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confetti design articles 3 steps to overcoming fear of starting a small business


After over 15 years working for medium and large corporates, I am starting my own small business. Time to celebrate. However I am telling myself “I can do it” often.
Starting a small business can be extremely nerve-racking for any individual who is giving up steady employment to go out on their own with a business idea. It’s really tough to have the confidence in yourself and to give up on the security of an employer in favor of your own small business. If you are thinking of taking on small business ownership here are three steps I have utilised to quiet those fears. Even though you may be saying in your head “I have a fear of starting my own business” rest assured you are not alone and these tips will help.


Step 1: Build a solid foundation
One of the best ways I found confidence starting my business is to have extensive research to stand behind. You’ll need to research every aspect of your business and target market to make sure that your business is truly viable. Here are a few from my checklist:

  • Are there people already acing it in the same market?
  • How large do you want your business to get?
  • Do you want a business where you can keep life flexible, or a business with lots of responsibility?
  • Consider speaking to other industry professionals for words of wisdom and to prevent mistakes early on.

Research ensures you get honest about the viability of your small business idea, before you launch in investing capital and energy.

In terms of the fear factor, it gives you a foundation and provides faith when uncertainty enters your mind. You can refer to the facts and see that your decision to start your small business is backed-up by research and real possibility.

Create a wall chart outlining key points of what your business idea is and why it’s possible. You now have a visual reference of what a great job you are doing and how you will succeed when uncertainty creeps in.

Planning is the other foundation-forming task. Planning has given me structure, perspective, clarity and confidence.

One of the benefits of spending years in the corporate arena is being exposed to the cogs of large business in motion. Policies, procedures, strict documentation, filing, levels of approval, lots of crossing t’s and dotting I’s, legislation, industry governing bodies, quality levels to achieve, the list goes on.

I have replicated this thinking in planning for my small business.

For example:

  • What is my cash projection?
  • What will my profit and loss look like with varying sales/products over Y1, Y2, Y3.
  • Visited my Accountant to gain advice on book keeping and tax
  • Investigate what industry bodies to apply for financial grants or community support.
  • Investigate legality of industry and copy write implications.
  • Legal things like, what insurance would I need? See more here for help on this.
  • What are my privacy policy, terms and conditions?

Research and planning ahead of time built my confidence in the business success and created a great foundation to refer to when fear crept in.

Step 2: Focus on Micro-Tasks
After doing a ton of research into multiple aspects of starting my small business I noticed how I was taking a bite-sized approach to getting my business launched. Things got done and there was an absence of panic and worry.

Schedule a number of micro-tasks or divide your business goals into a series of smaller goals that you can accomplish day-by-day or hour-by-hour. There are quite a few benefits of taking it one job at a time:

  • Tasks get completed: my usual tendency is to start lots of things and then if I get bored or it gets too hard, to switch to something more fun or not finish at all!
  • You move forward, at a steady pace.
  • Energy levels remain stable as you aren’t frantic, wasting energy on ‘what if’s’
  • Doing what appears to be the next best action leaves a solid path behind me to refer to for confidence the business has potential.

There is no guarantee everything is going to run smoothly in any part of our lives, least of all in running a small business, but the bite-sized approach ensures things get dealt with in a right-sized realist manner.

 3. Reduce stress with an arsenal of strategies

Even though I have followed Step 1 and 2 there have been, and will continue to be, times when doubt creeps in and I may second-guess this venture and myself. This is when Step 3 kicks into save me.

Here is a list of strategies I have employed so far to get me out of the terrors! This is by no means an exhaustive list. I would love to hear what has worked for you in overcoming fear of starting your small business.

  • Find a mentor who knows the path you are walking. When you hit overwhelm and everything looks bleak, they will you inspire and add perspective.
  • Use meditation to take a break and transform your doom and gloom mind to one of positivity and often provides an amazing solution to challenges.
  • Pausing. I use Inspirational literature or quotes to help disconnect for a few moments. They release the fear long enough to get back to my day absent from worry.
  • Refer back to your wall chart and the solid foundation and research. This illustrates the process I have gone through and how far I have come, motivating me to keep moving forward.
  • Self-care is very important to overcome fear. I accept that some days may be harder than others, but it is only today. I take care not to talk badly of myself, have a nourishing meal, get some fresh air and have a good night’s sleep.

These are some of the most important steps I have used in overcoming the voice inside saying I have a fear of starting my own business.
For more tips on starting out try this article on How to find customers for your business.

Love to hear your thoughts on what starting your small business has been like for you. If you are still struggling then taking our Clarity Process might be just what you need to build a solid foundation of research, confidence and customer insights. Check out our Clarity Process here

Author - Johannah Barton

Johannah Barton

Johannah is founder and owner of Confetti Design, a leading Melbourne Shopify Agency. Her extensive background in fashion, interior design, sales and marketing contributes to the Agencies great ability and reputation. She creates content that helps small businesses navigate the online space helping them to consider their website as a sales tool.

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