By Fatmanur Erdogan, Hürriyet Daily News
Over the past four weeks in the “Neophyte Entrepreneur” series, we’ve been discussing the fears that hold people back from their entrepreneurial dreams. We looked in particular at three fears often felt by corporate professionals who feel the entrepreneurial urge, but find that the career they worked so hard to build can actually make them more hesitant to take the leap.
First among those was the fear of losing your identity. This fear is rooted in knowing that your job title and company affiliation bring great power and influence, and worrying that those will disappear when you head out on your own.
Another common fear is the fear of failure. As a successful professional you have built a solid reputation and you enjoy a great deal of respect, and you fear that if you fail as an entrepreneur, you will ruin that.
Yet another fear is that of letting go of your past. You are proud of your record of achievements in your industry, but an entrepreneurial life will mean branching out into new fields where that record will mean less.
As we saw, the surest way to get past these fears is to start with small actions that move you forward bit by bit. The entrepreneurial transition is a big project, so break it down into little pieces, and take baby steps. It’s actually the same technique you already use to manage big projects at your corporate job – divide them up into smaller action items.
But even if you get past every fear you’ve ever felt, and even if you break your projects into a million of the tiniest pieces anyone ever saw, there’s still one thing you’re going to need.
What is that? It’s a faith in yourself that never ends. No matter how well your venture goes, at times it will seriously try your belief in yourself. How you respond to those trials will determine whether you succeed or fail as an entrepreneur.
Rest assured that even the richest and most successful entrepreneurs go through these times of great difficulty. Take Steve Jobs, for example. By the age of 30, he had released the Macintosh and was managing a business with 4000 employees and $2 billion in annual sales. But he got fired from his own company, in a very public way. The humiliation was incredible – imagine, being kicked out of your own company! But even after hitting one of the lowest points in his life, he had enough faith in himself to keep going. In fact, he came back to make another fortune by revolutionizing film animation with Pixar, and he took the helm again at Apple where he is credited with bringing the company back to life.
Jobs knows well that you need faith to get through the difficult times. He once said, “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” Take his word for it, because he has already experienced the same kind of loss you fear, and he knows that with faith you get through it and you come back stronger.
It’s tempting to say this kind of faith is one of those things you either have or you don’t. The reality, though, is that we all have it.
Think of your own experiences in life. Surely you have lived through hard days, made mistakes at some point, and even failed at something. And yet here you are today, a successful and respected member of the business community. From your vantage point now, your comeback from those difficult days might seem like it was a foregone conclusion. But at the time, you probably didn’t see it that way. You didn’t know what the future would hold for you. It was your faith in yourself that kept you going. That same faith is going to get you through the inevitable lows you will encounter in your entrepreneurial future.
So it’s not a question of whether you have that faith or not, it’s a question of, when the time comes, will you be willing to dig deep enough to find it again. If you think the answer to that question will be yes, then you have everything you need to become an entrepreneur. So get moving with those small steps now, and good luck!