By Jonathan London on 2nd October 2015

Tips for overcoming start-up fear

Starting your own business is understandably daunting. Even if it’s a solo version of the job you’ve been doing for years, or in an industry you know like the back of your hand, it’s still a scary prospect taking those first few steps towards a life of self-employed freedom.

Here are some tips to help you overcome start-up fear and get your business up and running.

Ask the right people for advice

Unlike the old saying about press, there is such a thing as bad advice. Head to the right people or company for support, whether a consultant or an accountant; they can help point you in the right direction and give you reassurance that you’re on the right tracks.

Before asking for advice, check out their credentials online. Have they worked with similar businesses? What are their testimonials like? Do they have an insightful blog? These factors can give you a good indication of whether they’re worth investing your time and money in.

Book some training

Going on a training course will fill in any knowledge gaps you have, and also give you a confidence boost for the parts that you are proficient in. Training courses can be really specific to cover any particular areas, or if you have an overall fear of starting up, opt for a general course on running your own business. They should allay any fears you have, plus you’ll be able to ask any questions to the tutor. Another bonus is that you get to meet other people in the same start-up boat as you- they’ll probably have the same concerns.


Meeting up with fellow entrepreneurs can help you work through any issues. If you don’t feel comfortable talking face-to-face about your fears, why not look online? There are loads of blogs and Twitter chats for small businesses where you can talk to other start-ups. With the arrival of social media, people are surprisingly open about the challenges they’re facing or concerns they have about setting out. Handily, this can also provide you with insider insight on how they’ve overcome their past hurdles. Try these guide to networking for more tips.

Get inspired

LinkedIn is great for following “influencers”, i.e. successful business leaders. Some publish articles monthly or even weekly, so check out their stories. Most doubted themselves at one point or faced hard times during set-up, and reading through them can be the motivational kick you need. It’s also a great place for you to win new business.

Inspire yourself

Not found inspiration elsewhere? Turn to yourself. There’s a reason that you thought that venturing out on your own was a good idea, you just need to remind yourself of it. Create a notebook/word document of all the positive reasons you know this business will be a success. Whether it’s a list of past achievements or reminders about how determined you are, it’ll help spur you on through the days when fear can be crippling.


If there’s a particular business area which is causing you to lose sleep at night, look into whether you can outsource it. Nowadays, you can outsource pretty much anything – from the traditional offerings for marketing and finances, to virtual office assistants.

Take a break

Not a permanent one, but a short one. A walk outside, a trip to get a takeaway coffee or even a catch up with friends can help clear the mind and get you to refocus. You’ll (hopefully) forget your fears for a few hours, and you can let your subconscious mull over some solutions whilst you’re out. You’ll return to your desk refreshed and ready to face your fears (unless your fear is that huge spider in the corner, in which case taking a permanent break might have to be an option).

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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