How Entrepreneurs Overcome Fears

I’ve read two surveys recently on concerns American employees have on pursuing entrepreneurship. Both surveys reached similar conclusions. Below is a neat info-graphic that Edward Jones complied titled “Supporting America’s Entrepreneurs.”


I’m fairly certain that Edward Jones didn’t conduct the survey for the hell of it.  It has the financial resources to act on some of the conclusions and I assume that it has.  The fact that 37% of Americans would feel more confident in starting a business if they had the support of a big company is something that Edward Jones and other large company’s could address.  Also, I can see how Edward Jones could leverage the fact 70% of Americans are seeking more entrepreneurial environments at work. This fits in nicely with their  financial advisor model.

On a broader scale, only 12% would opt to go alone without big brother’s support and only 15% believe that they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.  That seems about right.  If not on the high side.  Americans’ fears of entrepreneurship were well captured in this survey:

  • 61% fear losing savings
  • 58% fear lack of support and safety net
  • 50% fear losing healthcare and retirement benefits
  • 49% fear lack of work/life balance
  • 34% fear doing it alone and feeling isolated

Desire and fear are two emotions that we must deal with each and every day.  Most times fear trumps desire.  The fact that 70% desire entrepreneurial experiences at work supports that point.  In other words employees want the freedom and autonomy, but will settle for benefits and a predictable paycheck.

The first step towards becoming an entrepreneur is dealing with the fear and desire issue.  IMO, it’s kinda like addressing a personal finance issue.  There are two ways to approach a money problem –  either cut expenses or increase income. Cutting expenses especially after the easy stuff is addressed is no fun.  So, personally I would rather work on income side.  In the case of fear and desire, my preference is to approach it from the desire side.

Now I am making the assumption that becoming an entrepreneur is not a childish wish, but is a fully grown desire.  If that is the case, weird stuff starts to happen.  When you receive a bonus check or a raise – you bank the money instead of spending it.  The reserve fund to address the insecurities  of entrepreneurship becomes a priority.  Excuses disappear as the midnight oil burns.

If you think I’m smoking the good stuff – this is a well documented fact. Napoleon Hill in the classic “Think and Grow Rich” talks about this phenomena.  He calls it a burning desire – an inner drive that is so overwhelming that it will not be denied.  I have written about it many times (Forest Whitaker Reminded Me of a Key to Success – a Burning Desire).

The bottom line is that each of those fears, discussed in the survey, will be front and center in every entrepreneur’s first startup.  It comes with the territory.  It is part of the game.  Maybe after a few successful ventures those fears will be eased, but if someone wants entrepreneurship without risk it ain’t gonna happen!  That’s why you keep hearing people say make your business and your passion one in the same. Desire will overcome fear.

Social Media guru, entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk nails it in this video.  It’s about 15 minutes long.  I tried to find a shorter one, but this one really drives home my point.  It’s worth watching.



Let’s discuss. Can desire override fear?

Will Smith – I’m Not Afraid to Die on a Treadmill

Who would have thought when we were first introduced to the Fresh Prince of Bellaire that the man behind the character was so deep? He makes so many points in this video that resonates with me its crazy.  I love this one,

Separation between talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people that who are trying to excel that have dreams that want to do things. Talent is what you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours of beating on your craft.  I never considered myself talented. Where I excel is ridiculous sickening work ethic. While the other guy is sleeping I’m working. While the other guy is eating. I’m working.

Michael Jordan said it another way – “Maybe I made it look too easy.” In this day and age it is hard to fathom the amount of work necessary to be really successful in our endeavors. It seems like overnight successes are everywhere.

That said, I’m all in the hard work camp.  My passions have never truly lined up with my 9 to 5s.  I was good in math and science, so I became an engineer.  I was never passionate about being an engineer. I was passionate about video production.  I was passionate about the stock market.  I had to work nights and weekends to develop those skills, because my days were preoccupied with my JOB.  So, out working the other guy is not an issue for me. However, Smith’s next point trips me up more often than I would like to admit.

Nothing is unrealistic. Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic? What’s the point of being realistic? It’s just a barrier. I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it. It’s already done. I’m just waiting for y’all to see it.

Where is the point of diminishing returns? After one year, I closed down my video production company and went back to engineering. Was I being too realistic about the business’ likelihood of success? Was the next big opportunity around the corner?

Smith makes many more great points in this video, but the final one I want to highlight is that successful people are incredibly competitive. Michael Jordan says that he is the most competitive person that he knows.  Will Smith says that he is the most competitive person that he knows.  I assume that they have met before.  Smith says the following,

I’m not afraid to die on a tread mill. If we get on a tread mill together. One of two things is going to happen. You are getting off first or I’m going to die.

I’m not sure who would win a Michael Jordan / Will Smith tread mill battle, but it would be hilarious to watch. The bottom line is that the Fresh Prince grew up to be a serious dude and has given us much to contemplate.

My favorite take aways for success are:

  • Must have extreme work ethic
  • Be optimists
  • Must have intense desire to win

What’s your favorite take aways from the video? Leave a comment below.

Les Brown – Your Life is Powered by You

Your life is powered by you. I love that phrase. Les Brown lays it out for us.

Your life is powered by you. You got a dream, an idea,  you gotta take responsibility to make it happen. Your dream, your life, going to the next level will be powered by you. Don’t put your destiny in anyone else’s hands. No one is going to care more about your dream than you. Nobody is going to work on your stuff more than you.

That’s so true. However, the other point in this video may be even more important. You have to share your dream with others.  I often fall into the trap of not discussing my goals with others.  It’s so easy to say that everyone has their own issues and that no one wants to hear about my hair brained ideas.  However, that’s really a defense mechanism that is slowing down progress.

Les says, “if you have been running into a wall – it doesn’t  mean that you can’t get through. It means that you to find someone who is on the other side or find someone who knows someone on the other side.”

This is a great video on passion, persistence, and perseverance.  Les adds a couple more Ps – people and projects. Those are the sharing Ps and of course, it’s powered by you.

What are you thoughts on the video? Share them in the comments below.

Tony Robbins – Tiny Changes Mean Huge Results

For as long as I have been playing golf, I should be much better than I am. A few years ago, it looked like my game was improving and then it disappeared again. Each year I usually end up recycling the same old excuses. “I need to play more often, but I don’t have the time.” “I need to get to the driving range.” The golf industry is built on this one – “Better equipment that’s what I need.”

That all being said, golf is really not that high on my priority list. It’s a nice escape.  It cracks me up when I see celebrities or professional athletes whining about their golf games. Tony Robbins tells a story that is mind altering if taken to heart.

Robbins starts by sharing his struggles in a golf lesson. His balls are going left and right – everywhere except for straight. The instructor says that if you slightly adjust the strike angle, just 1 millimeter, the ball will go straight. That tiny change will make all of the difference.

Tony says that’s a fantastic life lesson for us.  When all hell is breaking loose in our lives, we are only 1 millimeter  away from getting back on track.  Unfortunately, most people think it’s impossible and just give up.  I have been there many times and it currently feels like I’m in one of those storms, but I trust and believe that I’m only 1 millimeter away…

If you are in one of those moments – here is a pick you upper.  From the looks of it, Charles Barkley may be several meters away. LOL…

Jim Rohn – Personal Development

Jim Rohn starts out with a punch in the gut. He says, “It was hard to give up the blame list. It was so comfortable blaming the government, negative relatives, the company policy, unions, wage scales, economy, interest rates, crisis and circumstances.” His mentor explained to him (paraphrased) “that it is not what happens that determines the major part of your future. What happens – happens to us all. The key is what you do about it.  We can’t change our circumstances. Start doing different things with the same circumstances. We can’t change our circumstances, but we can change ourselves.”

In my world of stock investing, the blame game is part of the territory.  In this 24/7 media age, it is quite easy to watch the news and see the markets reaction in real-time. The Fed releases its minutes – instantaneous response.  Jobs report announced – instant move.  The President speaks immediate action.  Matter of fact, the movement begins before the news as traders begin anticipating the response. With the media bull-horn on full throttle, how can an investor not get caught up in the blame game?  Jim Rohn’s mentors advice applies to trading as well.  Investors can’t control the circumstances only their reaction to the news. Successful trading strategies have been built around news alone.

Rohn then shifts his discussion to money.  His explanation on increasing your income by increasing your value to the market place is classic.  Instead of working harder on your job – work harder on yourself.  By working harder on your job, you may receive a raise. However, by working harder on yourself it’s possible to make a fortune.  The key to wealth is becoming more valuable to the marketplace.

I would love to hear some of the ways that you are increasing your value to the marketplace.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.