B U S I N E S S


BUSINESS CAN BE SCARY

Post by Amarilis Sarango

Starting a business (and even worse, running a business) can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. In the spirit of Halloween and all that is frightening, let’s talk about 3 common fears entrepreneurs may face and how to overcome them successfully.


FEAR OF CRITICISM


Nobody likes rejection. One of the main reasons people hold back from pursuing something is because they fear they will be vulnerable to criticism. We fear what others may think of us and how that judgment will affect us. But what you have to remember is that what people think is just an opinion. In a business, you will have to work with people at one point or another. Whether it’s your colleagues, employees, or customers, they will all have opinions. Hopefully you’re targeting the right customers, working with positive like-minded people that build you up versus tearing you down, in which case, their opinion will have more weight and consideration. There is a difference between constructive criticism and just plain personal opinion. Constructive criticism aims to help you develop areas that need improvement and suggestions for progress whereas personal opinion is just someone trying to get their point of view heard with no regards to your growth. If someone offers you nothing but negative feedback with no suggestions of how to improve, don’t take it to heart. Many times, it’s just someone venting or a reflection of themselves. Don’t let that stop you from being vulnerable. Getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to grow. Great criticism can challenge you to tackle a problem in a different way or think outside of the box. You can listen to what people say but still make the decision whether it’s worth considering or moving on. If it’s coming from a person who cares about you or someone you look up to (like a mentor), you may want to consider their advice. If it’s coming from someone who genuinely means well, but doesn’t have experience or the expertise in the area they are offering critique, then you could take their comment with a grain of salt. Either way, it’s your call to make.


FEAR OF NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH


Many people think that they are not educated enough or have the proper track record to start a business, a blog, or be an authority on a subject if it’s something they’ve never done before. As if we are waiting to reach some level of perfection or not try at all. I’m all for planning and being ready before you jump in head first, but at some point you have to take the first step. We often compare ourselves to others and think that so and so is more qualified than us. We think we don’t have what it takes or that we don’t have the proper credentials to back it up. Especially for artists like myself, some people think that it takes a special kind of talent to be successful versus a skill that can be learned. Although some people are naturally gifted in some areas than others, I honestly think that success has nothing to do with just raw talent or pure luck for that matter. I think dedication, perseverance, and the ability to learn and adapt matter much more. With adapting, you are constantly evolving and improving. We are all work in progress. Nobody is perfect. Which means, nobody has all the answers. And if you do know it all, well, you wouldn’t be reading this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into a know-it-all that claimed to be an expert in something and actually had no clue what they were talking about. Yet, that didn’t hold them back! I’ve known people who lie on their resume, pretend to work for a company they don’t, and knew a person who somehow managed to get hired as full-time graphic designer position and tried to hire me to do their work (in secret) because they knew nothing about design! As long as you aren’t one of those people, you shouldn’t question yourself. On the flip side, I’ve also known people that have had no formal education, held no degrees, completely self-taught and eventually became very successful.

COURAGE DOESN'T MEAN YOU'RE NEVER AFRAID. COURAGE MEANS YOU DON'T LET FEAR STOP YOU.

You may have heard of “Impostor Syndrome”. It isn’t a psychological disorder, but rather a negatively skewed way of thinking in which a person feels like a “fraud” and that people are “going to notice and call them out”, even if it is completely untrue. Interestingly its very prevalent among artists, bloggers, writers, and even entrepreneurs where they are in fear that people will discover that they are unqualified and incompetent. It’s funny, the people that should be considered “frauds” are completely delusional and the people that are competent usually underestimate themselves and are their own worst critics. It took me awhile to get comfortable with the title Creative Director, even though I have 15 years of creative experience, 2 degrees, have been hired under that title besides Art Director and Graphic Designer. I’m still not comfortable with calling myself a writer or blogger even though I write for 2 of my own blogs—the other being Black Velvet (you know, I’m not a real writer since I’ve never been published on any other site or publication other than my own. lol). The point is, I’m not letting it stop me from trying and you shouldn’t let it stop you either. Every person has a unique perspective they can contribute to the world whether it’s at a novice or advanced level. You don’t need anybody’s approval, just your own.


FEAR OF FAILING


My fear of regret is much greater than my fear of failure. Because of my perfectionist nature, I used to let failure hold me back from trying certain things. I didn’t want it to tarnish my “perfect” record of success. But you know what, the path to real success is messy, it’s not a perfect linear line of never messing up. In fact, there is so much growth that comes from failing. You learn what areas you need to improve and how to overcome that situation or steer in another direction if needed in the future. This is what we call irreplaceable experience—experience from failing and learning from those failures. There’s a saying that you should learn to “fail often and fail fast”. In other words, make a lot of mistakes so you can learn quicker. So much growth comes from learning how to adapt and shift when needed. But there’s no way to learn that if everything is smooth sailing. If you don’t have experience with failing, the first sign of it may feel catastrophic. Even very successful people sometimes eventually plateau because they haven’t failed yet. Sometimes, I would not even mention my endeavors to colleagues, family members, or friends just to avoid having to explain myself if it didn’t work out. If they didn’t know about it, then it didn’t happen. But this type of mentality is very detrimental and makes you feel like what you do is not worthy of sharing unless you’re successful.

DON’T LET SOMEONE WHO GAVE UP ON THEIR DREAM CONVINCE YOU TO GIVE UP ON YOURS.

Don’t let others failures scare you from going after your goals. Everybody is not on the same path nor share the same exact experience. What didn’t work for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work out for you. In other words, don’t let someone who gave up on their dream convince you to give up on yours. There’s nothing stopping you. With a bit of encouragement, self determination, and allowing yourself to be flawed, you’ll become more confident with every step forward you take. Even if its baby steps. Nothing is impossible. Take your time. Do it your way. You’ve got this.