Starting a business is, first and foremost, a journey of personal development and growth.
Far more so than in a 9-5 career, you will be taken outside your comfort zone and asked to learn new things, develop new behaviours and install greater self-discipline.
Everyone is scared when they contemplate leaving their corporate job. That’s really nothing new. Don’t feel you are special in some way in being scared to leave.
We’re all educated, intelligent and capable people. "If I could get a graduate position at a top US investment bank in the middle of a global recession", I rationalised, "this business stuff should be a doddle". Hardly rocket science compared to pricing bespoke financial derivatives or convincing a hedge fund CEO to work with me….
Ohhhhh how wrong I was :)
I realised I was scared of putting my ideas out there, scared of my friends’ reactions, scared of this all suddenly blowing up in my face. I was scared of someone tapping me on the shoulder and making me head back to my cubicle, like this life wasn’t actually a possibility for me and I was somehow living in a dream..
I had every fear going. Now, after interviewing over 60 women for my latest coaching programme Become Your Own Boss, I see just how universal fear is among corporate escapees.
Fear should never be a reason for you not to make the leap to entrepreneurship (or the leap to anything in fact).
Fear is just an opportunity for us to grow.
In fact if you aren’t scaring yourself just a little bit every single day, chances are you are still playing way too small.
Read on to find out the top 10 most common fears I heard, and how I counselled them to move past them:
#10 Fear of what your partner will say
(5% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “My husband doesn’t like me not being employed"
- “My husband sees business as pocket money"
- “My husband is concerned about the monetary side"
I totally understand talking through big decisions with your partner. It’s extremely helpful if they are on board too.
However, it’s very important that you approach this conversation with your other half in the right way. Men are natural protectors, and it’s easy for us to assume the role of the “protected”. When we show fear, insecurity or indecisiveness, we set off their instinct to protect. If you approach this conversation from the angle of asking permission, they will likely choose to keep us safe because that’s the natural protective instinct.
Too often we hand over our power in making big decisions. If you know you want to start a business and you worry your partner will have reservations, you must approach the conversation from a place of power. Don’t ask for permission - instead explain your plan and how you are confident you will make it work. Combat their fears rather than asking them to combat yours.
I have had my own successes with this strategy (my boyfriend is my #1 supporter now) but my colleague’s story is my favourite: she had just broken the six figure mark in her business when the opportunity came to coach privately with our business coach at a cost of $125,000. Her husband was dead against it but she knew what she wanted and went ahead. She made it back in 8 weeks, paid off the coaching investment in full and went on to make over $500,000 in the next 6 months and retired her husband in the process. He’s ok with the investment now :)
#9: Fear of leaving your current career
(5% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “My current job is unstable, change is coming there..."
- “I think I should get another job first…"
- “My job now is ok - it’s “flexible-ish” - I can take 30 minutes out and no one cares!"
These three comments all boil down to the same thing: distracting yourself away from the pressing matter at hand. Let’s face it, you don’t book an appointment with an entrepreneurship coach if you are super happy in your corporate job!
You are scared to leave the comfort zone of what you know and so you find either excuses as to why it’s not a good time to go, or try to cling on to the positives of the job you’ve already got.
But you are worth way more! Don’t sell yourself so short - this is your life we are talking about.
Remember in university when we dated all those idiots who didn’t take care of us (or didn’t care at all) because we didn’t have the guts to take a stand for how we wanted to be treated? When we matured and decided enough was enough, we started respected ourselves fully - didn’t we meet the nice guy then?
You wouldn’t put up with a relationship that didn’t light you up and give you all you needed, so don’t accept some crummy, stressful job just because you are scared to dream bigger than that.
#8: Fear of running out of time
(7% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “I don’t know if I’ll have enough time and energy"
- “I don’t know if I’ll be able to prioritise"
- “I don’t know where to find the time with my current job"
If you’re unhappy in a job, you need to take steps to get yourself out of there. I’ve had the good fortune (in this sense at least) of working in an investment bank with colleagues working literally all hours of the day and night (like 20+ hours a day). If those guys can find the time to interview elsewhere and get out of there, you sure can too.
I set up Living Rosy while still at the bank. It was tough, my weeknight social life did suffer a bit, but I was determined to make this happen for myself and so I did. Because of this experience, all of my coaching is designed to maximise time efficiency - if you can spare 5 hours a week, you can build a Freedom Business.
It’s important to take a look at the bigger picture here: you’re signing up for a few months of extra effort for an entire life of total freedom. To me at least it was a no-brainer!
#7 Fear of not knowing enough
(8% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “This feels like a new world"
- “[Online marketing] isn’t my forte"
- “I don’t have experience in launching an online business"
- “I haven’t tried this before"
I totally understand this fear - it’s one of the more logical ones :)
The thing is, we have a massive capacity for learning. It’s also a prerequisite for entrepreneurship. You’ll do things you never even knew you could do (tech grandma over here has even dabbled in coding - one of my proudest achievements!)
You can learn anything you want to. You are totally capable of anything you set your mind to. Remember though, you have an incredible support system in place to help you out. My coaching programmes are designed to give you everything you need to know to get up and running.
I give my clients the information in bite sized pieces so it’s not overwhelming. I also limit the amount of people working with me so I can be there in full for all my clients. This isn’t a throw-'em-in-and-leave-'em infoproduct situation. All my private clients receive unlimited email access to me, and even my group programme clients have pretty much daily access to me.
If you don’t know what to do, it’s a key reason to hire a business mentor who can show you the way.
#6 Fear of being seen as "money driven"
(8% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “I only want money to educate myself"
- “I feel like a bad person for wanting more than just enough"
- “It feels shameful to ask money for my services"
Money is such an emotive topic in our society I can easily see where this fear comes from. It’s more than an entrepreneurship issue too - read anything on the wage gap to realise that women across the spectrum feel icky about negotiating their worth.
The thing is, being an service-based entrepreneur means you effectively are the “product” and asking for money becomes that much more personal.
A fear of asking your worth is just a belief you have around money - it is in your power to change that. All of my coaching involves a load of mindset work - Money Mindset makes up the entire first month of my Become Your Own Boss programme.
It’s important to get real about your needs and desires. If you desire more, it’s because those desires will elevate you to a higher level of work - you’ll have a wider impact and help more people if you become successful at what you do.
#5 Fear of lack
(10% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “I need to focus on my immediate bills"
- “I can’t justify the expenses"
- “I don’t have much money"
Just like people’s worries about time and their current job, this fear is a serious case of shortsightedness. By giving in to this fear, you are talking yourself our of the solution to your problem in the first place!
Most people are drawn to entrepreneurship due to its unlimited earning potential. Instead of waiting years for a promotion and maybe a couple of hundred bucks more in your pocket, you could double or even triple your salary in a just few months when you start an online business.
The business model I teach to business newbies is valid up to even £15,000 or £20,000 a month in revenues (you can earn even more by altering the model to leverage your time). Most people are not earning this kind of money in a corporate job.
Yes business coaching is an investment, but when you look at how much you could gain it becomes insanely great value for money. I’m determined to get my clients an amazing return on their investment in me, because a freedom lifestyle does cost some money!
#4. Fear of not having a business idea
(12% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “I don’t know what the business would be"
- “I’m struggling with a unique business concept"
- “I don’t know where to start"
I remember those days well. I sat in my corporate job, spinning in circles desperate to find the one amazing idea that would save me. It didn’t come.
This is very important: you do not have to have a totally original idea to start a successful business.
As I show my clients, it’s how you position your offering that makes your business successful. No matter how “crowded” the marketplace, being you and creating a targeted niche will remove all “competition" for your services.
I actually don’t even use the word competition - I don’t believe in it. My closest friends are mostly business coaches offering, on the face of it, very similar services to me. We mastermind together, we support each other, we share each others’ offerings with the world. We are all so different, we attract our own followings.
I only work with a few clients a year, so I don’t need to appeal to the masses. There are far more than enough clients out there for me and therefore I never feel the need to “compete” with anyone else. This is key to a thriving premium brand - you don’t see Apple scrabbling to drop its price because Dell did - Apple is in a league of its own.
It’s not the business idea itself that will make or break your success - it’s how you structure it. That’s why the idea formulation and validation aspect is part of all my coaching services. I help my clients decide on their direction and really zone in on exactly who they wish to attract - then show them how to go out and get all these amazing ideal clients they just love to work with.
For total newbies who are just dipping their toe in the waters of entrepreneurship, I offer a very well-priced 6 module home study programme called Find Your Freedom Business Idea (Abundant Freedom) which walks you through the same method I use with my private clients to find and validate their unique business ideas and positioning.
#3: Fear of loss of income
(13% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “The lack of a guarantee is a stumbling block for me"
- “I need to have income"
- “Can my product pay for this lifestyle?"
This fear comes from that old adage that it’s really tough to own your own business. We are brought up to value a "stable job” - when in fact the corporate world has never been more unstable.
In a job, we put all our eggs in one basket with one employer, depending on them to pay our income each month. But with economic downturns redundancies are rife. You’re only ever one day away from losing it all.
When you run your own business, however, you spread your “risk” among multiple clients. You can always find more clients! You’re also in a position where, rather than living month to month on some scrappy salary, you can earn more and have a comfortable cushion should the need ever arise.
As I mentioned above, there is no reason why an online freedom business can’t earn you £10k+ per month - likely far more than you are earning right now.
I did fall prey to this fear when I was in corporate. That’s why I didn’t quit until I felt confident in my business. All of my coaching programmes are designed to be taken around your day job so that you can create a solid business that’s earning you money before you even need to consider letting go of your job. There is really zero need to worry about loss of income.
#2 Fear of not being good enough
(17% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “Can I actually do this?"
- "I’m just another person"
- “I’m not completely “cured” of thing I want to teach others about"
- “I’m too new at this"
- “I don’t deserve this"
There’s a term for this fear: Imposter Syndrome. Again, it’s nothing to do with entrepreneurship, it's a universal problem affecting almost all successful women. Most female executives admit to feeling like they’re about to be tapped on the shoulder and asked to leave the office, even though they are just as qualified (in fact often even more so) than their male colleagues.
I help my clients to build a business based around their passions - you are guaranteed to be an expert in them. Remember that you don’t need to be perfect or the world number 1 - you only need to be a few steps ahead of your own clients to have a profound impact on their lives with your work.
My own coach once reframed this in a powerful way: by you bowing out of the spotlight and not stepping up to your calling, your clients are left without the help they require. It’s actually selfish of you to allow your own ego and inner drama to get in the way of the work you do and the impact you have.
Imagine no one was out there living Freedom Lives - you’d have nobody to show you this life was possible!
#1: Fear of 'putting yourself out there'
(18% of people mentioned this as a top fear)
- “It’s easier to keep it all in my head"
- “I’m scared of others mocking me"
- “I’m actually a bit disgusted by visibility - I would feel spammy"
Visibility is such a huge issue for so many women. It comes back to a primal instinct to stick with the pack - it’s basically a fear that we will be rejected, exiled and thrown out into the wilderness to die alone. Totally irrational but we all feel it!
This fear is all in our head - that’s why it’s very important to get a good coach who can work through this with you and reframe your mindset. It’s all about baby steps - your first post on Facebook, your first live call, your first video. Getting comfortable with being visible is a gradual process - a small consistent steps outside your comfort zone.
Some people will judge. Some people might comment. But trust me, it’s really not going to hurt you! These comments are a sign that your growth is triggering something within the other person. They see your success and wish they had it too. I was shocked when a (so I thought) very close friend started passive aggressively posting articles and messages that were the antithesis of my coaching, seemingly to rile me up. I was new in my business and her rejection hurt. I let it get to me a few times before realising that this person didn’t have my back so I let my communication with her fade away. Guess what - she didn’t get in contact with me even once! When I let her go, many more much more likeminded friends came into my life and I couldn’t feel more supported now.
Remember that with every bad comment you’ll get a flood of good ones - often in the most unlikely places! I felt physically sick announcing my extremely girly, pink, anti-corporate business to my entire LinkedIn contact list - mostly middle aged senior male bankers. I thought I’d get a flood of hate mail but instead most of them stuck around on my list, replying to tell me they loved my emails and forwarding them on to their wives/daughters/cousins. Who knew I’d get my first fan base there.
Fear is just in the mind.
Please don’t ever let fear get in the way of your happiness and life fulfilment. If you desire a Freedom Lifestyle, it is ready and waiting for you.
Everyone has fear; we only succeed when we act in spite of it.
I want you to remove “I’m just not ready” from your vocabulary. Start taking baby steps out of your comfort zone every day. Take consistent action. Push through any nagging doubts or worries. Get yourself the right support. You can do this!
If you would love to escape your corporate job and create your own Freedom Business, then I invite you to consider coaching with me. Apply for a complimentary Career Clarity Consultation to discover if my private coaching is right for you.