Start-Up Jitters? 6 Ways to Ease into Entrepreneurship Starting up for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. Here's how to soothe your fears and boost your odds for success.

By Adam Toren

entrepreneur daily
Futurama

So, you've got a great idea, you've created a solid business plan and you even have a prototype ready to show off. You're set, right? My guess: not quite.

When you're just starting up, it's often smart to spend some time also building up your nerve before making the leap. I'd argue that -- aside from only the most assured and insanely confident founders (Richard Branson, anyone?) -- everyone must perform a similar gut check.

Here are six constructive ways for giving yourself a good kick in the pants to start up:

1. Practice. It can be hard to walk into the office of a potential client and make your pitch, particularly if you've never done it before. So prepare by building your presentation, then try it out on friends, family and close colleagues. Be sure to address any issues of concern and any other questions that pop up.

Related: 7 Ways to Weigh Your Start-Up Risks -- and Reduce Them

2. Start with a small fish. It's tempting to jump on your best potential buyer or client, but that's risky. Instead, start with a client you can afford to lose. That way, if you can make any mistakes and discover any gaps in your service, you won't burn your best prospect. Plus, bigger-fish clients tend to avoid working with new vendors who don't already have a track record.

3. Make cold calls. No one who sells anything can avoid making cold calls forever, so it's time to start. Understand the most important concept behind cold calling: It takes lots of rejections to get a yes. So try not to get discouraged. Take notes on which openings work the best and which you should avoid repeating. Then, set a number of cold calls you will make every day and stick with it. Eventually it will pay off.

Related: How to Know When It's Time to Quit Your Day Job

4. Start blogging. This is a more passive approach to dipping your toe into entrepreneurship, but it can have a real impact on your success. If your blogs are strong and content-rich as well as engaging, you may get some positive industry attention from them. Be sure to promote your website and blog when you make sales calls and have the URLs on your business cards.

5. Network. If there is a professional association in your area that matches your industry, join and attend all of its functions. Those luncheons and meetings are a good chance to make contacts and turn cold calls into warm ones. Just be sure not to turn into mister salesperson at those meetings. It turns off potential clients and makes you look desperate. If an opening appears to mention your business, stick to your elevator pitch (you do have one, don't you?) and only continue about your business if someone asks a question. Just remember, if someone shows an interest, don't jump into your sales pitch. Instead, suggest a meeting later in the week.

6. Exhibit at a conference. If you're far enough along to pitch your product or service at a conference and your budget will stand the cost, an exhibit booth can build interest in your business and you may leave with several good leads. Just be sure the conference is a good fit for your company and that it's well-attended by people who match your buyer profile.

Related: 8 Tips for Business Success from Costco's Jim Sinegal

Bonus tip: Set a deadline. If you aren't selling products or services in the next 3-6 months or year, you will give up on your entrepreneurial plans and go work for someone else. Now if that's not a serious kick in the pants, you're not really ready to be an entrepreneur.

How would you recommend aspiring entrepreneurs build up their nerve to launch? Let us know in the comments section below.

Adam Toren

Serial entrepreneur, mentor, advisor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Adam Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Matthew, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Phoenix, Ariz.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Leadership

The Top 5 Strategies for Overcoming Naysayers in Business

Here's how you can handle naysayers with resilience and poise.

Business News

'Next Tesla' Electric Car Startups Hit Speed Bump: 'Investors Want To See Demand'

Electric vehicle companies large and small, from Ford to Tesla to Rivian, are dealing with cooler-than-expected demand for EVs.

Growing a Business

Let's Bring Back the Human Element to Paying Bills — Here's 3 Ways to Nurture Vendor Relationships for Business Success

In a small business's accounts payable process, the human touch is essential. Building trust through personal interactions with vendors is key, guaranteeing a dependable supply chain and effective collaboration. How can businesses improve these connections? Here are three approaches for improvement.

Franchise

McDonald's Dives Into Anime Craze — And Flips Its Golden Arches— with WcDonald's Event

McDonald's celebrates anime culture with "WcDonalds," a unique, limited-time event featuring custom manga packaging and themed menu items.

Business News

Warren Buffett's Annual Letter Reveals the Secrets and Lessons Behind $930 Billion Berkshire Hathaway

Buffett wrote about the company's unchanging investment rule and how his sister became "very rich."

Growing a Business

The Top 2 Mistakes Founders Make That Hinder the Growth of Their Companies

Here are two of the biggest ways founders sabotage their own success — and how to fix it.