Some people are natural-born risk takers, jumping into action without much hesitation. Others are perpetual worriers, constantly thinking about the possible consequences of their actions and sometimes failing to make a decision as a result. When the former type of person starts thinking about entrepreneurship, they aren’t afraid to sketch out a business plan, and if it looks okay, they’ll likely have little trouble quitting their job to pursue it. When the latter type of person thinks about becoming an entrepreneur, they’re paralyzed by doubts and fears.
Some doubts and fears are normal — after all, entrepreneurship is an exciting and risky journey — but too many of those thoughts are irrational, and they can trick your mind into thinking that entrepreneurship is an impossible dream.
Take these five illogical thoughts as examples of the crippling power of your own self-doubt:
1. It’s too difficult. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. You’ll face difficult challenges from the moment you sit down to sketch out your business plan. You won’t really know what you’re doing the first year. You’ll work long hours just to scrape by. But there’s no such thing as “too hard” if it’s something you really want to do. You may not be able to work 100 hour weeks or engineer some new technology all by yourself, but as the entrepreneur, you’ll be making the rules and finding the resources to help you get that work done. It’s no picnic, but if you’re dedicated to the idea, all those obstacles won’t feel like obstacles — they’ll feel like opportunities, and you’ll be grateful for the chance to overcome them.
2. I’m not good enough. Everybody thinks this every now and again, no matter their position, intentions, or prior experience. It’s a natural and human belief, and in some cases, it forces us to strive for self-improvement. But when you think you aren’t good enough to be an entrepreneur, there’s no path to self-improvement; instead, you’re stuck believing it’s not in the cards for you to start your own business. If history has shown us anything in the business world, it’s that almost anybody can become a successful entrepreneur. School dropouts and past failures are commonplace as executives of now-massive companies — they got to where they were not by fluke and not because they possess some special genetic code, but because they believed in their ideas and worked hard to make them a reality.
3. I don’t have the resources. This thought might actually be true — you might not have the necessary resources to start a business, such as capital, partnerships, or equipment. But the thought implies that you can’t obtain the resources, and that’s illogical — it’s possible to get almost anything you need to start a business, especially in today’s age of crowdfunding and online networking. Start going to local entrepreneurship meetups and get to know the influencers in your community. They’ll be able to hook you up with almost anyone else you might need, whether you’re looking for investors, mentors, or just skilled talent.
4. That’s a dumb idea. Almost every business idea starts out seeming strange on paper. There are two reasons for this; first, on paper descriptions never fully anticipate or illustrate reality, and second, your initial idea only serves as a rough draft for what your eventual company will become. The business you end up with can and should end up looking very different from that initial supposition. Before you completely write off the credibility of your idea, start exploring it, ironing out the details, and showing it to people in the know to get their feedback on it.
5. If this fails, I’m ruined. This is the thought that stops most potential entrepreneurs in their tracks. Quitting your job, investing your own money, and spending years of your life on a chance for entrepreneurial success seems like a massive gamble, and if it doesn’t pay off, you’ll be ruined. This is only the case if you allow it to be. Failure is never the end of the road — if your idea fails, you’ll walk away with more skills, more experience, more contacts, and more ideas, which means you’ll be more valuable in your next endeavor, regardless of whether it’s an entrepreneurial one.
Don’t let these irrational, unrealistic thoughts stop you from pursuing your dreams as an entrepreneur. It’s going to be hard, it isn’t going to be perfect, and there’s a very real chance that you will fail. But if you take calculated risks, work hard, and keep moving forward, even failure will be a rewarding experience. Focus on what you know and remain as logical and objective as you can; if you feel the call for entrepreneurship, don’t let those nagging thoughts get in your way.