You are probably here because you want to start a business. So, what’s stopping you? The entrepreneurial journey probably feels so tricky to start. Well, guess what? It is! Not only are the logistics of starting complex, but one of the most significant difficulties is getting over that hurdle of fear in your way. This article will explore the 12 fears of starting a business and how to overcome them.

Is It Normal To Be Scared To Start A Business?

If you’ve found yourself afraid of taking the leap and making your dreams a reality, know that you are not alone (a common phrase I have been reminded of by loved ones whenever I go through challenging situations in life.) We are never really alone. 

However, with regard to starting a business, a recent survey determined that 92% of people who seriously considered starting a business did not follow through. Most of this can probably be a result of fear. So, really, you aren’t alone. 

You may be scared like the majority, but I hope this article will encourage you to overcome those fears and pull out from the pack to become the entrepreneur you are born to be. 

Why Do Fears of Starting A Business Arise?

When you’re starting a business, it comes from your heart and soul. Therefore, you want to be successful. You want to show the world what you’re made of, and hopefully, you want to make an impact.

Naturally, the more important something is to you, the more you will face internal resistance. It makes sense that you would have many fears when your work, dreams, and goals are important to you.

Common Fears of Starting A Business

Fear is a general term for how you feel. But what exactly is it that you are afraid of? Below are some of the most common fears that can cause a roadblock for potential entrepreneurs like you from starting a small business.

12 Entrepreneurial Fears  

  1. not knowing what you’re doing
  2. failure
  3. judgment 
  4. rejection
  5. lack of funds
  6. the unknown/change
  7. lack of stability
  8. loss of freedom
  9. responsibility and stress
  10. finding the right team
  11. a bleak economic outlook
  12. success 

Let me put you at ease. If any of these sound familiar to you, you have a lot in common with new small business owners and business owners who have had years of success. 

They all had to start from somewhere. At some point in the beginning of their journey, they all experienced one form or another of fear. 

Ultimately, fear can be a powerful barrier and stronghold against you when wanting to start a business. Even the most confident of people face their own fears. Still, every business owner has found a way to push past and overcome them. At least enough to get started and figure the rest out as they go. 

The good news is that fear is manageable. It doesn’t have to get in the way of your success. Below, we will dive deeper, answering all your questions about how to overcome the fear of starting a business.

Fear Of Not Knowing What You’re Doing

First, the fear of not knowing what you’re doing. Like any new adventure, no one knows what they’re doing until they’ve done it before.

It can be understandably scary to start a venture without knowing how to do it or where to start. Especially when you will be solely responsible for the outcome. You might have simple questions about where to start, like:

  • What is an employer identification number (EIN), and how do I get one?
  • Do I need a business bank account right away? 
  • What licenses and permits do I need?
  • How many other types of businesses like mine make it? 
  • And so on…

Many entrepreneurs are especially afraid to start a business without the necessary education, degree, or experience.

The good news is that many successful business owners start from the ground up. They are self-taught dreamers who learned as they went. They had an idea and wanted to share it with the world while capitalizing on it.

In fact, when you think about it, most entrepreneurs are good at creativity and critical thinking. The combination of ideas and trial and error makes for a successful business owner. 

How To Overcome Fear Of Not Knowing What You’re Doing

Just Do It 

As Nike likes to quote, just do it. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone can help push past that fear. Remember, you will learn more by trying 100% of the time than if you had never tried in the first place. 


The good news is, unlike entrepreneurs in past decades, you live in the information age. With today’s technology, you can research anything and learn whatever you like. All at your fingertips. With vast amounts of free educational resources online, you will lack nothing in terms of finding the information you need.

One Step At A Time

There is no requirement that says you must launch your business overnight. Start with a small goal or take small chunks of more manageable tasks and work at crossing things off your to-do list one by one until you get closer to your end goal.

Ask For Help

Other people have been where you are. Don’t hold back from doing online research, taking courses, or asking someone in your industry or even a fellow entrepreneur how to do something if you are at a loss. No entrepreneur is an expert at everything. So, finding a team to help is encouraged.

Never Stop Learning

Lastly, never stop learning. There’s no such thing as being done learning, especially when we live in a world of constant change and technological advancements. 

Even after you’ve climbed that hill, overcome your fears, and established a booming business, staying relevant and ahead of the competition requires an openness to implement strategies to keep your business fresh.  

Fear Of Failure

Okay, so maybe you’ve gotten over the fear of not knowing what the heck you’re doing, and perhaps you’ve decided you’ll do it anyway. However, this is when the fear of failure tends to creep in. It seems to emerge any time we try something new.

All the what ifs…

  • What if no one likes my idea?
  • What if I don’t get any clients? 
  • What if I don’t make any money?
  • What if I go broke?
  • What if my idea is stupid?
  • What if a recession hits?
  • What if someone else has a better idea than mine?
  • What if I make a huge mistake that I can’t fix? 
  • What if I don’t feel like doing this anymore after I start?
  • What if I no longer have a personal life?

…and so on…

Fear of failure makes people avoid taking risks in life because they’re afraid the worst might happen if they do. It is true, owning a business is risky. Why? 

Because not all businesses are guaranteed to be a success, but focusing on perfection to avoid risk to keep you safe will only keep you from success.

It can be hard to see past the doubt that plagues most entrepreneurs. But how do we define failure anyway? Most “failures” concerning business can simply be redirections to something better. 

Every time we “fail,” we learn. It’s especially important to remember that it is doubtful to be a life-or-death situation in business. 

The truth of the matter is, however, no one enjoys experiencing the feeling of failure. For many, sticking it out until retirement with an unfulfilling career is a better option than experiencing entrepreneurial failure. However, choosing that route can be just as, if not more, detrimental to your confidence. 

How To Overcome Fear Of Failure

Guess what? Everyone fails except those who never try. When you embrace the challenges tied to the fear of failure, starting a business becomes an empowering endeavor for those with a determined and innovative mindset.

So, how do we overcome this specific fear of starting a business and try?

Get Some Perspective

One of the best things you can do is to refocus your mindset to get out of the fear bubble. Ask yourself, “If I were to fail, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Then ask, “What would I do if that worst case scenario did happen?”

Allowing yourself to explore the what-ifs and those solutions will help you better understand if the risk vs. reward is worth it. You may find that whatever your worst-case scenario is, you can probably overcome it. 

Focus On What You Could Gain

The launch of a new business is scary. But, imagining your future self owning a business, doing life how you want, and earning your income in a way that fulfills you can make it easier to overcome that fear.

Define What Success Means To You

Success does not mean the same thing for everyone. For some, it’s achieving massive growth and more revenue than you know what to do with. 

For other business owners, success can mean sharing your vision with the immediate community and becoming financially comfortable. Enough to feed your family and pay for the roof over your head, all while doing what you love. 

Once you’ve defined what success means for you, let that guide your efforts. 

Fear Of Being Judged 

Now that you’ve managed your fear of failure, your next thought may be, “What if my family and friends don’t support what I am doing?” or “What if they think it’s stupid?”

Rejection is no easy pill to swallow. In fact, for our ancestors, community acceptance was necessary for survival.

Acceptance as a biological protection has made us dependent on our communities. But, this nature can sometimes cause us to overestimate the actual toll rejection will take on us. 

Let’s be critical here for a moment. It’s improbable that you will be cast out of society for not succeeding at a business endeavor.

Still, people worry that others will think their idea is dumb or that they aren’t smart enough to create a business. But guess what? Often, people who don’t show their support are either jealous or they don’t see you carry yourself with confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?

You might even think your idea is crazy, and if you don’t have others encouraging it, that belief may swallow up your confidence. But guess what? If you show excitement about your ideas, others will be excited for you. Especially those that are closest to you. 

How To Overcome Fear Of Being Judged  

Let’s face it: no one likes being judged, so how do we overcome this specific fear of starting a business??

Embrace The Uniqueness That Makes You…You

Not everyone has the same passions as you. Everyone’s tastes are a little different. But, just because your sister doesn’t share your interests doesn’t mean Susan, a few cities over, won’t. Bringing a fresh perspective to the market is essential. 

You might find that your idea isn’t perfect, even after launching it and getting feedback from real clients. But that’s how you learn and improve your craft. 

Constantly worrying about what your family, neighbors, coworkers, old high school classmates, and even total strangers might think won’t get you anywhere. 

Be yourself, experiment, learn, and share what you love. Eventually, someone else will see what you see and be excited about what you’re excited about. 

Remind Yourself That Most People Aren’t Paying Attention

You are your worst critic. Only you know when you have a bad skin day. Only you know about that little gray hair on the side of your part. No one else pays that close attention. 

The same is true for your work. It’s not to say that no one cares. It’s to say that not as many people will judge you on what you’re trying to accomplish as you think. And when you finally launch your business, people with the same interests will care. 

Consider The Level Of Importance The Potential Doubters Are To You 

Do you actually care what people from high school or a complete stranger on the internet thinks? Have you ever looked at the comments section on popular social media accounts? These people are followed by thousands, if not millions. And still, people are mean. 

Even if someone is loved and supported by many, adversity will always come with an audience. You must learn to ignore and drown out the negativity and the doubters. It is not their life. It’s yours. 

If it’s a close family member you’re worried about, maybe it’s time to have an open conversation.

Surround Yourself With Other Entrepreneurs

One of the best things you can do to gain support and understanding in your business venture is to surround yourself with others who have been in your shoes. 

Even if you don’t know other entrepreneurs in your circle, you can find them. Meeting other entrepreneurs can happen in various settings and events. Here are some places where you can find fellow entrepreneurs:

  • Social Media Groups
  • Online Forums and Communities
  • Co-Working Spaces
  • Networking Events
  • Conferences
  • Chamber of Commerce Events
  • Professional Associations
  • Incubators and Accelerators

Seek Support From Loved Ones

Even if your sister or Rachel from High School doesn’t appreciate what you’re trying to do, a hug and loving word from your mother could never hurt. 

This is just an example. I know not everyone has a loving parent relationship. But I am sure we all have 1 or 2 people we can think of that we are closest to. Reach out to them. 

Fear Of Rejection

Closely related to the fear of judgment is the fear of rejection. 

Rejection is inevitable. Still, it can taste terribly bitter. But, you will have to understand before starting your business venture that you will need to overcome rejection from all directions, including prospective investors, suppliers, vendors, and, yes, even your target market. 

Some people will love your new product or service. Others will be totally uninterested or even express a strong aversion to what you have to offer.

The key here is to focus on connecting with an audience that you can provide the most benefit. There is no need to please everyone; trying to will prove impractical and exhausting.

The best way to get a ‘yes’ is to have the right product or service for someone. That starts with having a unique idea that fills a gap in the market.

How To Overcome Fear Of Rejection

Thankfully, we do not live in ancient times where societal rejection would literally kill you. So, how do we overcome this specific fear of starting a business?

Play The Worst-Case Scenario Game…Again

What is the worst thing that could happen if someone rejected you? What would your response be? I’m guessing that you can come up with some ideas of how you would handle it, and eventually, it might look like continuing despite it.

Don’t Take It Personal

It is important to remember that rejection shouldn’t be taken personally. It’s not about who you are as a person. Or that your idea is terrible. Rejection usually isn’t about you. 

Other parties can have various reasons for rejecting what you have to offer. You must detach yourself from rejection and eventually turn those nos into yeses with more attempts.

Fear Of Lacking Funds

It takes money to make money. While it’s cliché to say, it’s also 100% true. You can’t offer something from nothing. You need materials, whether you provide goods or services. 

You need supplies to create products and tools to offer your services. You can’t get these supplies and tools without purchasing them. Unless you are good at dumpster diving or have a niche for getting free things off OfferUp. 

Ergo, you will need the finances to support your business endeavors. But, before that, you have to figure out how much you need and how you will allocate it. 

If you will financially support your business on your own, you must also consider your personal finances. And keep it separate. But, most people starting out don’t have the budget to support their small businesses and personal lives. 

That’s where small business loans, investors, crowd-funding, donations, cash advances, and more come into play. You have options. But you need to figure out what you need first. 

How To Overcome Fear Of Lacking Funds

Figuring out finances is never a fun topic. It can cause crippling anxiety. So, how do we overcome this specific fear of starting a business?

Design A Business Plan  

To start, you need to design a business plan. Your business plan outlines every aspect of your business model. This includes what you’re offering, how you will offer it, your target audience, your costs, how you will grow your business with your marketing strategies, and how you will make revenue and sustain your cash flow. 

This financial plan can help you determine how much money you need and help investors know you are serious and committed to your idea. Commitment and a solid plan gives more peace of mind and interest from investors or financiers. 

Start Small

Start smaller if designing a business plan or asking for financial assistance overwhelms you. Stay with your current job and start a side hustle in your free time to figure out what you need, get your name out there, get through trials and errors, and slowly grow into your full-fledged business.

Fear Of The Unknown

Fear of the unknown typically involves constant second-guessing or waiting for proof that what you decide will be worth it before you pull the trigger. 

The truth is that the majority of us are afraid of the unknown. With business, you’re putting your career and finances on the line. But guess what? Nothing is guaranteed in life. 

So, all you can do is make the best decision with the information you have at the time, continue to be wise, and embrace the unknown. Something my old boss used to tell me is, “Most everything is fixable.” 

If you make a decision that doesn’t have the desired outcome, most times, you can make changes, learn, and know that it probably wasn’t a life-or-death decision.  

How To Overcome Fear Of The Unknown

How do we get over fearing the unknown? First, understand that most things in life are uncertain. The key here is simply embracing it, taking action, going slowly, adjusting as you go, and using your best judgment with the knowledge available to you.

Embrace The Mindset Of The Entrepreneurial Journey

Being an entrepreneur is all about decisions, trial and error, and exploration, especially in the beginning. Embrace changes and learn as you go. 

Take One Step At A Time

Looking at the big picture can be daunting. The best way to move forward from fear is to remember to take one small step at a time. Eventually, you will be up and running. (Figuratively in this illustration and literally as a business).

Plan And Prepare

There is no way to predict the future. And sometimes, even if you make specific plans, they don’t always unfold how you’d expect. But what you can do is prepare for those unexpected twists and unique possible scenarios with different contingency plans. 

Fear Of Lacking Stability

Tied to the unknown is the idea of a lack of stability. When starting a new venture, nothing is certain, and therefore, nothing is stable. 

You will not have a stable income. You will not have a stable schedule. And you will not have a stable idea of what the future holds.

There are many what-if scenarios involved in starting a business. And an unstable financial status may have you wondering:

  • “How will I pay my bills?”
  • “Will I have enough to live off of, or will I have to deplete my savings?”
  • “When will I ever be able to go on a vacation with my family again?”
  • “Will I afford to be able to eat more than just PB&J for the next 6 months?”

How To Overcome Fear Of Lacking Stability

So, how would you overcome the fear of lacking stability?

Embrace Change

To make it successful as an entrepreneur without losing it, you must embrace the idea of change and embrace change itself. Change is the only constant. Knowing how to be flexible and adjust when things aren’t predictable is the only way to ensure a stable mind. 

Remind Yourself “Normal Careers” Aren’t Guaranteed Stable Either

Though your traditional employment may have felt stable, there is never any guarantee that you will be able to keep that job forever. That business, though it may be well established, is also run by an entrepreneur who has to know how to handle market conditions properly and make wise decisions to stay afloat. 

This means that any business may go through economic turmoil, negative market impacts, and budget cuts, including layoffs and salary reductions.  

The difference with starting a business is that you are the one in control. Therefore, you have more say regarding your decisions that can impact you and your team. 

Fear Of The Loss Of Freedom

Most entrepreneurs want to run their own businesses to cease working for “the man” and find a schedule that meets their desired lifestyle beyond the typical 9-5. Being your own boss can give you that personal freedom. But starting a business can also wreak havoc on your free time.  

Remember, there are no days off when you are just starting a business. There is no clocking out or weekend to wash your worries away with your favorite whiskey. Though you may try… issues always arise with a new startup. What’s more, all the responsibility falls on your shoulders. 

For some new entrepreneurs, the potential time away from family or lack of personal time can cause fear that takes over and puts a halt to starting their endeavors as a business owner.  

How To Overcome Fear Of Loss Of Freedom

Our personal lives are important. But freedom isn’t free. So, how do you overcome the fear of losing freedom once you become a business owner?

Weigh The Pros And Cons 

First, weigh the pros and cons of starting a business. Is it worth it? Is having your own schedule and doing something you’re passionate about worth the loss of personal time, at least in the startup phase?

Know That The Startup Phase Is Only Temporary 

Speaking of losing personal time, you must also remind yourself that this phase should only be temporary. 

Once you have an established business, employees can take over tasks that you once had the responsibility to carry out. Once your business is running smoothly, there is a high chance that your schedule will be more flexible to do the things you love and spend time with those who matter most. 

Prepare Your Loved Ones

One of the hardest things to endure is disappointing loved ones. It can take a toll when your family and friends are constantly disappointed in your lack of involvement or availability in their lives. 

Remember, to succeed, you need support. But, for support to be genuine, you must prepare those around you for the time and toll starting a business will take. Even if only temporary. 

When your friends and family are prepared for what that looks like, there will be less pressure to stretch yourself too thin.

Fear Of Responsibility And Stress

With less free time comes more responsibility and stress. These are two things that no one wants more of. 

Your career, lifestyle, and financial freedom are riding on you as a business owner, not to mention the lives of your employees. This responsibility can be overwhelming when first starting out. 

If you mishandle it, you can surely become a stress case over significant problems like how will we make budget this month, or minor concerns… like what to order for lunch. A $100,000 budget discrepancy vs. a tuna sandwich is quite different. But, with stress, they both can seem like world-altering decisions.  

How To Overcome Fear Of Responsibility And Stress

So, how do we get over this specific fear of starting a business?


First, learn how to delegate. Though you will be responsible for the business outcome, not every task should be on your shoulders. 

Know that you will soon be able to hire a team of experts to help in every area of the business. Then, once you have those people, trust them to do their job. Micromanaging helps no one. 

Put A Plan In Place To Ensure Work/Life Balance 

While your time will be limited initially, don’t let it burn you out before you’ve even ignited. Remember to leave a few hours in the day to sit down for meals, get some fresh air, exercise, and blow off a little steam. 

Nature has been proven to boost endorphins and serotonin, relieving stress and the effects of stress (long and short-term). The more you do this, the more you will be able to refocus your mind and, ultimately, be more productive.


Remember to breathe. Pausing when you feel your blood pressure increase to take long, calming breaths can help you see things more clearly. 

Five seconds in, five seconds hold, five seconds out. Repeat until you feel calm enough to make the next move. A few seconds is all it takes to help settle you.

Fear Of Finding The Right Team

Employees are the backbone of every company. You may have the dream and the brain, but without the help of the right team, it may be hard to actually launch your business off the ground and get it out to potential customers. 

You must be willing to relinquish total control and learn to entrust your team with specific tasks and responsibilities. The fear that you won’t find the perfect match for the job or will have a hard time trusting someone else to do a job exactly how you want is understandable. 

How To Overcome Fear Of Not Having The Right Team

This fear might be minor compared to finances or knowing where to start. But your team is essential to the prosperity of your business. So, how can we ensure you have no fears about finding the right employees?

Learn What To Look For When Hiring

It’s typical to have workplace churn. But, employees who are the best fit will want to stay. Learn what type of candidates you need and only hire those who will fit best with your company culture and have the skills you are looking for. 

Research the best interview questions to get the most out of interviewee’s answers and really find out what they are looking for with a job at your company. 

Then, thoroughly scrutinize your potential candidates. It is okay to take the time to lock in a winner rather than rush through the process just to get a team formed. Learn from every interview and be willing to say no if they are unsuitable for the job or environment.  

Know That You Are In Control 

Employment is voluntary on both ends. It is a mutual agreement. And if you happen to make a mistake in the hiring process, know that it is okay to let someone go if they are not learning or not the best fit for your company. 

But, if it is just a matter of more precise instruction, providing more learning tools, or holding an employee accountable, then look into how you can best help your employees succeed. So you succeed. 

Fear Of The Economy 

Over time, we see economic swells and lulls. In the last few years, we’ve experienced both inflation and recession. With tumultuous international and national politics, international war, global health crisis, rumors of food shortages, supply chain constraints, natural disasters, and more, it’s no wonder entrepreneurs would have a fear of the global economic status. 

So you may be wondering, when is the best time to start a business?

As you can see from the below chart, the economy is never consistent. Depending on the global terrain, we will always experience expansions (inflation) and contractions (recession) every few years. 

If we look at history, the average expansion lasts 6.4 years, whereas the average contraction lasts 1.3 years.

How To Overcome Fear Of The Economy

In business, there will always be risks. When it comes to the economy, you never know what will happen in the upcoming years. However, we can look back at history and understand that the economy constantly changes. That is for sure. 

Research And Make A Plan

With economic instability, caution becomes the norm. But the reality is that there’s no perfect time to start. Overcoming the fear of an unstable economy requires research and analysis. 

Use your best judgment, make a plan, and make contingency plans. That’s all you can do.  

Fear Of Success

Fear of success could mean fearing that you will outshine others. Or, you fear you won’t know what to do with success’s consequences (good or bad).

Successful business fears may include questions such as:

  • Can you handle the attention?
  • Will you know who your true friends are?
  • Will your family want things from you because of your success?
  • Can you handle the hate or jealousy? 
  • Can you handle fluctuations in your success?
  • What if you can’t sustain it?
  • Do you care how people will respond?
  • Will you be able to maneuver your way out of a decline?
  • Can you handle the responsibility success brings with it?
  • Will you keep your attitude in check? How will you avoid growing a big (unhealthy) ego?
  • How will you handle an influx of clients?

These questions may be excuses you find yourself believing to avoid areas that are difficult when it comes to success. But, if you hold onto why you wanted to start a business in the first place and let your mission drive you, you should be just fine.  

How To Overcome Fear Of Success

The one thing that makes the fear of success unique is that you’re ultimately dimming your light and not playing big enough because you know you can do great things. You are confident in your abilities but not in how you will handle the result of that success. So what should you do?

Know That Everyone’s Opinion Is Their Own 

If you have a fear of success, you likely fear judgment. Once you are well known or put yourself out there publicly, you will have critics and fans — whether they are strangers, family, or friends. 

But, just because someone or many people have strong opinions or desires of and from you doesn’t mean you have to agree. To each their own. Just do you. 

Practice Trusting Yourself

If you fear not knowing how to act in the spotlight, all you need to remember is to remain true to your roots and reasonings for why you started this venture in the first place. Don’t lose yourself or get caught up in the success. Do daily or weekly check-ins to see where your mind, ego, and goals are.

Fears Of Starting A Business Doesn’t Need To Hold You Back 

Entrepreneur fears are completely natural. You are not alone. Still, these fears and “what ifs” shouldn’t hold you captive from achieving your dreams. 

It’s essential to identify your struggles and why you haven’t taken the first step to start your business. Identifying the problem can better help you overcome and manage it. 

Most importantly, stop overthinking every detail, and remember that starting your own company is supposed to be fun! You should start your business because you want to, not because you feel pressured. Take a long look and decide if self-employment is really a good fit for you.

Accepting Payment As A New Business

While I have you here, there is one last subject I wanted to touch base on. As a business, you need to accept money for all your transactions. So, how will you go about doing that? 

In today’s digital world, it is important to accept credit and debit card payments. It’s even more critical to offer various payment solutions so your customers have options. 

At ECS Payments, we offer innovative digital payment solutions to fit any size business’s needs and budget, including countertop, wireless, and virtual terminals and POS systems, ACH payment solutions, mobile payment, and contactless solutions. Our seamless integrations make it easy for your business to function effortlessly.

To learn more about accepting payment as a new business, contact ECS Payments today.