Today, more people than ever are driven to create their own businesses. While the thought of being your own boss and creating something you love can be exhilarating, many entrepreneurs also experience that prickly feeling of fear when they actually launch. After all, the potential for failure is high in the early stages of a startup, and new businesses don’t always make it past their first few years.
Some people will fold under the pressure while others will rise to the challenge despite their fear. To help you ensure you’re in the latter camp, 14 members of Rolling Stone Culture Council share how entrepreneurs can overcome the fear of failure and push forward.
Learn From Those Who Have Failed Before
The first thing any entrepreneur should do is learn from those who have failed before them. There are so many entrepreneurs who have failed before and they have learned what not to do and what mistakes to avoid. It’s important for any entrepreneur to remember that there will be failures, but it’s also important for them to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
Find the Lesson
I’ve failed thousands of times in my life and will probably fail thousands more. The most important and critical part of failure is finding the lesson. Every time I’ve failed, I’ve learned something from that situation, adjusted and made it a point to grow as an entrepreneur. – Jayson Sawyer, JABM Enterprises
Change Your Thought Process
If you want to build a business from the ground up, your mindset around failure needs to change. You need to see failure as a lesson and your startup like an experiment — much like scientists do when they are figuring out a formula. If you do it this way, you realize that every failure brings you closer to success. Failures are data points for you to iterate on to get to a great business. – Jason Saltzman, Relief
Monitor Your Cash Flow
The most important tip for anyone launching a business is to know where your money is coming from and where it is going. Track which revenue sources are working or not working and do more of what is working. You need to spend money sensibly. Thus, review your budget monthly. – Matt Campbell, My Wedding Songs
Know Your Industry
When you start, you never think of failure. If you do, you’ll fail. Knowing our market, understanding our product road map and having a great team helped me know we have something that no one else has. Above all else, know your industry better than all incumbents and new companies. Tell the team where the future of the industry is going and what you think. If you are right, the team will trust you on the road map. – Adam Rumanek, Aux Mode Inc.
Have a Backup Plan
Be able to deal with failure should it come, and don’t let hard knocks keep you down. Understand that failure is a building block of success. Negate any damage by having your own backup plan and maybe a few old industry folks to ask questions about your dream to. Ask for help if you need it. If everyone could build a business, they would do it. Many can’t, but you can because you believe it. Push forward. – Wayne Bell, Really Big Coloring Books® Inc. | ColoringBook.com
Ride the Rough Patches
Begin by knowing that the best planning will not prevent bumps in the road. Ride the rough patches and keep going forward. Address the issues you are able to and let go of those things you cannot control. Evaluate your mistakes and see them as learning opportunities. – Sheila Dedenbach, Heavenly Sweet
Curate a Fail-Forward Mindset
Many people have good ideas, but it is the ones who have tenacity, who fall down and get back up every single day, who will be successful. Know that you will fail — you wouldn’t grow and improve if you didn’t — but take that failure and use it to improve, to create new systems and procedures and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. A fail-forward mindset removes blame and encourages innovation. – Jason Hennessey, Hennessey Digital
This is simple to say, yet can be difficult to implement, but for me, limiting time with naysayers who wouldn’t themselves have the nerve to start something was critical. Beginnings of anything are fragile, and too much exposure to people who think it can’t be done because they can’t do it personally will water down the best creative impulses and drive to succeed for anybody. – Cate Rubenstein
Create and Implement a Business Strategy
Like with any investment in life, you have to do your research, create a business strategy and make plans to implement it. Learn about your market and identify major threats that can impact your business. Identify or create your business opportunities. Be humble and willing to learn from others. Trust your abilities. Don’t let fear guide you. Learn from little mistakes and little accomplishments. – Rene Nunez, Sensum
Start With an MVP
The best way is to start with a minimum viable product or service (MVP) for what you’re offering so this minimizes financial, time and energy risk. We can do lots of mindset shifts and mental conditioning and training, but the best way to overcome the fear of failure is to experience mini successes. So once we have our MVP, we should next aim to get users for our business and gather positive feedback. – Royston G King, Royston G King Group & Companies
Aim for Smaller, Actionable Goals
As an entrepreneur, I learned that you have to think of the present through small, day-to-day actions. Without that, there is no future for your business (or any other.) Aiming for smaller, actionable goals also reduces risk. – Jacob Mathison, Mathison Projects Inc.
Build a Solid Support System
Hands down, you should have a great support system in place and surround yourself with positive people. Assuming you’ve done all the research and the work and financials beforehand, this is the one thing that can make or break you. That first year is rarely smooth. There will be issues that come up, and to have a great mentor, business partner or friend there to help you through it is a necessity. – Karina Michel Feld, Tallulah Films
Find Your ‘Why’
Advocating for harm reduction and cannabis legalization policies while doing my public relations work helped me find purpose behind the push and gave me greater ownership over my career. It also made me more resilient; if I failed at something, I could always pick myself up and try again, knowing every step forward was helping others. Work for more than the bottom line — find what fuels your fire. – Evan Nison, NisonCo