31 Tips for Conquering Startup Fears

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11. Spend time in nature. Do some gardening, or take a walk on the beach or in the forest. Natural environments offer clarity and inner peace and can be especially nurturing during times of transition and change.

12. Accept all your feelings. You can expect all kinds of feelings as you start or even think about starting your own business. Feelings like vulnerability, uncertainty, doubt, fear and insecurity are all normal and expected. Create a positive inner dialog with yourself, and talk about your feelings with a trusted friend. Remind yourself that you are OK.

13. Finish unfinished business. Make a list of things that bother you and need to be completed, repaired or finalized. Make room for your new business by finishing the things on your list one by one. My list included things like fixing a leaking refrigerator, letting go of a grudge and weeding my garden.

14. Get educated. Knowledge is power. Take classes or attend seminars to learn practical skills to start, market and grow your business. One client who was starting his business attended a press-release writing workshop; the new skills he acquired resulted in his business being featured in a newspaper.

15. Accept and believe compliments. When people first told me they enjoyed my presentations, I didn't believe them. Over time, I accepted and believed the compliments and built my confidence about my speaking abilities.

16. Acknowledge your gifts. Recognize and acknowledge your gifts and special talents. What would you like to do even if you weren't paid for it? I discovered I was a writer when I wrote an award-nomination letter for a friend and she won. Eventually, I began getting paid for my writing talents.

17. Give up excuses. If you hear yourself making excuses, write them down and become consciously aware of them. One of my excuses was that I was not the entrepreneurial type. I changed this excuse into the following affirmation: I am capable of doing whatever I set my mind to.

18. Eliminate "I can'ts." Become aware of when and why you say "I can't," and change it to an open-ended question like "How can I?" One client changed her "I can't" statement from, "I can't get a loan because my credit is bad" to, "How can I get a loan?" She met with a debt consolidator, worked on repairing her credit, started her business with savings and eventually got a loan.

19. Accept confusion. Confusion is part of the process of starting a business. Write about it in your journal, talk about it with friends, and know that it will pass. I realized through my own experience and the experience of clients that confusion passes most quickly when we accept it.

20. Know there is no "right" time. Entrepreneurs have started businesses in debt, with little money, with lots of money, with little experience and in all sorts of circumstances. One of my colleagues started her business with $30,000 in debt and a whole lot of perseverance. Last year, she won an entrepreneur of the year award.

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This article was originally published in the April 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Fear Factor.

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