When it comes to getting your first business off the ground, failure may seem inevitable. But if you’re able to recognize these fears and discover ways to overcome them, you’ll find you may just have a fighting chance at success.

A. Not Having Experience


As a first-time business owner, I had no idea what I didn’t know. My co-founder and I leveraged our networks to build a small team and large group of mentors to help us along the way. We’ve had many individuals with great business and industry experience coach us through rough spots and obstacles we weren’t sure how to overcome, and wouldn’t be where we are today without them. – Laura Johnson, Salty Girl Seafood

A. Pitching


Getting in front of a crowd with every set of eyes piercing into the imperfection in my plan had always made me uncomfortable. Through repetition and an acceptance of imperfection and failure, I was able to wade from fear to tolerance, and eventually from tolerance to enjoyment. At the end of the day, feeling uncomfortable is the only surefire way to overcome your fears. – Zimin Hang, Ultradia

A. Feeling Shame


My biggest fear was experiencing shame if I failed. Shame is extremely painful, and most of us first experienced it as the withholding of love by our parents when we did things they didn’t approve. We carry the fear of failing those we love — and losing their love — into adulthood, and avoid taking risks that could result in shame. I’ve dealt with this fear through books, therapy, mentors and coaching. – Malachi Leopold, Media Lark, Inc.

A. Finding Customers


When I thought of my business concept, it was hard to tell if anyone would actually use the service, because it’s not one someone would publicly state they need help with. So the first thing I did was offer our service for free to a few clients to prove what amazing results it could provide. When those results were publicized, it was much easier for people to be open to it. – Thomas Edwards, The Professional Wingman

A. Running Out of Cash


When I quit my job to work full-time for Kuli Kuli, I was terrified that I would run out of cash before being able to take a salary. I realized that I needed to be confident in my own abilities and know that I would be able to find another job before I completely ran out of cash. – Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

A. Not Knowing Where to Begin


When I thought of the idea that eventually became AlignedSigns.com, I was like an excited hamster going in circles. Thinking of the idea in the larger picture was sometimes overwhelming, so I approached it like eating: one bite at a time. I started with what I knew and took strategic steps. Then, once I got on my path, I discovered what I didn’t know and explored those areas methodically. – Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

A. Failing


My biggest fear was running out of money and failing. I hired my first full-time employee before we were really ready because he graduated college and would be leaving if I couldn’t offer full-time work. There were a number of events that I thought would have ended the company, but we survived them all. Now I come to expect madness, and have gotten used to riding this “rocket ship” with no steering wheel. – Christopher Rodgers, Colorado SEO Pros

A. Standing Out From the Crowd


It’s easy to say failure and fear of success are some of the biggest fears when starting a business, but it also comes down to establishing yourself and your business in an extremely competitive industry. The Internet has not only made it extremely easy for anyone to start a business of their own; it’s also made the entrepreneurial world very saturated. You need to do everything in your power to stand out from the crowd. – Zac Johnson, How to Start a Blog

These answers are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

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