It is believed that 3 to 5 percent of people are natural-born entrepreneurs. We easily recognize them: from the age of 7 they have been selling limonade, matches or newspapers, they finding opportunities everywhere, and almost never working “for the boss”. People in other categories become entrepreneurs in other path and they need more serious adaptation to this role.
I’m the kind of person who wasn’t born an entrepreneur. I had to start my career as an entrepreneur because I lost my job. At first I began to participate as a freelancer in elections at various levels. In 2002, when the elections were over, I had opened agency of advertising and marketing.
When I started my own business, I realized that the main difference between entrepreneurship and all other jobs is the responsibility for the financial result (not like managers’ KPIs, but full, up to personal bankruptcy) and the constant risk associated with it.
I’ll be honest with you: despite my vast entrepreneurial experience, I’m still scared to start a new business, especially if it’s borrowed money. And I still run into this barrier every time I considerably step out of line. And I must to work with my “demons” if I wan’t to not to ruin my business.
Fear of starting business. How to defeat your inner demons?
There are many techniques for managing fear. Personally, I find three of them helpful:
1. Placing oneself in the “zone of death”
Most people want to live in comfort and calm. But for the entrepreneur, these things are enemy №1. Staying in comfort and calmness you stop thinking, developing, looking for opportunities and, as a consequence, your business fails.
An entrepreneur by nature should be a predator, he must constantly be in search of new prey, new opportunities, new victims (competitors). An entrepreneur becomes even more productive if he is “stand against the wall,” when he has to act quickly and forcefully.
This is how the term “death zone” came about. It is a place where it is necessary to act immediately. It is a place from which you cannot retreat. The tools of the death zone are a promise that cannot be broken and a deadline, which is essentially the same promise.
2. Fixing small victories on the way to the big goal
Any business needs time to develop. Sometimes it takes years before a business begins to make its first profit. During this long period, it is important for the entrepreneur not to lose faith and keep going.
That’s why it’s important for the aspiring entrepreneur to learn how to set and achieve intermediate goals. That’s why small success is also = success.
Even if you have a very small market share right now and nobody knows about your business, think about this: “How do those who are just starting a business in your industry feel right now?” Personally, it helps me to realize how far I’ve come and motivates me to keep going.
3. Risk Management
Many business books and various coaches advise entrepreneurs to borrow money to grow their business. There is even a quote: “Anyone who is not willing to mortgage his house for his own business is not a true entrepreneur”.
Personally, I don’t agree with that statement. I’m not willing to risk everything I have for doing business. Probably because I’ve very often been on edge and it has reflected badly on me and my family.
Certainly, borrowing money allows a business to grow faster. But if you are just starting out in business you are highly likely to fail. And you will lose not only your business, but also your home, your car, and possibly your family.
Statistics states: 9 out of 10 businesses close in the first year of operation. Remember it. Personally, I prefer to slowly grow my business with just my own money, or using small loans that don’t create cash gaps if something goes wrong. I prefer to “take as many bites of market as I can eat” without selling off assets, even in the worst-case scenario.
Fear, risk avoidance. Why go into business at all?
I became an entrepreneur in 2002, but the pandemic crisis of 2020 drove me into the “death zone”. After my business began to suffer astronomical losses for several months in a row while continuing to make a hefty house loan payment (the classic story), life stopped seeming great.
The depression began. I treated myself with books. The two ordinary books for personal growth, at first glance, were great for my mood and helped me rethink my life. They were “The Only Way to Win” by Jim Loehr and “The Power of Full Engagement” also by Loehr, co-authored with Tony Schwartz.
From these books, I learned simple thoughts about how a person works as a battery – there is a time to expend energy and a time to store it. And also that just as a stool should have several legs for stability, so a person should have several areas of life, in which he puts his energy, and from which he receives it. And one should not pump up one sphere (for example, work) to the detriment of another sphere (for example, family).
The human body can be compared to a battery. The humans cannot waste resources forever without recharging them. Sooner or later, depletion will come.
Developing your own business is not always income and pleasure of self-realization, but also increased tension and stress. Sometimes entrepreneurs run out of energy and burnout sets in.
At the moment when burnout occurs, it is important to understand the reason for this state. Alternatively, ask yourself some questions. For example, “Today I make $10,000 a month. What if I make $100,000 a year from now, but work even harder, would I still be willing to do this business?”.
If the answer is no, then it’s not about the money. Then you look further and ask yourself: “Maybe I’m surrounded by the wrong people? Maybe I don’t like what I’m doing?” And so on.
An entrepreneur should not run a business and bang his head against the walls. This is the path to self-destruction.
If you have started a business and have a similar feeling, I strongly advise you to read these books. After reading that I understand my mistakes, gradually came to my senses and realized that I will continue on the path of an entrepreneur, but in another sphere.
What did I eventually become?
I decided to open an entrepreneurial coaching firm. During the crisis there was a lot less competition in this market, which made it relatively easy for me to enter.
One of the advantages of a small business is that you can do interesting stuff and not do what’s not interesting you.
Of course, starting a new business was not easy. I sold the first event very well, but I didn’t organize it very well. It was an important lesson for me. For the next event I got my spouse involved, she is very communicative and customer-oriented in her blood. Gradually other people began to appear in the team, and since then it makes sense to say “We” about our company. We organized the second event almost perfectly.
We decided to help people avoid the mistakes of entrepreneurship. Our approach is an honest story about running a business, without embellishments.
After working for about a year, we met a lot of interesting entrepreneurs. And what we saw was that a person starts a business with certain goals: to make money, to raise the quality of his family’s life, to realize his dreams, to become freer etc. In fact, they have to work very hard and feel stress all the time. Money comes, but there is no time to realize dreams, there is no time to communicate with family, was not freedom. Happiness does not come, and money, of course, does not solve it.
The Dalai Lama once said: “It’s amazing that people first spend their health to make money, and then they try to buy health for money.”
And he’s really right. When we enter the entrepreneurial race, we waste a lot of our health. And we sacrifice not only our health, but also other important things: relationships, hobbies, emotions.
That’s why we want to make it clear to you that the most important thing in running a business is not money, but satisfaction. First and foremost, you have to get a satisfaction out of it. If that’s not the case, it’s time to make a change.
The idea behind my business is to prove and show entrepreneurs every day that business can be done with pleasure and satisfaction. That it must serve the owner’s life goals, not replace them. That it is necessary to live here and now. This is the only way to stay in tune with yourself and stay healthy.