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Brand strategy + coaching
for purpose-driven entrepreneurs

Create your brand.
Clarify your message.
Make an impact.

Brand strategy + coaching for
purpose-driven entrepreneurs

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common-fears-new-solopreneurs

In my work with clients as well as in my own journey of starting a business, I’ve realized there are a few key fears that continue to resurface among the new and aspiring solopreneurs.

These fears are common, they are manageable, and they don’t need to get in the way of you doing the work you want to do — as long you don’t let them.

Fears of Solopreneurs

In this post, I’ll discuss 4 main fears, what they look like, and what you can do if you’re feeling these fears.

1. Fear of failure

solopreneur-fear-of-failureWe’re likely all familiar with this one and experience it any time we’re trying something new — whether it’s a new career, a new sport, or even a new haircut!

But what if this doesn’t work out? I’ll look like a failure. Everyone will laugh at me!

Failure seems like the scariest thing possible. To our psyche, failure = death.

The thing is, failure is not that critical. It’s very rarely a life or death situation, especially in business.

What fear of failure looks and sounds like:

  • Not taking a risk when you’re not sure you’ll succeed
  • Over-reliance on perfectionism as a way to keep you safe
  • Worrying that you won’t measure up or will be found out

Related fears

Here’s how to combat it

Everyone fails! The only person who doesn’t fail is a person who never tries.

First, get some perspective. Ask yourself, What is the worst thing that would happen if fail? What would I do if that worst case scenario happened?

You might find that even when you consider the absolute worst case scenario in your mind, you can still deal with it.

Second, reframe your idea of failure. Failing is learning. Each time you fail, you have the opportunity to course-correct based on what you learn.

Many of the most successful people have failed at something before they succeeded. So if you do fail, you’re in great company!

2. Fear of success

solopreneur-fear-of-success

Fear of success can also be known as “fear of outshining others.”

Maybe we know we’re onto something great, and feel like this could be the thing that takes us to the next level.

But we fear what would happen if we ultimately do succeed. We worry that we couldn’t handle the consequences.

Everyone would see me and judge me. I might outshine my friends and family. I might not be accepted.

What fear of success looks and sounds like:

  • You know what to do, but you’re still not doing it
  • You have an opportunity in front of you, but you bypass it (sabotaging yourself)
  • You hide your work from others or downplay your wins

Related fears

  • Fear of being visible
  • Fear of being judged
  • Fear of rejection (by those closest to you)

Here’s how to combat it

The one thing that makes fear of success different is that you’re ultimately afraid of outshining others and worrying that they’ll reject you. This results in you not playing big enough.

You might assume that those close to you won’t support you. You might assume they’ll reject you. But how likely is this? And if it did happen, what would you do?

If you fear success, you likely fear judgment from others, because once you are known, you will have critics — whether they are friends or strangers.

You also might worry that you won’t be able to handle the spotlight or the attention that comes with success.  

By not playing big, you’re keeping yourself small. You’re limiting your own opportunities and potential, simply out of fear. But what is the risk of not shining your light? How could you (and others) benefit from that?

3. Fear of the unknown

solopreneur-fear-of-unknown

Most of us are uncomfortable with the unknown. The truth is, we have no guarantees in life, so the more we can embrace uncertainty, the easier it gets.

When you accept uncertainty, you know that while the end result is variable, you are the constant.

You can trust in your own ability to handle what comes next and make the best decisions you can at any given time.

Life is uncertain. Business is uncertain. But when you feel you have a purpose or a calling, that is a constant… and worth exploring.

What fear of uncertainty looks and sounds like:

  • Second-guessing yourself, “I don’t know if I want to do this”
  • Wanting 100% proof of something before you’ll try, “I don’t know if this will work”
  • Looking for evidence to support why you shouldn’t do something

Related fears:

  • Fear of change
  • Fear that you can’t handle the outcome
  • Fear of success or failure

Here’s how to combat it

Here’s the thing: Even if an expert says, “Buy this thing. I guarantee it will work for you.” You don’t know know if it will or won’t work unless you try it. This is just a fact of life.

But when you agree to try something, you give yourself the opportunity to succeed or to learn and try again.

Uncertainty will not change. But you can. You can choose to move forward and accept that you won’t be 100% sure, and trust yourself to make changes and handle whatever outcome arises.

4. Fear of rejection

solopreneur-fear-of-rejectionWe can’t stand to be rejected by others. It’s a fact of nature and how our species has managed to stay alive.

This biological protection makes us dependent on our community to accept us and not cast us out.

But we often overestimate the toll rejection will take on us. (We’re unlikely to be cast out of society for not succeeding at a career venture these days.)

Nearly everyone has this fear in some way or form, but you can overcome it with reasoning and logic.

What fear of rejection looks and sounds like:

  • Being afraid to ask for for a favor (referral or testimonial, anyone?) out of fear of hearing “no”
  • Feeling scared to do anything that deviates from the “norm” (also see: comparisonitis)
  • Constantly worrying about what your family or friends might think

Related fears:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of being seen or judged

Here’s how to combat it

We are (thankfully) not in ancient times when your rejection by society would literally kill you.

For one, it’s unlikely that any single person’s rejection can stop you from doing what you need to do. And even if you are rejected by one group, you’re likely to be embraced by another. Even the most unusual people have their tribes.

Second, let’s play the worst-case scenario game again. What would happen if you were rejected by someone? How would you handle it?

If you dig deep, I’m guessing that you can come up with a few ideas, and one of them probably is, “I’d continue on in spite of it.”

So is rejection a big enough fear to stop you from achieving your dreams? Are you going to let it?

Are you engaging or eliminating the fears of new solopreneurs?

If you find yourself in the grips of fears as a new solopreneur, know that it is completely normal and human to feel these fears. You are biologically programmed to do so. But you don’t need to let the fear prevent you from moving forward.

When you become aware of your fear as it comes up, question it, and make a decision to keep going in spite of it, you not only lessen its power but you strengthen your own.

What fears are you struggling with in building your business? What will you do to conquer them?