Financial investors know all too well about climbing the “wall of worry.” Stocks keep rising and investors keep spending, even when the fundamentals are weak. Entrepreneurs have to climb their own wall of worry. But their wall is an entirely different animal to your wall. For an entrepreneur, the fear is at the center of everything that they do.
Take Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, for instance. Musk is often asked how he manages to make such daring decisions with vast sums of money. eBay acquired PayPal in October 2002 [for $1.5 billion in stock], earning Musk $165 million. But instead of going and spending the rest of his life on a beach, he reinvested it in two risky business ventures. One of those ventures was an electric car company – madness back in 2004. And the other was a space company – again, complete madness. Commentators assumed that Musk must be made of sterner stuff. He must just have an affinity for taking risks. But in interviews, Musk frequently talks about his intense fear of the unknown and how he nearly lost it all. The moral of the story? Taking risks is difficult, even for the best entrepreneurs in the world.
Here, we’re going to look at some of the major fears held by entrepreneurs and what they can do about them.
Not Knowing How To Start
Entrepreneurs tend to have great ideas. But the difficulty in entrepreneurship isn’t the idea itself: it’s getting to the final destination. Most entrepreneurs don’t have a clue how to even begin, even if they’re masters of their own product. Here’s a tip: start by looking for local business groups in your area. Sometimes the local government will put on free seminars for startups. And often, business banks will put you in contact with networks and network events where you can find mentors. Find somebody else who did it, and get them to set you off in the right direction.
Not Earning Enough To Keep Cash Flow Positive
The irony of startups is that they have to spend money like mad while not getting any money in. Marketing, SEO, insurance: it all costs a small fortune. Often the problem is the gap between selling the service and getting the payment. Startups don’t usually have their own credit card reader. Instead, they have to wait days, even weeks, for money to come through via invoice. In the meantime, they can often dip very close to the red.
This is a perennial problem of running a startup, and there aren’t any hard and fast solutions. The best approach here is probably to focus on your own wellbeing so you can continue to drive the business forward. Grab a mentor, and get their emotional support to see you through, even if it all ends in financial ruin.
Not Attracting Customers
The first few weeks and months of running a startup can be a lonely experience. There you are, spending all this time and money on building a business, and the phone is silent. After a few weeks go by, you start wondering whether anybody is ever going to ring.
The trick here is patience and an infectious enthusiasm for what you’re doing. Consistently delivering your business’s message through multiple channels is what will win the day.