Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Biggest Obstacle: Overcoming Fear

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Biggest Obstacle: Overcoming Fear

Article excerpt

The hardest part of starting your own business isn't raising the money, finding a market, beating the competition, or becoming an all-in-one manager. The hardest part is overcoming fear.

You worry about the worthiness of your idea, the health of your industry, being a failure, running out of money, letting your family down.

You might even worry about the prospect of success and how it could change your life.

One thing is certain: in undertaking a new business you are making a decision to radically change your life and how you work.

No doubt about it, that's scary.

No one is paying you to arrive at work each day, providing health benefits, giving you a pension or offering the support of a network of colleagues.

Karin Abarbanel writes about these issues in her excellent primer, "How to Succeed on Your Own" (Henry Holt), focusing on the emotional ups and downs of becoming an entrepreneur.

The key, she writes, is to keep a focus on your goals and not let your fears overcome you.

"Going into business for yourself is not about being comfortable, and not about not being afraid," one entrepreneur tells the author. "It's about doing what you want to do and following your dreams."

People who do forge ahead usually have a good reason, whether it's a passion or a broad recognition that they want to change the way they work. Maybe they even lost their job.

Take Bruce Freeman, who started a public relations business four years ago after his job at a computer magazine was cut.

"I was 38 years old and decided I didn't want to get into another situation where three or four years down the road, new generals would come aboard and there would be another reorganization," he said.

"I had enough skills, a very generous severance payment, and a terrific relationship with my old company. Almost immediately I went out on my own."

He now runs Proline Communications, mainly serving software companies, from his home in Livingston, N.J.

Once Freeman made the decision to strike out on his own, his first year was "a tremendous sweat. …

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