ways that you can reach it.

WOW! with so many things to fear, you might well be wondering if it is all worth it. Well, as I mentioned a few times, having a good system and following it, together with strong leadership and mentoring, can reduce and even eliminate the fears that will arise from time to time. The system I am following has helped me address all 10 fears mentioned in this article.

I invite you to have a look at my system on my website – see below- and see how it can help you on your path to becoming a successful entrepreneur and also help to reduce or eliminate many of the fears you will face.

 

How To Stay Alert And Aware As An Entrepreneur

What makes a successful entrepreneur? Of course, the answer to that is many different things but one of them is definitely their ability to know what is going on within their own industry, within the world of business in general and especially with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.

Successful business owners keep up on what is going on and stay informed of the latest trends, market shifts and opportunities so that they can take any advantage they can get to make their business grow. So, how they stay in the loop so successfully?

#1 Successful Entrepreneurs Talk to Other Entrepreneurs

People there in business for themselves don’t exist in a vacuum. Besides their customers, suppliers and all of the other support systems that they have around their business, they also have friends and colleagues that are also entrepreneurs and keeping up with these people is one of the best ways that they have a staying informed.

Whatever the virtual water cooler happens to be of these entrepreneurs – usually a forum or social media network – they share information, give advice and keep each other updated about entrepreneurship.

#2 Successful Entrepreneurs Read (A Lot!)

One thing that you will notice about those successful in the business world is they tend to read publications, websites or even social media posts about their business – and that includes books by some of the most successful motivational authors.

The successful people like to stay informed and they like to learn new things. There is so much information on the Internet that you could spend decades learning about a subject and still not know everything about it and being as informed as possible is equal to being as successful as possible.

#3 Successful Entrepreneurs Use The Insider Intel To Improve Their Business

All this information that they gather isn’t just going to sit stagnant, either. They are going to use this information to improve their business, increase their revenue or bring in more customers. Successful entrepreneurs know when they learned something useful and work to implement it as quickly as possible.

#4 Successful Entrepreneurs Help Others Succeed Too

Another thing that you’ll see is that the more successful entrepreneurs they become, the more willing they are to help other people succeed at the same time. They have been where the budding entrepreneurs currently are and remember what it was like to enter the fray with only the basics. Most successful entrepreneurs are more than willing to share their knowledge and mentor the newbies.

How To Conduct an Outstanding Interview With Entrepreneurs

Whether conducted face-to-face, by telephone or via email, entrepreneurial interviews are becoming an increasingly popular tool to be used in the contemporary marketing campaigns. The real success stories behind the stage have always been a great source of inspiration, bringing both – powerful advertising impact and intense interest amongst business circles.

This article will give you a walk-through of what to consider when preparing an interview with an entrepreneur for your blog.

No wonder why there is increased emphasis on the pre-interview preparation. It is a tough job indeed and can be very tricky for several reasons:

• Interviews should be conducted in a way to bring added value to the public, develop entrepreneurs’ favorable repute; boosting your blog popularity and traffic. That means one thing – you need to go that extra mile, being able to deliver a memorable experience to all parties.

• All people are unique. In practice, you would come across totally polar personalities, possessing super specific traits, cherishing different values and often reacting quite controversially in any given situation. The conclusion – you would better be a behavior- based interviewer and good psychologist, then being a stereotyped one, simply following your list of questions.

• You need to devote a decent amount of time, exploring your target interviewee’s interests, recent interviews and business sector. This will give you a sober notion of his personal attitude and help you create a questionnaire, strictly corresponding to his communication manner and behavior.

• You cannot underestimate the fact that you are interviewing a famous public figure, a successful leader or reputable manager who as such, needs to be treated very respectfully.

Some tips on making the interview worthy and viral:

· Go into details with the specifics of the business you are about to delve for a successful interview. That will give you the confidence that your questions sound precise, professional and just on the spot.

· Avoid questions that could be followed by short YES/ NO answers. Except that they don’t bring any valuable information, the definitive answers have never been the looked-for result in a professional interview. Use open questions instead, aiming at provoking detailed and quality answers.

· Make sure that questions are clear and can be easily understood both by the interviewee and the audience. Appealing quotes or phrases are always a good tool to catch people’s interest from the very beginning.

· Keep the right balance between professional and friendly attitude. Tone should be amicable to certain extend but still, speech needs to be elegant and courteous.

· Select the questions considering your specific goals and target audience – they need to be engaging and deliver brain teaser answers. To be a notable one, the interview should inspire, people must have something to learn from it!

Accordingly, here are some helpful questions to ask entrepreneurs, which in terms of precision, have been divided in several groups:

1. Ice-Breaking Questions

Those kind of introductory questions are the prep-step in an interview, helping entrepreneurs feel more at ease, melting the distance and inspiring a friendlier atmosphere. That’s the ultimate trick to make them share more.

When meeting entrepreneurs for the first time, you can safely take the floor by asking:

· Let’s test your entrepreneurial intuition. What is the first question you think I am going to ask you?

· Tell me more about yourself? What kind of person are you?

· Try to describe yourself in 3 words only.

2. Standard Informative Questions

After breaking the ice, you can move forward to a series of standard questions providing general information about the company, name, headquarters, company’s vision, mission, goals, values, future projects.

Here, you can try some of these:

· Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit? Are your parents entrepreneurs?

· What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?

· Where did the idea of your business derive from?

· How did you decide on the location for your business?

· How did you come up with the name for your company?

· Considering the fierce competition in Today’s business world, how would you highlight your company’s competitive advantages? What makes it stand out of the crowd?

· How do you handle investors and funding issues in your business?

3. Personal Questions

By asking more personal questions you are going deeper than just scratching the surface. Getting more involved in the talk, you are now bringing the interview to the next level – letting the audience become more familiar with the personal touch behind the business success.

Do not hesitate to ask some of the following question samples:

• Outline the schedule of one of your typical working day?

• What are your hidden inspiration sources? How do you generate new ideas?

• What best motivates you? How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?

• How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

• What’s your greatest enterpreneurial achievement to be proud of?

• What are your shortcuts to successfully handle frustration and stress?

• What book has inspired you the most? ( What is your favorite book?)

• Who is your greatest support when facing up hardships in business?

• What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

• What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?

• How do you evaluate human resource factor as an inseparable part of your company success?

• What’s your way of hunting talents and building effective working teams to achieve great results?

• What are the main principles you follow to build a successful customer relations?

4. Critical Thinking Questions

Critical thinking quizzes reveal entrepreneurs’ analytical skills when solving a situation and show their ability to weigh the possible solutions before coming up with a final answer. Questions in this category are highly educational and greatly increase the degree of engagement.

Here are a couple of questions that would be beneficial to be asked:

• Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?

• What is your opinion on the following topic: Are entrepreneurs originally born as such or they are raised to be successful?

• How do you identify business opportunities and what metrics do you use to measure their viability?

• What popular entrepreneurial advice do you agree/ disagree with? Why?

• If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

• Who is the one entrepreneur to be your greatest example and inspiration?

• How would you scale the advantages and disadvantages of being entrepreneur?

• How would you rank the key 5 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

• How do you define success?

5. Extra Value Questions

The time has come. This is where you start asking questions to provide the best entrepreneurial and business tips , lessons and advices to the audience.

If you want to bring that added value for your readers, do not hesitate to include questions as follows:

· What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?

· What are your most effective methods to motivate your team for outstanding results?

· What ‘s your milestones to help you develop a stable company culture and friendly working athmosphere?

· What would you advice to the start-up entrepreneurs?

· What’s your personal manner for balancing work and life?

· Do you wisely consume your time as an entrepreneur? What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

· Do you follow some specific self-control mechanisms to encourage you to keep walking when things are not going as smoothly as planned?

· Do you believe in destiny or do you think you can control your fate?

6. Amusing Questions

To escape a bit from the dry and monotonous business etiquette, find the right timing to fit some jokes in the tone of the discussion.

Bring some fresh air with a set of creative and funny questions such as:

· What’s your favorite quote for describing entrepreneurship?

· What’s your favorite metaphor for describing entrepreneurship?

· Are you an adventurous type of person? What’s the most exciting experience to memorize in your entrepreneurial journey?

· Top 3 places on the globe that you haven’t conquered yet but would love to?

· Top 3 websites/blogs that you can’t imagine your day without? Give your reasons.

· Top 3 mobile apps that make your work more effective?

7. ” What If ” Questions

They will help you put entrepreneurs in a funny situation and play some role scenarios. People are always curious to know what successful people would do if placed under weird circumstances and how would they react if set out of their everyday environment.

Why don’t you ask them some of the following?

· What are the 3 things you would bring with you if teleported to a desert island?

· If you had a magic stick, which are the 3 things you would change in the world?

· What is the one issue about your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?

· If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?

8. Dare to Answer Questions

Those kinds of questions are to be asked at interviewers’ own risk, since some of them could be accepted as too provocative. On the other hand they are an effective way to convert the interview into a highly rated material, while bringing popularity to both parties.

You can try with:

· Are there any missed opportunities that you wish to have leveraged?

· What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear in general?

· How do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person?

· What makes you feel out of your comfortable zone? What are your ways to handle these situations?

· Share some of your failures and the best lessons you have learned from them?

· What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

· What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?

Conclusion:

Following those advices will guide you throughout the interview process. However, sometimes topics are naturally flowing from one to another leaving you in a chaos of thoughts so you have to be prepared to think outside “your question agenda”. In this case, you have to react fast, try to stay confident and be ready to bring more colors to the interview. Try to shape the interview more like a business dialogues rather than a boring monologue by being an active listener. Stay in motion; help entrepreneurs with extra questions if needed to keep the conversation smoothly going.

There is no general rule on the number of questions to be included in an interview. Keeping it simple and concise, often between 10 and 20 questions is a good working practice, but again, it can vary depending on the types of questions asked and the subsequent length of answers delivered. Making both entrepreneurs and public enthusiastic with the interview held, would be your best prize for being brilliant in what you do.