Many entrepreneurial journeys are finished even before they start. This is not due to lack of creativity, hard-work, passion, or competency. All this comes down to the ‘fear of failure’. This fear is the biggest hurdle that prevents most people from starting their own business. Will my business be able to sustain itself? What if I fail? What would my family and friends think? Will I have enough time to put things right? A lot of people, especially first-time entrepreneurs get too wrapped up in finding answers to these questions and begin doubting their capabilities that of their business idea. These people let the fear take control of their dreams and they call it quits before even facing any real obstacle.
Entrepreneurs who face the fear of failure need to understand that it doesn’t go away completely. You need to learn to manage it and move forward to find success.
What is the cause of the fear of failure?
The fear of failure or the entrepreneurial fear can stem from several things. It could just be your lack of self-confidence or something else. Let us now look at a few causes that can result in the fear of failure.
- Letting down your team or family: Many entrepreneurs consider their family and the team they are working with on this new business idea as their source of inspiration. They are very closely attached to both these groups and want their new business to be successful not just for themselves but for these important people in their lives too. They think that if their business idea fails or doesn’t lives up to its billing, they will let their family and team down, which is not the case.
- Fear of being judged by society: Societal approval is considered a must in these times. Whether it is related to your personal or professional life, the norms are such that the society always has a say in everything that a person does or is planning to do. So when you are thinking about starting a business, you will also have to deal with the fear of being judged by the society. What will the society say if your fail? Would it trust you with anything after that failure?
- Not prepared to put down a failure on your CV: A lot of first-time entrepreneurs or even veterans in the field like to maintain a clean slate. However, when you have an idea in mind and you are planning to build a business around it, you need to understand that there are risks involved. Your idea may not reap the desired rewards. Or it may take some time for your business to see success. You might as well try and see what it leads you to than be sat at home and regret not having the courage to get started.
Why you should not be afraid?
Every entrepreneur needs to know one thing before give in to the fear of failure. There is no one around, not even the experts, who can tell you how your startup will turnout. So if you are worried about the feedback you received from a peer, just get over it. You should openly listen to every review or feedback you get. But you should know that no one can say with utmost certainty about what’s going to happen with your startup. Even if things don’t work out, treat this as an experience rather than a failure. You will still meet some amazing people, experiment with latest technology and learn about organisations and fund raising. Treat this as a win-win situation rather than being too concerned about the fear of failure.
Let us take a couple of examples to tell you why you shouldn’t let the fear of failure control your destiny. You must have heard about Reid Hoffman. So his entrepreneurial journey didn’t start too well. He was the man behind the creation of an online dating and social networking site – SocialNet. This site didn’t do well and had to be taken off. But Hoffman didn’t let the fear of failure stop him from investing in Airbnb and PayPal and cofounding LinkedIn.
Another name that springs to mind is Sir James Dyson. It took more than 5,000 failed prototypes of vacuum cleaners and all the savings he had to finally invent the bagless vacuum cleaner. He is now the founder of Dyson Ltd., which is one of the biggest manufacturers of household appliances in the UK.
So now you see how important it is to manage the fear of failure. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to make sure that you don’t let this fear stop you from achieving your dreams.