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How to Move Past the Fears of Starting Up Your Business

Susan L Reid

What’s holding you back from staring up your small business?

Is it lack of venture capital, fear of failure, or the uncertainty of it all? Maybe this is your first time starting up a business and the lack of knowledge is paralyzing your forward movement. On the other hand, perhaps you’re not sure you can devote the necessary time and attention required to start up a new business.

Whatever the reason, you can bet that there is a fear-based belief running in the background that needs to be addressed.

Picture of terrorized manThe kind of fear-based belief I’m talking about is one that prevents you from doing what you want to do and sabotages you from having what you want to have.

Often unconscious, these fear-based beliefs fall under three general categories:

  • Belief in lack
  • Belief in not being good enough
  • Fear of the unknown

Belief in lack is the belief that there simply is not enough. There isn’t enough time, money, and energy. Inherent in this way of thinking is the belief that someone or something other than you is in control.

The three main fears that arise from this belief system are:

  1. Fear of not enough money
    Either to start a business or to see a profit from the business you start.
  2. Fear of not enough time
    Either to devote to starting up a business or to running it.
  3. Fear of lack of security
    Either of not having a regular, steady income, or of not having financial resources for the future.

Belief in not being good enough comes in a variety of disguises: low self worth, arrogance, lack of confidence, poor self-esteem, and manipulation. Inherent in this way of thinking is the belief that someone or something is better than you.

The three main fears that arise from this belief system are:

  1. Fear of disapproval and rejection
    Usually coming from someone close to you whose opinion you value.
  2. Fear of failure
    Usually coming from someone with the expectation that if you don’t succeed immediately, you are a failure.
  3. Fear of success
    Usually coming from an inner voice that says that there is something wrong with being happy, going after what you want, and making lots of money.

Picture of out of control womanFear of the great unknown is fear of anything that we don’t think we have control over or that is out of our comfort zone. Inherent in this way of thinking is the belief that someone or something has power over you.

The three main fears that arise from this belief system are:

  1. Fear of playing it large
    Either of being the center of attention or of becoming a role model for others.
  2. Fear of discovery
    Either of what you don’t know or what you do know.
  3. Fear of commitment
    Either of starting up a small business, or setting and sticking to goals that will ensure your success.
Taking Inspiration from Others

Taking inspiration from others is one of the best ways to move past your fears. There are millions of examples of people who have started up businesses despite being afraid. History books are filled with thousands of individuals who have overcome great personal and professional challenges in order to succeed. Rarely does a day go by when we aren’t inspired by someone who has persevered regardless of the odds to recover from a debilitating illness, sail around the world, unite with a loved one, or start up a business. Here’s what a few of them have said:

  • Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch painter of the 19th century who pioneered expressionism and was fraught with his own personal and professional fears, said, “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”
  • Wayne Dyer, internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development, despite growing up in orphanages and foster homes, says, “The more you see yourself as what you'd like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you'll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.”
  • Vietnamese Buddhist monkThich Nhat Hahn, now living in exile, tells us, “Awareness in the present is your point of power. The only place that you can do anything about anything.”
  • Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, who was once homeless, advises us, “Do not be concerned with the fruit of your action – just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord.”
  • Business tycoon and American success story Donald Trump, who once faced bankruptcy, explains how he started out: “When I started out in business, I spent a great deal of time researching every detail that might be pertinent to the deal I was interested in making. I still do the same today.”
  • High school drop out and now personal and business success guru Brian Tracy says, “I found that every single successful person I've ever spoken to has had a turning point. The turning point was when they made a clear, specific, unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore; they were going to achieve success.”
  • 13th century mystic poet Rumi, whose bereavement over the murder of a close friend caused his spiritual transformation, wrote, “The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.
  • Napoleon Hill, famous for his book Think and Grow Rich, who was born into poverty in a two-room cabin and whose mother died when he was 10 years-old tells us to “create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.”
Picture of a pink roseKeep in mind that success isn’t the absence of fear. Success is the courage of conviction that propels us beyond fear.

Copyright © 2007 by Susan L. Reid

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Copyright ©2007 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

Susan L Reid, DMA, Small Business Start Up Coach, Consultant & Accidental Pren-her™ is the author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success. Known for taking the fear out of starting up businesses, Susan provides value, inspiration and direction to entrepreneurial women starting up and launching small businesses. 

To get your copy of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success, go to WME Books or visit For ideas and start up tips, sign-up for our free e-Zine for entrepreneurial women called LAUNCH YOU! We are blogging at:

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