The Top 5 Strategies to Eliminate the Fears of Leaving Corporate Life and Becoming an Entrepreneur

When you wake up in the morning, do you feel a sense of dread as you head to work? Does your boss have a low level of emotional intelligence and does his/her best to make every day in your life extremely difficult? Are you a part of a culture where you always feel like your job is at risk and you are surrounded by colleagues that are so infused with fear, they stab each other in the back to get ahead?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it is time to stop living someone else’s dream and start moving in the direction of becoming an entrepreneur. It is time to start living your own dream by becoming a successful business owner.

Why is it in this day and age that people don’t take the big “leap” and really go for what they love and what they really want to do with their career? The answer is simple: Fear. Fear that you won’t be able to replace your income. Fear that you will fail. Fear of losing benefits. Fear of risk. Fear of not knowing how and when to begin. If you are feeling these fears associated with transitioning from a corporate career to one of being an entrepreneur and running your own business, you are not alone. The majority of corporate leaders experience fear when considering to make the change.

Here are five tips on how to fight the fear of leaving the corporate life and becoming an entrepreneur.

1) Do everything you can to diminish fear.

Why do we feel fear? Fear is a product of uncertainty, and seasoned entrepreneurs will be the first to tell you that all startups come with uncertainties. Sometimes the best way to diminish fear is to walk through each worst case scenario, make a list of all uncertainties, and come to the realization that failure isn’t so bad. If you adopt the concept by John Maxwell of “failing forward”, you will learn to embrace uncertainty and gain valuable information from your failures, which is honestly one of the best ways to grow a business. Starting your own business may also lead to more work, more money and more time, which can lead to a fear of losing time with friends and family. Talk with your friends and family about your quest to become an entrepreneur and ask for their support.

2) Build a strong support network.

What do your family and friends think about your quest to shift from the corporate world to the world of becoming an entrepreneur? Do they think your idea is crazy and will bring about hardship, loss of money and time? If so, it is time to find a strong network of support with like-minded people who can help support you and cheer you on along the way. If you begin to doubt your decision or if you get stuck, you will then have a network of people who can help provide direction and give you advice on how to move forward. As your business builds and becomes successful, your family and friends will get on board, but at the end of the day, your best support system will come from other entrepreneurs. They have walked in your shoes, and they will be able to provide you with valuable strategies on how you can shift to keep moving in the direction of success.

3) Be willing to take risks with your support network by your side.

As an entrepreneur, you will be called to take risks in order to continue to be successful. If you are risk-averse, you may be facing a long uphill battle. The best way to begin taking risks is to put pen to paper and gather as much information as possible about your next steps. By moving information from your brain to paper, you will feel immediate relief. Do your research and turn to your network to provide you with as much information as possible about taking your next steps. At the end of the day, before taking a big leap of faith, there is really no certainty. Once you do your research on your potential risks and crunch a few numbers, the anxiety of taking a risk will diminish. It may not completely go away, but it will certainly lessen as you gather information.

4) Develop new skill sets.

Many of the skills you learned as a corporate leader will be transferrable to your life as an entrepreneur, but you will be called to develop a new set of skills as an entrepreneur. These skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Prospecting: The ability to make outbound calls or send outbound emails to leads in hopes of creating opportunities to attract members to your team. Prospecting can involve cold-calling as well as reaching out to nurture friends, family and colleagues that have gone cold.
  • Enrolling: The ability to bring in new team members or clients. Enrolling also involves casting a vision that will inspire others to join your team or become a client.
  • Presenting: Effective in a variety of informal and formal presentation settings: one-on-one, small and large groups, with peers and team members.
  • Follow Up: Closely monitoring a sales call or training interaction to get feedback on the meeting or conversation or effectiveness of your presentation.
  • Communication: The act or process of effectively using words, sounds, signs, facial expressions, email or behaviors to express or exchange information to express ideas in clear and succinct manner.
  • Building Rapport: Ability to get along with another person, or group of people, by having things in common, making communication easier and more effectively.
  • Listening: Knowing on a deep level what others of saying and pressing for clarification to understand what was said so that others know they have been heard. Skills include: not interrupting, being able to paraphrase, listening for the underlying meeting and being open and accepting of others’ views. Listening includes not only listening to the words being spoken but what is not being said.
  • Ability to cast a vision: Ability to concisely and clearly articulate your vision to team members, clients and colleagues to inspire people to act and move in the direction of your vision.
    Team builder: the action or process of taking measures to ensure a group of people work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation.
  • Leadership: The ability to create an inspiring vision of the future and to get followers to move into new and unknown territories. Great leaders have the competency to get people to engage with their vision for the futures.
  • Goal Setting: The process of identifying what you want to accomplish and establishing measurable tasks and timeframes.
  • Marketing: the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. It includes everything you do from the time you identify a prospect until you make a sale. Marketing continues as you provide customer support for your clients.

5) Analyze your current financial portfolio.

Many people striving to become an entrepreneur struggle with the fear of losing a steady paycheck. As you consider becoming an entrepreneur, it is time to sit down and look realistically at your current financial portfolio. Put some numbers together for the following: How much are your startup costs? How much money do you need in the bank to pay expenses for one year for my family? When do you anticipate generating revenue? What will my overhead be? Do I need a loan, and can I get one? There are two costs you need to consider: your own personal financial situation for you and/or your family, and the finance of your startup. Start cutting back all unnecessary expenses in your life to get your personal cost of living down to a minimum. From there, calculate a year’s worth of expenses to ensure that the costs for you and your family are covered for that year. This one exercise most often helps eliminate the majority of fears of becoming an entrepreneur. If you are in this for the long haul, you will need cash reserves to pay the bills and keep both your personal and your business life running like a well-oiled machine.

Having the courage to quit your corporate job to become an entrepreneur and start a business that you are passionate about is scary yet liberating at the same time. Transitioning from a full-time job with a regular paycheck can be unsettling, therefore you need a strong, solid plan in place. As an entrepreneur, you should identify both the pros and the cons of making such a big transition and note the problems that may pop up along the way. By having the right resources, people and knowledge to make the change will be of tremendous help as you move in the direction of building a career that is built on your terms, your schedule and utilizing your skill set. Enjoy the journey, and at the end of the day…don’t give up! Many people simply give up too soon and being dedicated for the long term process will yield unimaginable success.