Fear dictates the path for many of us. And yet, feeling fear is no bad thing. It is an indicator we are about to move beyond our comfort zone.
This seems scary as we are used to craving security, but while staying in your secure bubble, you are missing out on all the fun going on outside.
I’m not saying it’s bad to feel afraid. In the words of Susan Jeffers, you need to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. However, don’t run the risk of letting your dreams escape because you’re wondering about too many “what ifs”.
When I started Apollo Care, my biggest fear was that it wasn’t going to work. I put my heart and soul into the idea, but what if it was all for nothing? What’s more, I had no business expertise, nor did I have much capital to invest. What I was doing would be best described as madness judging by most people’s standards.
I also worried that no -one was going to take me seriously, given the level of competition already out there.
I overcame these fears by doing two main things:
1. I continued in my day job part-time working while I built the business up. It was VERY difficult to do but I had to have an income from somewhere.
2. I totally believed in what I was doing. I knew what I had was different from everyone else: care was at the heart of everything I did. This allowed me to stand out in a very noisy industry.
But it’s easy for me to say. After all, my business has proven successful.
What about when you’re just starting out?
There are many different fears that new entrepreneurs experience. Here are six of the most common:
1. Fear the business will go badly
It’s natural to worry that running a business won’t be plain sailing. That’s just realistic thinking, so acknowledge things won’t always go to plan and you will have to adapt. But the only way to guarantee failure is to never get started.
Some good business failsafes you can put in place are a good mentor, a solid business plan and regular reviews of your business plan. Look for honesty among your team members and don’t bury your head in the sand.
Be consistent. Every day, work on a task that develops your business. Choose how you spend your time wisely because it’s easy to work hard on unimportant tasks that mean you are not getting any further. A good mentor will steer you in the right direction if you’re focussing on the wrong things. Finally, check in with yourself weekly to ensure you’re making the progress you’d hoped for.
2. Fear of having nothing to catch you if things go wrong
The key reason many people don’t go into business is that they need the reassurance of a steady paycheque at the end of the month.
When you’re the boss, it’s your job to find the money to pay everyone else, including yourself. You have to put in the hard work to get customers and a cash flow. You’re learning a lot of new skills in one go, and if you’ve only ever worked for someone else, this will mean a complete gear shift in the way you think about work. Work is very much based on performance rather than time spent in the office, so every task you take on has to count.
At first, you may not make a profit for a while, which means you need to have money in the bank to live on while becoming established.
Yet, once your business starts to generate some money, these small successes will motivate you to carry on.
You have two options: go all in and make your business your sole form of income, which will be a great impetus to keep going, or you can do what I did, and work part-time so you’re guaranteed money each month. You have to be disciplined outside of your work hours to make sure you’re treating your own business as a job, not a hobby.
3. Fear you’re being selfish to your family
When you have a family and mouths to feed, you may feel inhibited from going after your dream because of the financial risk to the family budget. Also, the time spent building a business means you won’t be as present for your family at the very beginning. It’s not switching off at half past five in the evening like with most jobs.
Some of your nearest and dearest won’t encourage you because they’ve been brought up with the mindset that earning money means working for someone else and your plan should be to do that until you retire. Don’t be discouraged. There are other people out there who “get it” and will work with you through the dark times.
Tell yourself that you will be a better support to your family when you’re happy making money doing the thing you love rather than trapped working someone else’s timetable. The flexibility you gain benefits your family more than a consistently mediocre pay packet. And you’ll never have to miss a school play again!
4. Feeling as though you’re incompetent
Anyone starting out who is honest with themselves will admit to suffering from “impostor syndrome”. If they don’t confess to that, it probably means they feel so badly about their ability, they feel a fraud even calling it impostor syndrome.
I wasn’t a business person when I first launched Apollo Care, so I can relate to this fear especially. The truth is we all start as beginners in lots of areas such as accounting, marketing, recruiting and sales. In this instance, you have to accept your limitations and learn new skills, get advice from a business coach or mentor, or hire people with these areas of expertise.
In the short term, your budget may not permit hiring staff and outsourcing to freelancers. There are plenty of free resources online and offline, but crucially, don’t be afraid to invest in your skills.
Get involved in networking groups and you will soon find that other people are in a similar situation or have overcome problems like yours.It’s only by being honest and kind to yourself you will be able to change and improve the things that are holding you back from being the person you deserve to be.
5. Fear of not finding funding
Some businesses require next to no capital as they have very few overheads. For example, a graphic designer may only need some software, a laptop and an internet connection to get started. However, if you’re buying a franchise, it’s unlikely your savings will stretch to the licence fee.
Lots of new franchisees worry about getting the necessary loan to get set up. My advice is to speak to your bank. Buying into an established franchise means lenders can see your business has the potential to succeed and is very low risk. We provide a business plan template to help you present the Apollo brand and mission so it’s obvious what an excellent opportunity this is.
Local government startup groups are another avenue to access funding, so do your research and you’ll stand a good chance of getting the capital you need.
6. Fear of loneliness
Okay, this one may seem a little dramatic, but loneliness is an important factor in determining your all-around wellbeing. There is a difference between being able to work unsupervised and being lonely. Loneliness as the head of a business means that you’ve got no-one to get things off your chest to who really understands. Colleagues can have a moan to each other in the staff kitchen, but who’s there to listen to you?
This is where joining professional or networking groups can help you find the camaraderie you got when you were employed.
Being an Apollo franchisee means you have all the benefits of working for yourself while still being part of a team. You can rely on Apollo HQ and our other franchisees for a chat, as we’ve all been where you are.
“I never feel alone being part of a franchise because you’ve always got someone there who can help you, if you need some advice, if you’re worried about something, there’s always someone there to chat to and help you so you’re never ever alone”
Apollo Care franchisee