Facing the fear of leaving the corporate world and becoming an entrepreneurLeaving the perceived safety of the corporate world to become an entrepreneur is the dream of many, and it’s a life-changing decision with massive repercussions. The fear of making the shift is real for many. If you dream of leaving your corporate life to embark on a journey of entrepreneurship or solopreneurship, you need to overcome the fear.

Entrepreneurs tend to be driven. We tend to love what we do, and therefore we’re more afraid of what would happen if we didn’t pursue our entrepreneurial dream than we are afraid of the risks involved. That’s how it was for me, anyway.Before setting up a business, I was very familiar with the start-up world, having worked for one for seven years early on in my career, and I’d lived through the highs and lows and had developed an appreciation of what it takes to succeed. Many entrepreneurs hit rock bottom before finding the drive to create a business. They find themselves in an impossible situation and feel, despite the blood, sweat and tears often shed on the entrepreneurial journey, it’s the only way to go. They find a ‘must’ that propels them into action.That’s how it was for me too. I found myself in a toxic work environment I had to get out of.

By this time I’d really had enough of working for someone I couldn’t respect, and I had an overwhelming feeling that I wanted to fully control who I worked with and have more freedom and flexibility, and the best way to do that was work for myself. That was the ‘must’ that drove me to overcome the fear and go it alone.And there was fear. It was a scary prospect. I was considering creating a company in the very competitive field of public relations at the start of the recession of 2008.

I had a big mortgage and high bills, and not knowing how long it would take me to earn enough to cover my living costs frightened me, despite having a safety net of some savings I could live from for a while, if necessary.I had quite a few ‘what ifs’. What if I don’t find clients? What if I’m no good? What if I run out of money and can’t pay the mortgage? What if I lose everything? But the ‘must’ was much bigger. I felt that I must go it alone to take control of whom I worked with and have freedom and flexibility in my life.

Here are nine pointers for overcoming the fear of becoming an entrepreneur:

1. Consider the best and worse case scenariosI considered the best and worst outcomes. The best was freedom, flexibility and financial growth. The worst was the loss of everything. I decided that if I could live with the worst-case scenario, I would be prepared to take the risk.

2. Find a ‘must’Get clear on why you want to do what you want to do. It was about controlling with whom I work, plus freedom, flexibility and financial growth. Your ‘must’ is what drives you to action and progress.

3. Plan, take action, make progressArmed with a loose plan – I suggest you have a much better plan than I did – I took action and did practical things that would help me feel a sense of progress each day, from attending a networking event to coming up with the branding I wanted. If I felt a sense of progress, it encouraged me to keep going and not give in to fear. The fear would nag at me, and doubt would set in. Some days it wasn’t there, and others it was.

4. Take time out to contemplate When I was going through the process of deciding whether to get another job or set up a company, I went out in nature for long walks with my dogs and I sat in quiet contemplation, pondering how I wanted my business to be.

5. Acquire new skills and knowledgeI also decided that to feel real progress, I wanted to broaden my knowledge and skills and achieve the highest accolades I could, so I set about finding the best programs and embarked upon a journey of continuous professional development. If you continue to learn things relevant to your entrepreneurial path, you’ll always feel like you’re making some progress, and feeling a sense of achievement is very motivating, so a positive spiral of action and outcomes is created.

6. Visualise your best outcomeI believe in the power of visualisation, as do many top coaches, sportspeople and more. On a very regular basis, usually whilst walking in nature with my dogs, I’d stroll along imagining running my own business and what it would look and feel like. I also sat in quiet meditation and used my imagination to rehearse for pitches and experience how my business felt. The feeling is crucial. Emotion is required to put the energy in motion.

7. Consciously practise gratitudeI also chose to consciously practise gratitude, so as a walking meditation, for example, I’d give thanks for everything I was grateful for and ask the Universe for more of the same or better. I found that consciously practising gratitude brought me more to be grateful for. And when practising gratitude, it’s impossible to feel any negative emotions.

8. Enlist support Having the right support as an entrepreneur is invaluable for success. Surrounding yourself with a network of mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs provides guidance, expertise, and a sounding board for ideas and challenges. Their encouragement and insights can help navigate obstacles, inspire innovation, and provide a sense of community in the entrepreneurial journey.

9. Face the fearFacing fear is a courageous act that can lead to personal growth and empowerment. It involves acknowledging and confronting the source of fear, whether it’s a specific situation or an internal struggle. By stepping outside our comfort zones and embracing fear head-on, we open ourselves up to new opportunities and possibilities, ultimately expanding our horizons and building resilience.Facing the fear of becoming an entrepreneur is essential to personal and professional growth. It may be daunting to step into the unknown and embrace the uncertainties of entrepreneurship, but the rewards can be immense. By acknowledging and confronting your fears, seeking support, and taking calculated risks, you open yourself to a world of possibilities and potential success. Remember that fear is a natural part of the journey, and with determination, resilience, and the right mindset, you can overcome it and embark on a fulfilling entrepreneurial path. Embrace the fear, take the leap, and watch as your dreams and aspirations unfold before your eyes.