Five Common Fears of Success

So here you are, you’ve started a business and you’re feeling excited and hopeful. You’re visualising your success and goal-mapping like crazy to help you reach your goals. But you’re also a natural over-thinker, and possibly quite introverted most of the time so ‘making it’ sounds just as scary as failing altogether. Sounds crazy right? Don’t worry; it isn’t!

Let’s look at the more common 5 fears of success and the mindset shifts you can work on to fix it.

The fear of losing your loyal audience

I’ve got all these new followers and subscribers now, there’s such a big expectation of me. What if I forget to post for a few days or send out a poorly worded email in error, I don’t want to lose my followers!

I often feel this circles around the fear of making a mistake. The drive to be perfect in your business 100% of the time can often feel like you’re simply not allowed to make a mistake at all.

When you start on an entrepreneurial journey, you often suddenly feel this great release of pressure. My business, my rules! No one to answer to but yourself. But as the business grows, you realise actually, you have to answer to your followers, your subscribers, your clients and customers. And suddenly you start to realise there’s a lot more pressure on you to do it right first time than ever before.

The mindset shift:

Start to celebrate your ‘mistakes’, and realise that a ‘mistake’ can always be dealt with and resolved. Don’t put off doing something for fear of doing it wrong. And don’t worry about losing track every now and again and letting things slip. Often, you’ll learn more from the mistakes you make, than the opportunities you didn’t try.

Every time you make a ‘mistake’ whilst growing your business, write it down, but re-label it as a learning opportunity, and schedule in time to avoid it in future. Then realise that you’ve just taken a small but effective step in being ‘ok’ with not being perfect. Which in turn, makes you even more relatable to your audience.

The fear of losing sales and income

I’m starting to get regular orders now, there’s such a pressure to always produce perfect products. What if I get a bad review and lose sales? What if my product description wasn’t comprehensive and customers start asking for refunds?

This relates more to possibly needing to control everything. The fact is when your business starts to grow itself you will not be able to control every outcome. You won’t please everybody. Whilst you strive to create products and services that serve, there may be the possibility that a brief doesn’t quite work the way you wanted it to, or that you delivered it slightly late.

It may mean no matter what you do to resolve it, the client still could possibly give you a bad review. When all you’ve done up to now has been great, that first ‘complaint’ can feel like a scratch on your perfect record.

The mindset shift:

Accept you do not have 100% control, and you won’t please everyone. It’s easier said than done, but by learning to realise that you don’t need to control everything, you can lessen some of that anxiety. Things may go wrong in your entrepreneurial journey. It’s all part of the story. And linking above, we can turn these situations into learning opportunities, and a chance to re-build broken relationships.

Prepare yourself with the fact that one day, you may get a negative comment or review. Realise it will not spell the end of your business, but an opportunity to show how well you handle it. See it as an opportunity to show off how good your customer service is!

The fear of not being able to keep it up

My business is already burning me out with 12 hour + days, how hard will I have to work when I start getting regular customers? Will I be able to keep it up?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably started your business with a very tight budget. This tends to mean you wear a lot of hats and it often means adapting to roles you’ve not done before. Marketer? Go on then. Writer? Er, ok yeah. Accountant? If I must.

You can’t really afford to hire anyone so you end up working long hours to get everything done. With little pay-off at the start, it often can leave you wondering; is that wonderful work-life balance that solopreneurs dream of so much even a REAL THING?

The mindset shift:

The funny thing I keep forgetting (because I’m still in the start-up stage myself!) is that as my business grows, I’ll be able to afford to invest more back into it. That means I can hire people, pay for better systems and use better tools to speed up and organise my day. I won’t need to do it all myself. 

So the best mindset shift for this fear is to understand that your business day-to-day will improve in line with the success of your business. You won’t have to do it all, all the time. Accept people are better at certain stuff than you are, and use it to your advantage. (And in the meantime, maybe take an extra coffee break or two…)

The fear that I won’t know enough to run it well

It feels like I’ve stumbled my way to where I am now, learning from blog posts and webinars. I don’t feel confident in my knowledge yet. Will I ever feel like I’ve got this or will I always feel like I’m one step away from screwing it up?

Starting a business, especially a creative business, often means you’re brilliant at one or two things, and they’re the core products or services you offer. But as mentioned above, there’s a lot more to a business than what you actually provide or offer. So with that comes the painstaking task of learning about EVERYTHING ELSE.

Content marketing, SEO, web design, branding, networking, invoicing, TAXES, and so on. You end up cramming skimmed pages of a website or book into your brain so you can master it, quickly. And because you’re frantically skimming and searching for information, you feel like you’re always missing out on something else that’s crucially important, which then takes up another hour of your life.

The mindset shift:

Realise there is no ‘finish line’ and you will never get to the point where you ‘know it all’. Your knowledge will change and adapt with the business as it grows, so there isn’t a ‘finish’ line to worry about; a thriving business will never reach it anyway.

Why? Because a thriving business is constantly learning, trying new things, listening to its audience and adapting.

Realising your business is constantly growing allows you the room to grow with it, and in doing so, you stop visualising the ‘finish line’ and stop rushing to cram all this knowledge in. Your business isn’t going anywhere but forwards as long as you continue to show up for it.

The fear of losing your core values

I spent so much time on my business goals and objectives. But there’s so many choices and options for where a business can go, and I often feel overwhelmed. What if as my business grows, I get ‘shiny object syndrome’ which takes me off track? What if I lose my integrity?

You decide to start a business and correctly spend some time planning out your goals, objectives, targets and overall plan of action. But then you start to notice all the other business routes you could go down.

‘Maybe I could start a podcast, everyone else is starting a podcast, why not me? I prefer that colour for my logo now, I want to change my entire brand style. I really want to create a course and start affiliate marketing but that wasn’t my business vision at all.’

The mindset shift:

Learn to be open to ‘managing’ change, and regularly check in with your initial business model. Essentially, be open to the awesome and exciting things that await you on your business journey, but implement systems to manage and maintain your ideas to avoid overwhelm.

I have a spreadsheet (surprise) where I can literally brain-dump future ideas I want to implement. Each quarter when I sit down to plan out my goals, I go through the list and match it against my business values, vision and mission statement. Does this impact my business in a positive or negative way? It allows me to really address whether I want to implement it, delete it, or keep it in mind for the future.

The bottom line

By taking simple steps to shift our mindset and put effective business practises in place, we can start to accept your business is yours but is not in your control and won’t ever go 100% your way. There’s a lot to learn and a lot of choices to make. Some will be great and some will be not-so-great for your overall business success. But we can deal with that – in fact, we can start to see it as kind of exciting.

And when we’ve finally ‘made it’ we’ll realise actually, we’re just on the start of another awesome journey.

Do you have a fear of success? If so, what does it mean to you? Do you find it stops you progressing?

Share your thoughts and tips below!


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6 thoughts on “Five Common Fears of Success

  1. Kathy says:

    These are all SOOOO TRUE!! Thank you for sharing this and for emphasizing the helpful mindset shifts. Very helpful!💕

  2. Louise says:

    Brilliant blog, Charlie! Most small business owners I’ve spoken to over the last few years have felt all those fears, and I love the way you’ve reframed them. Thank you for sharing this with us! x

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