Owning your own business and being your own boss might be part of the American dream for many people, but making that dream come true is no easy task. It’s natural to have fears, anxiety and doubts when going off into the wild unknown of entrepreneurship.
But taking smart risks is the foundation of every entrepreneurial success story. This means you may need to let go of the worries that are holding you back. While this is easier said than done, breaking free of these fears can help bolster your success.
What are some of the common crutches entrepreneurs rely on but should consider letting go of? Here are five:
1. A crippling fear of failure.
A healthy dose of the fear of failure is often a good thing for entrepreneurs. It can keep your ego in check and ensure that over-confidence doesn’t lead to mistakes. But what if that fear of failure has you stuck in place? If you've decided to put off submitting that LLC application for “just a few more months” or you keep yourself busy collecting patents instead of actually kickstarting that invention into production and beta testing, it’s probably time to ignore your fears and make the leap.
2. Your “other” job.
If you watch Shark Tank, you’ve probably noticed that a common question the sharks ask entrepreneurs is whether or not the entrepreneur has another job. Many times, the hopefuls respond with a hearty “Yes!” because they think that proves they’re resourceful multitaskers and can do it all. But excelling at two jobs is actually difficult, and may not be the answer the sharks are looking for. To get the ball rolling, you may consider saving up until you have a nest egg, then letting go of the crutch of your job. That way you can be even further committed to your entrepreneurial venture.
3. Not investing in yourself.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have. If an entrepreneur won’t invest in themselves, why should anyone else? Yes, it’s incredibly challenging to get capital, and you need to try as many avenues as possible, but if you won’t use your own money to back your business, that can send a message to your potential investors that you don’t believe in yourself, the product, the service or the company. And that can be a huge red flag to investors.
4. Micromanaging your staff.
This one's a killer, and even seasoned managers are guilty of it. It’s particularly tricky for entrepreneurs, whether you just hired your first employee or your 20th. Your company is your baby, and it’s natural to think nobody can do a better job than you of “raising” it. However, micromanaging can show others you don’t trust them or think they’re capable—and it may stretch you thinner than you already are. Since this is such a tough habit to break, it may even be worthwhile to bring in a management consultant to help you figure out how to start handing off duties to others.
5. The idea of being “finished.”
Setting goals may be important, but not when that boxes you in. When is your venture “done”? When you’re making a certain amount of profit each year? When your product is in a certain number of stores? When you can hire a CEO and become a passive founder? A real entrepreneur has drive that doesn’t stop. Set goals, but don’t make them the finish line.
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This article was originally published on November 27, 2014.