FAINT OF HEART – What Does it Really Take to Become an Entrepreneur?

Some people will tell you that to become a successful entrepreneur you need to be able to work hard, have a strong business plan, some savings in the bank, and a unique idea. While I agree that those things can definitely set you up for success, I truly believe it takes something totally different than what we’ve been conditioned to believe the path to success looks like, especially when you’re taking that first step.

A few years into my entrepreneurial journey, I would tell anyone and everyone who would listen how much I loved working for myself. I would go on and on about how amazing being an entrepreneur was and I would question why everyone wouldn’t just work for themselves and start their own business.

I have encouraged dozens of people to start their own businesses and mentored even more once they’ve begun. I get extremely excited when I see that new passion creep into a person’s soul, watching it come to life through their eyes. But the reality is, that some of the people who get the most excited during the first couple of weeks of their journey seem to hit a wall soon thereafter and walk away. They freeze.

I never understood it. I would think about this so much, wondering why it would happen. Watching people come up with an amazing idea, think of a name for their business, put the work in to create a business plan, get really excited but then throw in the towel before even starting is always so disheartening.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that what it really takes to be an entrepreneur is the ability to face your fears when you’re the most scared. Starting your own business is terrifying and when it comes time, putting yourself and your idea out there takes a big leap of faith. Eventually quitting your job and losing that financial security to go all-in is the riskiest thing many entrepreneurs do. The questions and insecurities pile up: What if I fail? What if I lose everything? What if I have no clue how to do this?

But looking those gut-wrenching questions in the eye and pushing through them, knowing that you are stronger than those fears? That’s when a person really becomes an entrepreneur. Because it is scary and probably will be for a while, if not forever. It’s the craziest thing most people will do in their lives but nothing great ever comes without risk and the rewards that come from entrepreneurship are worth it ten-fold.

And yes, there is always the very real chance that things could go sideways, and your fears could be realized but if we all spent our days worrying about if we’d fall every time we stood up, no one would ever walk, run, climb or jump. The successful entrepreneurs I know spend less time worrying about “if” they will fall and instead exude more energy on the question “What if I fly?”

The funniest thing is that once a person overcomes that initial fear of getting started that’s where the rest of the beautiful parts of entrepreneurship are able to grow as well. That’s when the vision for their company comes into focus, when their hustle and grind become second nature because it no longer even feels like work, where the love for their business and their belief in themselves and their idea flourishes. Once that fear is put aside, the entrepreneur can find safety in knowing they are doing something really well when they once were not sure they’d even know how to start.

So, yes the business books will tell you a business plan in the best place to start and maybe they’re right. And the marketing blogs that tell you to begin by thinking up a name, or logo, or making your website? All good advice as well. But the thing you need to do first and commit to overcoming daily, the thing that it truly takes to become an entrepreneur? Overcoming your fears; Your fear of failure, your fear of inadequacy, your imposter syndrome, and possibly even your fear of success. And once you overcome those fears the goal is to continue overcoming them (and any new ones) anytime they creep in.

And that is what it really takes to become your own boss!

by Shannon Ferguson