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Image by Balaji Malliswamy
  • Writer's pictureWendy Oliveras, MS

Fears of starting up? Here's what not to do and just go for it!

There is an old adage that says “Fear of the unknown will paralyze you.” Of course, we may have experienced it at some point in our lives or careers. I know I have. The fact is many of us are not aware of our fears. We ignore the possibilities of a doomed destiny and commit to self-paralysis because of these fears.

When I reflect on my own personal fears, especially during the time I decided to launch my first business, a legal staffing firm in New York City, I was honestly very afraid of the unknown. But, being a chess player, I knew I had to anticipate what was to come after every move and decision I made. So, my fears were my initial opponents, i.e., fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of failure, and even fear of succeeding.

In order for me to move forward, however, I knew I had to face my fears head-on no matter what happened. I was afraid to make mistakes too. But I made a commitment to myself that starting a legal staffing firm was what I wanted more than anything else. I diligently and obsessively researched my marketplace, direct competitors, and potential clientele roster. I created templates for introducing and marketing my new business to the world. I created a competitive website for the business, networked like crazy, and became a member of the most prominent organizations in the legal industry. After all, this was my first effort launching a business on my own, and I am thankful it succeeded for over a decade.

My point is no matter what internal fears you hold on to, you too can overcome them by intentionally:

1. being honest with yourself and acknowledge these fears exist;

2. dissect the what, why, when, and how these fears manifested themselves in your mind;

3. create a strategic plan to confront these fears directly; and

4. make a personal commitment to adopt a proactive and positive mindset. Making sound decisions helps to develop more confidence in your abilities and purpose to achieve goals.

Unfortunately, we tend to self-sabotage our own successes because of these fears, whatever they may be at any given time. It’s no secret starting a business is scary, but if you understand and accept yourself and know your limitations and boundaries, you help to lessen the negative impact these fears impose on you.

My best advice as a small business consultant is don’t allow fears to stop you from learning, growing, and developing as an individual and a successful business owner. Between those fears you must acknowledge there is a strong, dedicated, and resilient person inside of you. Between those fears you must accept that sometimes decisions will be made which result in mistakes, but that is okay too. Between those fears know that success is waiting for you right around the corner. Just be fearless! – Wendy Oliveras, Author – Checkmate Moves for Business Startups


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