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Dealing with fear starting and running a small business: 4 tips


I heard this Frank Herbert quote and it struck a chord. This phrase is particularly pertinent to me as a marketer and anybody else who runs their own business.

Fear can build quickly and easily, particularly when we’re trying to predict what will happen in the future and relying on getting it right.

There can be so much uncertainty with starting or building a business that it can become more comfortable to avoid making any decision or committing to targets. But we mustn't!

Fear can can cloud your thinking, block your creativity and stop you from taking the next step, therefore it’s a serious entrepreneurial and marketing foe.

However, we have to accept that fear is naturally going to creep in, especially in a fast-paced world.

Here are four ways I try to deal with fear:

I schedule my worrying

Rather than leave fear niggling at the back of my mind or try the good old method of burying my head in the sand and burdening my subconscious, I tell myself that I’m going to allow myself to worry about that particular thing at a specific time when I can best deal with it. Not when I’m trying to run reports or write some marketing copy, but when I can dedicate my mind and put everything else aside to really tackle what it is that's bothering me.

I don’t punish myself if all I have is bad ideas (to start with!)

When I’m trying to come up with ideas, particularly creative concepts or new copy, I do believe that the wrong ideas can help get to the right ones. If all you have are ideas which I know they aren’t right, it’s tempting to throw a hissy fit, but I remind myself that at least it’s a starting point to build on and it's better than a blank page

I stay away from those who feed the fear Those who panic, are negative or dream up endless scenarios of what could go wrong aren’t going to do you any favours – don’t get dragged down into their worry pit. Accept their ‘input’ graciously, provide a little ‘in the moment’ perspective (perspective, I have found, is a temporary symptom reliever for my own fear) and move forward Or if they are a boss or client…communicate. Positively.

I avoid temptation to throw all hours at it and instead book time in for ‘clear head space’

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your work is take time away from it. I strongly believe in booking frequent time to review and plan. Do nothing else but look at where you are and what you're trying to do, even if it is only 10 minutes. I still feel guilty about this part at times, as I feel I should be banging away on the keyboard or hitting the phones, but it refocuses me in the midst of madness.

Life, marketing and running a business isn't without its lessons, so when things don't quite go to plan (and I find it never feels as bad as you think it will), just make sure you know where you went wrong and get ready to jump back in!

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