What is a 4 Letter Word that Starts with F?

Don't let Fear hold you back

You have refined your product or services. You have built up your customer or client base. You’re past the “start-up” phase, and well beyond the “break-even” point. You did it all by yourself.

Congratulations, your an amazing Solopreneur!

Meanwhile, you’re working a 60 hour work week. There is always MORE work to do. You can’t scale your biz because you can’t take on any more work. You haven’t had a vacation in over a year. And yet, your afraid to do anything differently, after all, everything you’re doing got you this far.

If something got you this far, then continuing to do something the same way is playing it safe… right?

In practice, giving in to your fear often feels like “playing it safe” and avoiding risk, but really this isn’t true. There is risk in fear-based decision making – the very real risk that you end up staying a Worker Bee forever.

Here’s the thing – Playing it safe feels like it is protecting you from failure, but in reality, it can actually cause failure.

Too many entrepreneurs, women, in particular, are letting fear cost them, big time. I see it all the time. And, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you want to go from Solopreneuring to becoming a true CEO, it’s time to take a good hard look to see if fear-based decision making is standing between you and your entrepreneurial dreams.

Here’s what to look for:

Fear of Judgement

When you look at others in your sector, you have a tendency to compare yourself to them, and always seem to come up short. You sometimes feel like a fraud, and worse, you’re convinced that is what everyone else sees too.

Here’s what it looks like:

You were invited to showcase your wares at a local art show, but felt that the work of the other artists was much better than yours, so you declined.

You got a hot lead for a consulting job with a Fortune 500 company through a close contact but decided not to follow up on it because you were intimidated by the prestige of the client.

You have been charging the same rates for your coaching services for the last 3 years. You have so many clients that your schedule is constantly overbooked. Yet, you refuse to raise your rates because you feel like you might be “ripping off” your clients.

Here’s what it’s costing you:

Fear of judgement, a.k.a. Imposter Syndrome keeps you from reaching your full potential. It creates a sense of “less than” which translates into missed opportunities, undervaluing your work, and ultimately, a business model that flatlines.

Fear of Letting Go

This fear often takes the form of “No one else can do it as well as I can.” If you experience anxiety when it comes to delegating, outsourcing, or hiring decisions, then be on the lookout for this one.

Here’s what it looks like:

Your work week has become a never-ending daily grind. Most of the tasks you do are repetitive and monotonous. You’re starting to wonder if entrepreneurship is really that much different than a job.

You tried hiring a freelancer once, but she didn’t do the tasks in the same order as you did. You decided that only you can really do the data entry for your weekly sales, so now that three hours of weekly work is back on your schedule.

You haven’t had a real vacation since you started your business. You dream about a week at the beach, and the money is in the bank for the trip. But you fear that if you walk away from the day to day operations your biz will fall apart.

Here’s what it’s costing you:

Fear of letting go, a.k.a. Worker Bee Syndrome keeps you from scaling your business. You get trapped working in your business, not on your business. As long as you assign yourself the menial labor involved in running your business, you won’t be able to put the energy into growing your business.

And, fear of letting go means you don’t make the needed time for yourself to rest. You will eventually lose the passion that you brought to your biz in the first place. Burn out is coming if you don’t learn to let go.

Fear of Failure

When you are afraid of failure, you miss so many opportunities to invest in your business – critical for growth.

Here’s what it looks like:

You have done some research on small business loans, but refuse to pull the trigger even though the numbers look good. Meanwhile, your biz lacks the capital to make the jump to the next level.

You’re introduced to a business coach at a local lunch n’ learn for female entrepreneurs. You definitely hit it off and felt that she had something to offer you in terms of growing your business. Yet, you fail to follow up with her because you’re convinced your business isn’t ready to grow yet. Maybe next year…

Here’s what it’s costing you:

When fear of failure is holding you back, it usually shows up as a lack of willingness to invest in your business. It also keeps you from taking the risks you need to scale. In the end, fear of failure might seem like it is keeping you safe, but what it is really doing is keeping you stuck.

The Root Cause: Fear of Change

I have spent decades building successful businesses and helping others do the same. Many of my clients come to me as successful Solopreneurs. They have great ideas, plenty of vision, and a ton of work to do.

But, they are often afraid of change. They got this far with hard work, determination, and plenty of missed vacations. It must be working right?

Um, no. Just because it got you off the ground doesn’t mean it will take your business to the next level.

In order to go from Solo to CEO, you have to be ready to identify fear-based decision making, and decide to make a change – even if you think you’re not ready. It’s a mindset thing.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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