It's Halloween, a day to think about the things that scare the hell out of you and gorge on candy until you vomit. Entrepreneurs have their own fears. Stress and worry are a part of business ownership; they come with taking risks. So here are five fears shared by most entrepreneurs and some advice for handling each.
Cluelessness. You can go to the best schools and work at the top companies but things change completely when you become the decision maker. Even experienced entrepreneurs struggle building new ventures. Accept that the learning curve is steep. Ask questions. Do research. Spend more time listening and less time talking. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you gain both knowledge and confidence.
Business Partners. Your drinking buddies are a blast to hang out with, but are these the people you trust to build and grow a business? Are they reliable? Honest? Hard working? Do they share your vision and expectations for the venture? Will they be there during the tough times? A lot of businesses fail because of disputes between founders. Make sure everyone is on the same page and willing to work toward a common goal. You'll know when the right team is in place.
Lawyers. As noted throughout this blog, for all of its blather about "public protection", the legal system is not your friend. Sometimes you really need a good attorney. But it's important to learn which services should be performed by someone with legal training and which don't require it. You can often get the help you need without overpaying for attorneys. Avoiding unnecessary interactions with lawyers is easier than many people think.
The Great Unknown. You want horror, gore, and mayhem? Skip the "Friday the 13th" movies and read or watch the news for 20 minutes. Does anything make sense anymore? War, recession, election chaos, Elon Musk, the Jets having a winning record . . . it's craziness. But entrepreneurship is all about risk and uncertainty and accepting that there's not much over which you have complete control. In other words, you kind of asked for this. Embrace it and enjoy the ride.
Failure. Failure is a fear shared by all entrepreneurs. And it happens . . . a lot and for many different reasons. Sometimes you can make all the right decisions and still have things go wrong. But as noted above, entrepreneurship is all about taking risks. Remember, you're not your business and how your venture performs is not a referendum on your self-worth. Also, we learn a lot more from screwing up than anything else. Embrace your mistakes and don't let them define you.