5 Fears That Every Entrepreneur Must Overcome

Fear. It is a powerful emotion that we all experience ever since we are kids. Fear can be both devastating and motivating. When it’s devastating, it can prevent us from moving forward and achieving our goals. When it’s motivating, it can push you to the next level of greatness. Starting a business requires a full set of skills. Besides technical knowledge and familiarity of your industry, being an entrepreneur also demands a strong mental component.

Every CEO has fear, even the most successful ones out there. But what we don’t know is that how many businesses never get started because the would-be founder lost his or her nerve at the last minute, succumbing to their fear. To overcome your fear, we first need to breakdown what causes them. In this article, we will go over the 5 common fears that every entrepreneur must overcome, while providing tips on how to improve yourself.

  1. Fear of Failure
  2. The fear of failure is probably the most common fear for entrepreneurs. It’s this little voice inside your head that whispers all the terrible things that can go wrong in your business. What if I made a mistake? What if I run out of money? What if I can’t make any sales from this?

    A real killer is the public aspect of failure. When you start a business, you’re sticking your head out from the crowd. The pressure of family, friends, and the world thinking you’re going to be a failure is immense, but you can’t let your pride play tricks with you when you want to succeed.

    Causes Of This Fear

    The fear of failure results from your previous experiences with it. This fear can grow stronger and stronger as you meet more failures in your life. You can’t help but feel defeated and hopeless because things seem to never work out for you. Every time you fail, you are reminded by your past memories of how you didn’t make it no matter the amount of effort you put in.

    You could also be a perfectionist. Your perfectionism can make you do the same task over and over again without ever making much progress, because you want it to be perfect. You can’t bear to face failure, so you might delay your business launch or projects because not everything feels perfect to you.

    How To Overcome This Fear

    One thing you can do is learn how to distinguish the irrational fear of failure from the helpful and intuitive insight that something needs to be fixed. You can do this by identifying the problem as something that is general or specific. If it’s something that is very specific, you can logically analyze it and think of ways to resolve it to avoid failure. But if it is something general and vague, it’s likely that it is just a mental block.

  3. Fear of the Unknown
  4. One of the biggest reasons why we are afraid of the dark is because we can’t see what’s inside. We don’t know what lies beyond that. We don’t know what will happen to us if we step in. Fear of the unknown for an entrepreneur works very similarly. When you’re just starting out, you have no idea what to expect for your business. You have to learn a lot of things from scratch, and you would probably make a lot of mistakes.

    Causes Of This Fear

    You’re insecure about the future. Being an entrepreneur and launching a business are something that you probably have never experienced. You feel secure at the current state you’re at, so why would you risk yourself and do something that you don’t know anything about?

    How To Overcome This Fear

    Be persistent and remind yourself why you wanted to become an entrepreneur in the first place. Is it because you want to be your own boss? You want flexible hours? You want to chase after your own dream? Visualize your success and focus on the exact steps that need to be taken in order to achieve your goals, and don’t let your fear of the unknown get into your head.

    Don’t be afraid of making mistakes either. Sometimes, it’s okay to make mistakes when you don’t know something. The most important lesson here is to learn from your mistakes, and remember that experience so that you would know what to do next time. As an entrepreneur, you have to push yourself to venture into the unknown, and once you know what’s inside, you might realize that it’s not that scary after all.

    Getting yourself a mentor or coach is also a good way to combat this fear. Mentors and coaches are well-experienced people who can guide you every step of the way. You can learn a lot from them and you would have a better idea of what to expect.

  5. Fear of Change
  6. Change can be frightening. Whether it is moving to a new city, starting a new career, or becoming an entrepreneur, all of that involves change. This fear may affect you to be unwilling to move forward, progress, or alter any routine. It pressures us to interact and navigate life in completely new ways.

    Causes Of This Fear

    Humans are habitual creatures. We like to stick to our routine because that’s what we feel most comfortable and safe. We don’t like changes because we would lose that sense of control. A change of environment involves being able to adapt, meeting new people, and learning new things. Our adaptability is challenged when we change, and that puts a lot of mental pressure on us if we are unable to do so.

    How To Overcome This Fear

    Our mind can lift us up to be whoever we want to be, or break us down like we are nothing. Our imagination can sometimes get the best of us. Even if you feel like you are completely out of control, there is still one thing that you can be in charge of. You can be honest with your worst case scenario. Critically reflect what your worst case scenario is, and the chances of it actually happening.

    For example, your worst case scenario could be you can’t make a single sale even when you invested hundreds of dollars into advertising. But you know you are smarter than that. You would do your homework, and would not invest in a huge amount of money into your first advertising campaign if you’ve never created an ad before. Once you’ve figured out what your worst case scenario is, find out exactly what you need to do to lower the chances of it happening.

  7. Fear of Being Wrong
  8. This fear is a little subtler, but it can be just as deadly. Similar to fear of change, fear of being wrong is egoistic. It forces you to stay where you’re at because you are emotionally invested in a certain way of doing things. You may also be afraid or ashamed of admitting that you’re wrong, so you ignore other possibilities that contradict to what you believe in.

    Causes Of This Fear

    Not all of us take criticisms well. We feel at risk, uncertain, and doubtful. We love praises, but dislike criticisms. We can receive 100 compliments, but all it takes is for just that one bad comment to break us down. One piece of negative feedback and we can become personally hurt. We might also fear at the thought of how others see ourselves if we’re at fault.

    How To Overcome This Fear

    Redeem yourself by learning how to become a better entrepreneur. Some say that the best revenge is success. Channel your fear and use it to your advantage to encourage yourself for improvement. You should also speak up for yourself. When someone criticizes you, tell them that you appreciate the comment but it’s also compromising your feelings if it is hurtful. What you really should receive is constructive criticism and positive feedback, not someone bluntly telling you that you are wrong.

  9. Fear of Not Pleasing Everyone
  10. If you want to succeed in business, it is obvious that you have to deliver something that someone want or need. However, some of us may find ourselves straying too far off from this. The constant desire to accommodate everyone may be disastrous to your business. If you try to be too broad, you may end up not connecting with any real customers.

    There’s also the fear of displeasing employees, partners, or anyone you work with. Every business leader must make decisions at some point that not everyone agrees. You might find yourself making a decision that doesn’t align with your business goals just because you want your employees to be pleased.

    Causes Of This Fear

    You always want to encompass everyone, or you are a people pleaser. This may be part of your personality, or just something you believe in doing. That’s alright and all, but if you do it too much, you may end up hurting and overwhelming yourself. Some people want to please everyone because they want to feel like they belong and accepted.

    How To Overcome This Fear

    Make sure that the people you are working with share your vision, and that they are truly contributing to it. You have to clearly identify your market and goals, and make sure the decisions you end up choosing help to work towards the goals, instead of pleasing everyone. You have to also believe in yourself, especially when it seems like the whole world is against you.


We all face fears. Too much fear is bad, but a little bit goes a long way. It’s all about finding balance and accepting your fear. Sometimes, it’s okay to feel scared and have moments where you question what you’re doing. But fear also serves as a reminder for us that we can have a lot to lose, so we really need to step up our game. Fear encourages us to make smarter decisions and push us forward.