Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Why Fear Is An Entrepreneur's Worst Enemy In his first inaugural address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made the now epic statement "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

By Jeff Broth

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Banter Snaps_Unsplash

In his first inaugural address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made the now epic statement "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This one phrase has since been uttered by some of the greatest entrepreneurs in history. As an entrepreneur, there is no better motto to live by, and some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our lifetime are still living by that testimony to true strength.

In short, if you let fear govern your life you will get nowhere fast, according to American born entrepreneur, Tai Lopez, with a success story a mile long. As mentor to at least 20 multimillion dollar entrepreneurs himself, Tai knows the wisdom of these famous words. It's almost as if they were spoken with entrepreneurs in mind!

Another Lesson from One of Earth's Greatest Teachers

Here, another story comes to mind – one from the Bible. Jesus is walking on water and calls out to his disciples to do the same. All are afraid, but in the end one does as he bids and as the story goes, Peter walked with his Lord after that initial bout of fear. Jesus reprimands them then saying that they had little faith and then asked why they feared. The same lesson could be applied to entrepreneurs.

If you fear stepping out into dangerous waters, you may never know what it's like to literally soar above all those who are drowning in their own fear. The first rule of thumb should always be, if you are afraid to venture into the unknown, don't become an entrepreneur. Maybe this is another lesson explicitly written with entrepreneurs in mind.

The Primary Danger of Letting Fear Govern Business Decisions

The thing that sets a highly successful entrepreneur apart from one that is merely mediocre is his or her readiness to take risks. As the saying goes, they dare to go "where only fools dare to go' and in so doing, reach amazing heights in their efforts.

No matter what industry you are in, if you don't venture into the unknown, you will be doing the very same thing that everyone else is doing so that growth potential is limited by the amount of competition you face.

By stepping out from the crowd, taking risks, you have the potential to capture newer and bigger markets because you will stand out from the rest. Your products and/or services will be innovative, bigger, better and in the end, more successful.

Turning Fear Around

You will find that the most successful entrepreneurs have learned how to turn fear around to their benefit. Perhaps it's the adrenaline rush that kicks them into high gear and perhaps it's just being tenacious enough to confront fear head on. In his now famous statement, FDR helped Americans face their fears, which is said to be one of the motivating factors for working their way back out of the Great Depression.

For whatever reason, entrepreneurs who reached a certain level of success all say they had moments of doubt and fear but trudged on in spite of it. They weren't afraid to face fear head on and in so doing, were able to turn it around to their advantage. It is only human nature to fear the unknown, but it's what you do about that fear that can make or break you.

If you are willing to take chances and face fear head on as so many have done before you, you just might have the makings of a very successful entrepreneur. However, this doesn't mean to be foolish in your choices. Rather, weigh your options carefully and if the only thing holding you back is fear, it just might pay to take that step forward "in faith' – faith in your own ability to overcome. You can stay in a sinking ship or you can walk on water.

The choice is yours. Which would be more logical? Stasis and drowning, or walking to conquer that fear? There doesn't seem to be a choice when you look at it that way, does there?

Jeff Broth, a business writer and advisor. Consulted for SMB owners and entrepreneurs for 7 years now. Mainly covering finance, stocks and emerging fintech trends.
Side Hustle

This Young Professional Left Her Job in Finance After Her Remote Side Hustle Took Off and Made $65,000: 'My Idea Solves a Universal Problem'

Ruta Drungilaite got creative during the pandemic lockdowns — and stumbled upon a lucrative business opportunity.


5 Types of Digital Content That Attract Warm, Ready-to-Buy Prospects (No Matter the Industry)

Learn about five types of content that will transform your warm audiences into customers!

Business Culture

How To Keep an Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in Your Small Business

These three tips will help you keep the spark for entrepreneurship that leads to long-term business success

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business Plans

How to Start a Consulting Business: Your One Page Business Plan

Learn the three critical components of your business plan and download a template to get started

Operations & Logistics

80% of Businesses Fail Due To a Lack of Cash. Here are 4 Reasons Why Cash Flow Forecasting Is So Important

Cashflow forecasting helps businesses predict when issues may arise and allows them to take action proactively to avoid cash flow gaps.