According to the Women in Business research conducted for the Government Equalities office in 2008, 10% of the female population are thinking about starting their own business. And yet only a small proportion of them will ever make that leap.
So why is that…?
The biggest killer of dreams is FEAR. Or more specifically…..a fear of failure.
They spend so much time worrying about ending up with egg on their face if they try and fail that they keep putting off starting, or even end up talking themselves out of it altogether.
And the problem tends to be exacerbated by the fact that our nearest and dearest rarely understand why on earth you’d want to give up a secure income, especially a decent one, to follow your dreams, and will see it as their duty to make sure you have all the facts, usually weighted heavily towards the negatives.
The truth is though that the only way you will truly fail is if you don’t even try, if you compromise on your dreams and resign yourself to the fact that this is your life.
It’s true that starting a business isn’t for the fainthearted, but if you know you’re capable of more than you’re currently able to contribute, then it could be exactly what you need to do.
There is no glory in sitting at your desk dreaming about taking control of your life. You actually have to go out there and do it!
And if you want the rewards of being a business owner, you’re going to need to accept that fear will be a regular feature in your life.
Building a business will require you to grow, to challenge yourself and keep pushing yourself outside your comfort zone time and time again, and when you do this fear will inevitably creep in.
But if you’re connected to what you are trying to achieve and determined to succeed no matter what, then you’ll find it much easier to keep pushing forwards.
The reality is that nobody becomes successful without falling flat on their face over and over again.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t get to where they are because they have the golden touch. They do so because they keep putting products or services out there and seeing what works, tweaking those that don’t go to plan first time, and ditching ideas that really aren’t cutting the mustard.
Author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series, JK Rowling is a big advocate of the benefits of failure and in 2008 gave a talk on it to students graduating from Harvard.
She told them “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.”
When she sat down to write the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling was a divorced single parent living on benefits. When she sent her manuscript out it was rejected by 12 publishers before finally being snapped up by Bloomsbury.
She is now the ninth bestselling author of all timing having sold an estimated 500 million books. The film rights for the book series were sold to Warner Bros turning Harry Potter into a global brand worth an estimated US$15 billion.
There are so many times at the start she could have decided it was all too hard, that she should just give up and go out to find a job to support her young family. Or that she couldn’t face any more rejection, despite the time, effort and sacrifices she’d already made. But instead, she kept going.
Now, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, Rowling’s estimated worth is £650 million, a far cry from where she started.
My idol, Richard Branson, is another good example of how a determination to succeed can keep you going even against the odds. He struggled at school as a result of his dyslexia, dropping out at the age of 16.
He went on to start numerous businesses despite not necessarily having the previous skills, experience or knowledge for the industry he wanted to break into. Rather than seeing this as a disadvantage, instead he saw it as an opportunity to shake things up and create something that truly put the customer at the heart of the business.
But not everything he’s started has gone on to become a roaring success. Numerous Virgin lines have flopped, including Virgin Brides and Virgin Cars.
But rather than feel discouraged when things go wrong, Richard takes a philosophical view on failure saying “Over the years, my team and I have not let mistakes, failures or mishaps get us down. Instead, even when a venture has failed, we try to look for opportunities, to see whether we can capitalise on another gap in the market.”
So if you’re currently dreaming of starting your own business but keeping putting it off, or are so overcome by fear that you are struggling to get the business you have started off the ground, remember this…
There are plenty of people out there living their dreams who didn’t have bucket loads of money to start with and who aren’t necessarily any brighter or more talented than you are. And if they can succeed, so can you…!
It’s time to stop dreaming and start making a plan…
If you're currently feeling undervalued, frustrated and unfulfilled in your corporate career, then book your free discovery call here and we can discuss how you can break free from the constraints you’ve been facing by creating a business that leverages your talents and allows you to make the impact you know you’re capable of.