Starting a new business? Think for a minute about what all of the entails. There’s licensing, marketing, hiring employees, buying or renting real estate, purchasing equipment-it’s a large financial investment. Plus you need to figure out tax laws-sales tax, payroll tax, income tax…the list goes on for a while. And once you have all of this in place, there’s the solemn reminder that 80% of new businesses fail in their first two years.
If you are, good, you should be. And I really mean that. If you’re not scared, turn back now. If you are scared, press on. You already have the most important thing you need for this crazy venture of yours to succeed.
And no, fear isn’t what you really need. But it’s one of the strongest indicators of what you do need-passion. Think back a moment about the decisions that you fretted over, doubting and second-guessing, making you toss and turn at night. They were the big ones, the ones that mattered, right? And that’s why you were scared, because messing this up wasn’t just a little mistake that could be brushed off. It was important that you get this right.
If developing a new business isn’t one of the scariest things you’ve ever decided to do, you’ve clearly lived a much more adventurous life than I have. Either that, or you’re not taking this seriously. If the thought of moving forward with your new project scares you shitless, congratulations, you’ve grasped how huge this is. And that realization puts you that much closer to succeeding.
The fact that you’re invested enough in this venture to be scared means that you care about it, and you should. This new business is going to be your life for the foreseeable future, so you’d better be committed. If you want this to succeed so badly that you’re getting lightheaded at times and now and then have trouble breathing-don’t worry. With that much passion, you can do this.
You are going to make mistakes, just accept that now, but that same fear is going to help make sure that those mistakes are manageable and fixable. It’s that fear that wakes you up at two in the morning to double check your figures. It will send you into your office an hour early on Saturday just to reread a few files. That fear of failure is exactly what is going to drive you to succeed.
As much as this fear can motivate you, it can also paralyze you if you don’t keep it in its place. Here’s a few things to remember when you start to feel overwhelmed. First, no matter what you’re business is, you can’t do it alone. You have investors, employees, managers-there are people who care about this just as much (okay, maybe not quite that much) as you. Share the load with them. Second, take things one day at a time. When you look down the road at everything that needs done, it might be like looking down a long tunnel with no light at the end. Take some time each morning to figure out what needs done today, and then do it.
Most importantly, remember why you are doing this. This business is your dream, and even though it may sometimes feel like a nightmare, you wouldn’t have started it if it wasn’t what you wanted. Even if it still terrifies you.