Lately, I’ve been inspired by stories of women entrepreneurs and was excited to read about the City of New York’s launch of the WE NYC Initiative, announcing a goal to reach 5,000 women entrepreneurs and small business owners over the next three years, specifically focused on the needs of underserved women and families in NYC. The report acknowledges that women build business that support families, uplift communities and generate jobs, contributing significantly to the economy of New York City.
As business owners, we can embrace a new paradigm for juggling profession, passion, and purpose. But what holds so many people back from building their own businesses? I believe fear often gets in the way and we get stuck, and I believe this happens even more often for women – unnecessarily since we are natural jugglers!
The WE NYC preliminary study showed that there is still a significant “entrepreneurship gender gap,” both in terms of total number of businesses and their economic impact (employment and revenue). The report found that in 2014, men owned 1.5 times as many businesses as women, employed 3.5 times more people per business, and generated 4.5 times more sales per business.
Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. The first step in building the life and business we imagine is combatting the fear and uncertainty of getting started. We gotta let go of the ball!
Here are a few tips that can help. Anytime you feel paralyzed and afraid to throw the ball, loosen your grip a little and try these 4 steps to knock out FEAR:
Ask for help
Rock it. Rinse. Repeat.
I even made a nice little acronym to help you remember: F.E.A.R.! Let me explain…
1. Flip it. Terrified of doing something? Are you seeing all the things that could go wrong if you try this? FLIP IT. What does your life look like if you DO NOT take this risk? What’s the COST of not acting on this opportunity? What are you potentially giving up?
When I was deciding to leave my structural engineering job to build my own business, the unknown was a little scary. But, imagining the future, I knew that there was NO WAY I could sit in a cubicle and work for someone else for the rest of my career…I would DIE! That unappealing vision made it crystal clear that it was time to move on. Giving up a steady salary and health benefits temporarily PALED in comparison to feeling trapped in a box.
2. Envision success. Visualize the life and outcome you desire. See it. Feel it. Internalize those feelings of success and accomplishment. Vision and a positive outlook are powerful tools. Stay motivated by surrounding yourself with other positive, fearless individuals who are experiencing success living life in line with your vision.
I have a very clear picture of myself huggling with Hugh Jackman. It will happen. Anyone got a connection?! Anyone? Anyone?
3. Ask for help. We accomplish more when we work together! Build a support team of individuals you can trust with various strengths and expertise. If you are building a business and your strength and talent is not in the area of, say, finances or marketing, find someone who possesses those skills to partner with. Seek guidance and advice from colleagues, coaches, mentors. Mentors can help you establish a plan, build confidence, test ideas, and generate solutions to overcome challenges.
Juggling gets easier with more hands, and you will be able to keep more things “in the air.”
4. Rock it. Rinse. Repeat. Just do it! Let go of the ball! Get started one step at a time. Commit and bring your best. Then keep going. If something doesn’t work, pick it up and try again. Mistakes can lead to creative solutions you never considered. Figure out what didn’t work and what you can do differently the next time, as you persist towards success.
Things usually don’t happen right away. But if you are patient with yourself, trust your instincts, and commit to consistent practice, you will begin to see the cumulative positive effects as you build the future of your dreams.
Leave a comment below and let me know what scares you or what you do to combat fear and doubt!