Why Give a Damn:

Because starting up is scary. It can be paralyzing to think of all the things that can go wrong. Read this post to join a community of entrepreneurs sharing their fears and starting up anyway.


The authors of this post, Andrew Missingham and Ben Gallagher, are problem solvers who specialize in strategic planning, prototyping and facilitation. In this post they are documenting the launch of their company benandandrew.com

Last week we became a start-up when Ben&Andrew Ltd was born. It’s a new agency designed to solve business problems for cultural, for-profit and social businesses, by sharing the best that all these worlds have to offer.

We’ll be honest, it’s also absolutely terrifying.

We’re excited and thankfully everybody else seems excited for us. We see it as a chance to re-invent business problem solving, to challenge the status quo and take control of our destiny. After what seems like ages planning, we’re finally putting ourselves out there into the world, trying to forge new ground and create a business we are really proud of. But we’ll be honest, it’s also absolutely terrifying.

Why? There are a million reasons why we are scared. So many, in fact, that it’s potentially paralyzing to even thinking about them. So we’ve been asking ourselves what we do about it? Since the second world war, the UK has had an adage: ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’. Okay, in a rather buttoned down British way – but not really for us. So we thought that rather than ignore our fears and hope they will go away we are going to love them with all our heart. We believe that understanding your fears gives you clarity in what is otherwise a very complex often confusing time. This is exactly why big corporations set up start ups from within – firstly to break new ground free from the cycle of corporate process, but secondly, because the fear factor forces them to innovate, to do things differently and to realize what they are really all about.

The fear factor forces big corporations to innovate.  Tweet This Quote

So, to kick off the next eight weeks of posts from Ben&Andrew here are our start-up fears. Over the weeks we’ll dig into a few in more detail but in the meantime, have a think about your fears and what they tell you about who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Alongside your comments here, we’d love to hear from you and learn about your experience, so if you want to help out or dig deeper, we’ve got a survey over at Ben&Andrew that we’ll use to inform this series.

Ben&Andrew’s Top 10 fears:

  1. Is my business partner a flake?
    Yep. This is top of the list. When the rubber hits the road, will that super-smart buddy you’re betting your life on be all they seem over the long haul? Will they contribute what they say they will and what are you going to do about it if they don’t? (tip: we gave one another three of our business contacts to call – two we were sure would say positive things; one we were sure would say we were an idiot/ass/shyster. That way we had a better idea of each other at our best and worst)
  2. Is our product right?
    Is it just us that loves it or even thinks there is a need for it? If the idea’s so good, why is no-one else doing it in the way we’re planning? How can we build processes to adapt if the market throws us a curveball?
  3. Have we got the timing right?
    Are we too early to market, or perhaps too late? “First mover advantage” works occasionally, but some lucky souls also win the lottery.
  4. Do we have the right skills to do what we’re doing?
    What makes us so smart? What makes us qualified to deliver what we’re planning? What are the gaps and how can we fill them?
  5. What if we take the wrong advice or ignore great advice?
    One piece of advice we remember is the one that starts “Opinions are like…” and ends “everybody’s got one” (I’m sure you’ve heard that one too – if not, Google it. Just don’t search images), but how do we judge between these opinions when so much of what we’re doing is new?
  6. Is the competition way better than us?
    They’ve been at it a while. They’ve got skills, experience, personnel, networks. How do we compete with that?
  7. What if we get a bad customer reaction?
    Let’s face it, not everyone’s going to like what we’ve sweated bullets to create. How do we deal with these shots? They gotta hurt right? Does it mean we’re doing the wrong thing? Should we stop? Change? Tell ’em to go screw themselves and carry on regardless??
  8. Are we going to earn enough money or raise the funds we need?
    Cash flow and undercapitalisation keep us up at night. How can we make sure that we’ve got as much money as we need (and no more – so we don’t spend like fools or have too many investors), so that revenue flows through to us at the right rate so we can get the shut-eye we need?
  9. How do we deal with growing pains?
    How do we preserve the energy that we have now even when we get bigger – and not turn into a big, lumbering corporation like all the others?
  10. Does anybody understand what we are talking about?
    Are we talking Klingon or Golgafrincham? We think what we’re doing, the rationale and language all make perfect sense. So how do we make sure others do too?

Unreasonable Challenge

Are you willing to share your deepest, darkest startup fears with us? We can get through this together!

About the author

BenandAndrew

BenandAndrew

As founders of Ben&Andrew, Andrew Missingham & Ben Gallagher create solutions for cultural, for-profit and social businesses. They have a wide range of experience working with creative agencies, brands and cultural institutions including Wieden & Kennedy, Arts Council England, the British Council, BBC and Sony Music, BMW, and Nike Foundation.

  • Andrew Missingham

    Well, – here’s a thing that’s both scary and galvanizing: being on Unreasonable in front of you good people for the first time!

    We hope that you what we’re talking about resonates with you – too often fear is seen as weakness and is taboo, so we’re really interested to hear your comments on this. We’re also really psyched to hear from you about your own start-up businesses via our survey, then getting to know you over the coming weeks. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Anthony Urbanski

    I agree, facing your fears is terrifying but also very beneficial. Although I am not a business guy I was able to relate to this article rather easily. I enjoyed your top 10 fears, especially #6 (is the competition better) obviously at the start they may be better but in the long run you must believe that you will over take them! Good article

  • IndartoEpriladinata

    Talking about the startup fears; I worry about the kind of
    product/service I should provide that can attract many customers. Yet, I hope I
    can pursue my dreams.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Liemd

    I also think that startup’s main goal is to keep improving its products and services to satisfy consumers rather than worrying about competition too much. If the team lacks of certain skill, do not be panic and just learn to achieve that needed skill.

  • Andrew Missingham

    Hi Anthony, Thanks so much for the comment. Yes – belief plays a part, but I think that something I’ve found is that “better” can be the wrong starting point. “Distinctive from” is a better one – once you’ve established this, you can lessen the direct competition and work to create leadership of your own niche.

  • Andrew Missingham

    Hi there. Thanks for your comment. There’s definitely a point of view that too much focus on competition is distinctive. I think that basic tools like Michael Porter’s 5 forces of competition or PEST analyses provide useful external/competitor perspectives, but, yes, as long as it’s not at the expense of your own distinctive development. One more thing – innovation is about way more than product. There’s so many other ways of innovation (according to Doblin, there are 10 distinct types. Product Performance being only one of them).

  • Logan Dohmeier

    I agree with how fear is definitely a big factor when trying to conquer something new, especially starting up a business. Fortunately, fear is on your side. It is an emotional response designed to keep you on top of your game and if you are not feeling a little stress when you are trying to accomplish a new task, something is wrong. Understand that fear just means you care about the subject matter and you must trust in yourself to keep whatever goals you have moving forward. I think that the top 10 list of fears covers common ones that all sorts of people should be able to relate to one way or another. Great advice.

  • jbrycewilson

    Great article. This is something I’ve been trying to work on for several years, and frankly working around fear (and failure) has thrown colleagues of mine off guard. It reminds me of a case study we were looking at in undergrad about Alan Mulally and his transfer from Boeing to Ford. It referenced a meeting he was in where individuals had prepared briefs of their segment’s business standing and assigned a rating on a scale from red to green. The large majority of individuals gave themselves ratings closer to the green/if not green ratings. Seems odd from a company at the time in the midst of a falling domestic auto market to be doing so well. Alan challenged them to recognize shortfalls, identify areas of uncertainty, and come back and honestly assess their operations. On return there was a much wider distribution of ratings, and something I thought was really cool.

    I’ve worked hard at trying to recognize shortcomings, failures, insecurities, and weak points, and I think it truly is something most people shy away from. However, when you can work along side fear, as opposed to having it hover above you, the positive impact it has on productivity and efficiency is tremendous.

  • Andrew Missingham

    Great, insightful comment – and a great example. Thanks so much!

  • Out of all of Ben and Andrews top 10 fears I place the most importance on number two. There are so many products running around now that many have been created and failed because there is no real need for it. But there are fads, and if you can make your product a fad for a little while it’ll sell bucket loads fast. I believe there’s a high chance that if you need/want it for yourself there are at least a couple hundred others that need/want the same thing.

  • mhansen11

    Thank you so much for you article here! It’s hard to picture your fears and seeing ways you want to move around them. Something that I read once said your not afraid of heights, but of falling; you’re not afraid to try again, you are afraid of getting hurt for the same reason….there’s a few more but in general you’re fear is just something of an inner thing that you have to overcome to realize you can do this task one more time or you can face whatever comes your way. Once you’ve questioned yourself or talked about your opponent being better than you, then you’ve already lost. One thing I would question out of your article is, helping us answer the questions you give gave us under each section.. sure we can come up with the questions but sometimes in life you need a little help or push.
    Thank you again!!

  • TallPaul14

    This was a great way to discuss the fears of starting up a business. I liked the list format and how you address each point through a Q&A style. Turning some of these fears into positive questions is a good tactic as well, it’s easy to get clouded with negative thoughts, but you really need to be strong in order to take the positives from these negatives, and keep heading down the start up path.

  • Shih Chi Tseng

    It is good to know what you are worry and fear about. Moreover, it is necessary for people to face problems and fears. They will not just simply go away. I like how you do it and share your experience with us.

  • Cassie135

    I think that every new business defintiely goes through similiar fears. Writing them down and understanding them is a great way to conquer them. It helps you plan out what might happen and what you are going to do about it!

  • tayler_schroeder

    I can relate to fear number 6 and 7. But I think it’s important to remember that if you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? And if you can’t solve your problem, then what is the use of worrying? I like the quote: “Worry is the interest paid in advance on a debt you may never owe.”

  • Andrew Missingham

    Our pleasure! We’re going to explore some of the ways we’ve answered these questions (for our own company, and for others who have been past, individual clients of ours) over the coming weeks. If you haven’t done so yet, take a trip to our site and fill in the survey, so we can find out a little more about you and your business.

  • nornesa

    I hope to live a long time with all my faculties right
    there with me until the end. I want the
    luxury of looking back on a life and marveling in the things that I
    accomplished—especially the ones I was most fearful about because that is where
    the satisfaction and the appreciation for life are born. I don’t want to take the easy and comfortable
    road—where’s the fun and excitement in that?
    Give me a challenge and I’ll face it head on (usually) because I get
    more out of life if I do. For me, success
    is measured not by the dollar amount in your bank account, but by whether you
    made the attempt and did your best. If
    you failed, did you get right back up to continue the fight? Failure is where
    the lesson lives anyway, and we need those in order to learn, improve,
    innovate, change, evolve, grow, advance, achieve and succeed. Bravo to Ben and
    Andrew for having the courage and taking the leap into the unknown. I look forward to reading more of their
    posts.

  • Andrew Missingham

    Beautifully put, and bravo to you for joining us and the Unreasonable crew on our journey!

  • Michelle Spruch

    I think that anytime someone starts a new venture they face similar fears, and I applaud you for both acknowledging and facing them.

  • hanj5

    Good article guys. I like how you guys narrowed your top ten fears. Now you guys can think about how you guys can address those fears before and if they come up.

  • anp042

    Interesting take on this topic. I often see articles with lists of points answering questions or “10 habits of wealthy people” type stuff, but I like that this is a new way to look at it. Brainstorming the right questions is crucial to getting the right answers.

  • milburnkatie

    You do not find many people sharing their fears about a new start-up, usually these are ignored. I think that recognizing your fears and being able to write them down and talk about them will actually help you face them. Also, by sharing your fears with us you have now opened the door to everyone who reads to help!

  • hem1

    I would be terrified if i was part of a new start up in progress. There are definitely many things to fear, but addressing them only makes it easier for you to hopefully prevent these fears from happening!

  • Britnee_Kay

    Starting something new is always scary and hard, no matter if it has something to do with work or your personal life. I think where the difference comes when taking the first step in starting something new is the passion you have behind your decision. If you don’t have enough passion behind what you are doing, you have a high chance of failing because you aren’t willing to push through the tough times, and that’s the place where the people that want it bad enough make it, and the people that don’t really care kind of give up and find another outlet. A great example of this kind of choice in a lot of people’s life is the choice to go to college. It’s not the same as starting up a new business, but it is starting something new in one’s life that has a large impact and takes a lot of effort. The people that have enough passion to push through the late nights and hair pulling stress get the degree and the people that don’t really care about what they are learning drop out most of the time. What it really comes down to in the end is the passion you have for what you are starting.

  • susantok

    I am a young music producer who want to start a business in a different industry. I have a trust-worthy business partner and I personally feel that I have a great product. However, my only fear is wether my products will be accepted in the market or can I beat my competitors. Those fears have made me think over and over again to open my business.

  • Stephen Chandra Owen

    This is a very awesome and inspiring post!!! I never thought of opening my business currently, but I definitely need to consider those questions in the post. I also think fear is a natural thing when you want to start your own business, but it is more important to control it!

  • Alexanderia Horton

    That passion can be a drive for money or a drive to create a better world. That passion needs to be seated in the “right” place to keep growing.

  • awatwa

    I am currently drafting my business plan and I also experiencing not only these fears, but also excitement, confusion…all mixed up. Whenever people have doubt about my idea, I fear; whenever I discover problems in my plan, I fear; whenever I see competitors are doing so well, I fear. But fearing doesn’t mean I’m quitting, fearing doesn’t mean I don’t believing, fearing doesn’t mean I won’t pursuing. It means I am thrill for the challenges ahead, and I will work hard to conquer these fears.

  • nguyenb7

    Here’s a favorite quote I got from a movie I watched awhile ago (not exactly word to word):”It’s not a business that I am running, it’s my baby”. I automatically thought of that reading your article. It’s true that running a startups (or businesses in general) is pretty scary. And thank for sharing that insight with all of us. But I think if you’re doing what you like, love or even just good at, you’ll always find the harmony of it and stop the worry once you can converge it in your life as Daniel Epstein – our dear founder of Unreasonable.is – has put nicely put it. Thanks for the article

  • Hairong Zheng

    Starting a business takes many steps to go. It is totally understandable that start-up owners will have some fear for their business. If people can come across it,such as change business model into a more efficient one, they will definitely be more confidence about their business. I really like your questions to yourselves about your current fear. I believe that these questions should be asked by many other business starters. Think about them will definitely helpful even to people who are not going to start a business, but doing some business related jobs like me. Thank you for this great posting!

  • greatelk

    These were great points and things to remember to consider when starting something new. Best of luck to Ben&Andrew!

  • lamt5

    These are all important things to consider when setting out on a new business adventure. The article is much more interesting being that it is written by people actually trying to start a business. Good Luck Ben&Andrew!

  • Brian Tanudjaja

    Great article! All of the things stated in the article are indeed needed to be consider before starting a new business. Embracing those fears and overcoming them will be the hardest part. Good luck in your new business!

  • nguye107

    When it comes to doing business, especially startups, fears in the potential risks that the business might encounter is apparently unavoidable no matter how good the business plan is. However, the good side of fear is that it helps us realize the disadvantages of the business and know where we should improve. Thanks for the article and great questions!

  • Kent Foust

    By talking with my uncle, who has his own startup, I have realized how difficult starting a company can be. Owners have to worry about if their partner is right or if their timing is right before even determining if opening the company were feasible. It is easy to misunderstand if you have never been a business owner.

  • ignatius epriladinata

    I really like your article it tells me about some essential things that we have to know in order to start a business. Well, I would say fear is a natural sense, without fear you can’t be a success person. Think about this, why you want to be rich, succeed, or whatever? I believe the answer must be because I fear of something whether you fear for being poor or whatever it is. Thus, I think fear is the reason why we can keep going forward.

  • chrinsmas

    Thanks for the article. I agree that fear can drive innovation to be more competitive. All fears let drive the business better, but it is also important to be staying positive in all these processes.

  • Rebecca Kahler

    Growing a start-up is one of the most challenging things for any professional as they will always be met with fears and unique issues. However, these fears can lead to innovative solutions.

  • Tyler Steinmetz

    Thank you so much for the article it has gotten me thinking about what other actions could this fear be felt as well. I know I have felt all 10 of your points at sometime in my life and I have not started a business. I feel most of these during my everyday adventures as a college student. When I am preparing for a speech with a partner/group, when I am preparing my homework assignment that is due the next day in class, or even if I am taking notes at a lecture with 100 other students. I feel pressured to get better notes, I feel as if I can’t count on my partners during a group project, what if my audience doesn’t take my presentation very well, am I prepared enough? It’s very awakening to know that I’m not the only one that deals with stresses like this because I go through them on an everyday basis.

  • Andrew Missingham

    I think you hit the nail on the head, Tyler – although the fears we outline are framed as start-up fears, they’re common to almost every occasion where we stretch ourselves, put ourselves out there or try to break new ground – so they’re shared by students, parents, new hires, newly promoted managers and a host of folk. The thing we’re emphasising about starting a new business (but arguably common to all these situations) is a) acknowledge your fears and b) use them to focus, plot a course to meet their challenge, then c) galvanize you into action.

  • Drew Cox

    Thanks for a great article! I believe these questions arise more than in just business plans but also our everyday lives! We constantly ask ourselves who can we trust and how much trust can we actually put into something or someone. With the constant fear of failing or losing something of value. The ten points are great ways to stop take a breath and think before we act! Pressures are real and talk is cheap nowadays! We must go for what we want and be confident while doing so! How do you finally put fourth the ok and jog on with your plan?

  • Samantha Tran

    Start ups always conjure up a strong sense of passion and spirit in my mind as I imagine that’s what it takes to overcome that fear, which is what makes it so rewarding at the end of the day.

  • turbo_frey

    Thank you Andrew and Ben! I agree that understanding our fears is important to reducing one’s question in life. If we don’t challenge our fears, than we will always be questioning ourselves and our abilities. Challenging ourselves and creating new experiences only makes us stronger, wiser, and more diverse. However, the fear oftentimes is overlooked and outweighs the overall decision. How can we better educate people to think in a way that fear won’t stop them from achieving their most wanted goals in life?

  • ohtanim

    From personal experience in working at a start-up now there is fear that something might go wrong or not run smoothly. But facing these fears and taking on challenges provide an amazing feeling only felt by those that try – pushing you to continue to get pass these fears yet acknowledging that it is there

  • duongh1

    I don’t think that the fear factor forces big corporation to innovate. Rather, when a corporation gets too big to fail, the fear factor prevents them from trying out new things.

  • Andrew Missingham

    In some casess you could be right – especially when an organisation bureaucratizes. But, we’ve found that the best, most innovative companies know, understand and use their fear to their best advantage. Fear of competition, fear of being misinterpreted, fear of poor timing. All these factors spur on thorough research and creative execution.

  • Joseph

    Thanks Andrew and Ben. Understanding your fears is very critical in todays world. It will better prepare yourself for just about everything that is thrown at you. I can say that I have felt most of your top 10 fears. I always think to myself what the fears are, and what i am doing to help me face my fears and better myself for the future. With the fear about advice. How do you know if your ignoring good advice or bad advice? Do you have to determine who the person is that is telling you the advice and see what qualifications they may have?

  • Britnee_Kay

    I completely agree with that! And if there were more people out there that had a passion for creating a better world, we would be in a much better place than we are now.

  • aulm92

    I can relate to a lot of what was said in this article. My father is currently a partner of a start-up IT firm and I’ve personally seen and discussed many of the things mentioned in the article with him. I also have ideas for products and services but have always been fearful because of numerous reasons, most of which were mentioned in your top 10 list. I am curious your guys opinion on how one would go about differentiating between good and bad advice? Thank you for this article and your insight, I really look forward to reading your future posts.

  • PKroening

    Thanks for sharing this! I can honestly say that I have felt just about everyone of these fears.When I do have to think these to myself I feel as though i’m the only person in the world that thinks this, but obviously i’m not. Something I would ask the author would be how do you make yourself feel like you are not the only person feeling these, or do you ask yourself that at all?

  • Cory Zaeske

    These are very accurate fears. I know that one of the hardest things in life is facing and conquering your fears. Often times this is the key to success in life but it isn’t easy to do. There are a lot of fears I have that I have yet to conquer before taking on the real world. Do you have a method of attacking your fears and putting them behind you? Sometimes it just feels overwhelming.

  • Tammy Hartmann

    Thank you you two for sharing this article and your insight.

    I agree, It has gotten me thinking about my big project coming soon. How to handle my fears, it’s only way is to find out to take a step. Ask myself how can I and colleague make this project success, need to overcome the fear by taking a risk also always expecting the worst. I need to remind myself “Successful people never worry about what others are doing”…by kushandwizdom

  • Willie

    First off thank you guys for the knowledge. I’m not very business savvy so basically all of this was new and relevant information for me. I would have considered some of the same fears but I was already off because I didn’t even consider the number one fear because I just figured if this person wants to do this and invest their time and money, why not be in for the long haul and do all you can to succeed?

  • mollymorrisey

    I like the first one because it is important to trust the person you’re working with and to know the good and bad about them and how they approach different situations.

  • Priscilla Muñoz

    I love that you were vulnerable in sharing your fears. Saying them “out loud” is half the battle. When we’re aware of what they are, we can face them head on. Then, fail and fail again and again. I look forward to hearing more about your journey. Benandandrew.com sounds amazing and I trust that it will hit its highest potential.

  • WolfgramKA06

    Thank you for writing this article. I think that, although you shared your fears, it shows that you are well aware of them. Not many people think of all of those factors that play into starting a business, and I think that that’s what sets you about from other entrepreneurs. This article will definitely help me in my business classes because I am required to do a simulation on starting a new product. A quick question for you is, when looking at all these start up fears, which one would you want to “attack” first and try to solve before you solve any of the others?

  • laurenkraft

    Thank you for this article. I really find it interesting that you say rather than ignoring your fears and hoping that they will go away you should love your fears. I get that we should try understanding our fears but how does it give us clarity? How do you make that first step from switching from running away from your fears to loving your fears? This article is awesome it gives some great input on how fears are normal you just have to take them with a grain of salt.

  • benbl

    Opening a start up comes with a lot of fear. One fear that was not talk about is the fear of deadline. Opening a new company comes with a lot of paper work and a lot of talking around with real state agent, bankers and so on. What seems important to all of them is when will you do this when you will get that. This is an added pressure to an already difficult journey.

  • Max Rude

    Fear can stop anything from progressing forward, but if we are able to understand fear then we can control it. Fear is something that we should use to drive use to do better in life. It can be over come it is just hard sometimes.

  • lex_alwaysMIA

    I agree, if there is no clarity of our fears then how should they be addressed? This article has made me think more critically about having doubts about my decisions and going for it. The only to learn from your fears and doubts is through mistakes. Amazing article.

  • Andrew Missingham

    Hi there,
    Thanks for your question. The simple answer in our case (and so for anyone who’s entering a business with a partner) is get number 1 sorted. If you can find a trustworthy partner, you can share the attention on the last nine fears – and divide attacking them between you. The sixty four thousand dollar question is “how can you allay a fear that your partner won’t crap out on you before you’ve even stated business?” After having started around eight businesses (some solo, some with partners; some worked well, some went very, very badly) the briefest answer would be a) learn to listen carefully, with all five senses, b) ask a lot of people what your partner is like (as we did) c) get a coach between you (we did this too and d) create “work” in the run up that rehearses activities that you’ll engage in – including situations that put you under pressure and create deadlines. Hope this helps. Best of luck in your classes!

  • William Savoie

    I think this article is very interesting for people who have difficulty overcoming their fears of failure. Fear of any kind can prevent people from succeeding, but learning to embrace your fear is one of the greatest milestones in your career. It certainly begs the question: what is the best way to accept your fears?
    All ten of the fears listed are completely legitimate fears to have about beginning a business. How does someone learn to turn their fears into power without being apathetic towards them? It is an interesting technique and I’m sure it will help many entrepreneurs overcome their start-up fears.

  • Grantrobinson15

    I really enjoyed this article as I shows the not so glamorous side to start-ups. It shows that there are really a lot of things that you must consider about your company and the people you work with when starting a new business. The first concern I feel is the most important and have heard from numerous entrepreneurs that it is the most crucial. If you don’t trust your partner to put in equal work and be equally passionate about what your doing, you will not be successful. What do you think is the best thing to do if you are working with someone who is a flake or isn’t putting in the time that you are?

  • jsuuu

    I like the perspective that the author has introduced about start-ups.We all have fears when starting up something but if we carry on and convert the fears to energy we will be fine and understand what we are doing after. The top ten fears Ben&Andrew.com introduced are also interesting, what I can summarize form their views is that we have to be able to love our fears in order to overcome them in the future.

  • reuhl42

    I believe that this article is interesting and a very good read for people who are thinking about starting their own business. I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but like this article says there are many things that can go wrong and puts many fears in my head. I would like to eventually open my own business with that what would you think would be the best way to figure out where to start a business as in being too close to competition? Thank you for this article it was a great read!

  • Brandon

    This is a great read!! starting up a business is tough i know because my dad has one and i work him all summer long and winter doing lawn service/ snow. I agree fear can come into play if you don’t make enough profit for your business to keep up and running Took my dad to get couple keep to get a great customers base to compete with some of these company’s out there. What made you want to start up your own business?

  • Jake Eckhardt

    I like the part of this response about embracing fear. Fear is a huge motivator and is a good thing in moderation. Obviously you don’t want to think negatively about your fears 24/7, but without any fear what would motivate us to keep moving forward?

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I have many fears: death, clowns, roller coasters, spiders, loneliness… the list goes on. I’m the type of person to conquer my fear and use it as fuel to keep moving forward. This article is very eye opening because using your fears as clarity in your life sounds like a very challenging task. Fear overcomes some people, and that is their problem. Many people don’t even get started with an idea because they are afraid of failure. So my question for you is what possessed you to start your own business? Thank you for this great article!

  • schrammjm26

    This article brings up some phenomenal points. As I’ve talked about in a previous post, many people talk about what needs to happen and never actually take an action towards accomplishing the changes necessary for success. Things can change very fast and very suddenly so while having a plan is good sometimes you need to just take action and jump in with both feet. There will always be concerns about any matter that you are passionate about, you need to have confidence in yourself and that you can overcome the obstacles in your way. I believe that people are capable of accomplishing anything that they set their mind to if they prioritize it and have the self-discipline and determination to stay on track.

  • Daniel John

    This was a good read, especially if you plan to start your own business. I agree with all of your fears and I believe your first fear is the most important. Having a good partner will help eliminate fears, thanks for the post.

  • Claudya Febriani

    This is absolutely the real fear of starting a new business. Thanks for bringing that up because I plan to start one soon or later. I learn that we should have determination and discipline in order to survive in the business world.

  • Frank_Stanek

    Wow! Honestly reading this I can’t help but think about how much this word for word imitates my own fears about my education. “Will I be able to stand against the competition?, Will I make enough money to cover expenses?” These questions work for buisness and for our personal lives. I’m not sure if I can quite say that I “love” my problems but I am trying to take a deep breath and look at them logically and objectively.

  • Jennifer Lynn

    This article really makes you think. I guess I never realized how people and corporations think just as I do. I think a lot of us worry about what others might be thinking of us, or if we are good enough to compete with society and those around us. I think the message for me and others could be “Just take that leap” and “don’t worry about the negative thought people might have.” As a society we are all judgmental towards each other and often they are negative judgments which can be detrimental but don’t have to be.

  • Sammaritano

    The list is great! To attempt to answer #9, perhaps seek new insight from people within your industry, always look for the passionate people, and don’t solely go to work everyday with the intention of building capital. Rather do it because you like what your doing! Best of luck with the startup, look forward to hearing more.

  • Shawn

    Does anybody else look at number 1 and see something missing? How about our own fear of failure, especially if another is depending on us! Is there anyone else that feels they talk a great game but have some doubts about how they will handle the inevitable pressures down the line? I’m asking these questions because, aside from somewhat of a confession, these questions also allow me to dive deep into the motivations I have for pursuing my business– the roots of my purpose. Some good ol’ soul searching and confronting of my fear of failure might just show me the core reasons why I choose to face this risk, to face potential failure and thus potential success.
    What’s more– I might just find that I wasn’t as passionate about a particular pursuit or “cause” as I thought I was. If so, suddenly all the identity that I’d built up around this pursuit or cause is …just gone. That empty space left over from such a self-confrontation (whether voluntary or, more likely imposed by life) is not to be avoided, however. In my experience, that scary empty space is exactly where I get to know what I really stand for.
    It’s from that place that I’m ready to begin. And I wouldn’t have traded that struggle for anything.
    Anyone else get what I’m saying, or am I just ranting to the wind? Either way, it’s all good!

  • Jen McKiernan

    This is a great article not only for starting up a business, but for starting anything new. I know that when I went away to college I was terrified. I kept asking questions like “What if this isn’t the right school for me?” or “What if I don’t get along with my roommate?” I took the leap of faith though and have had a great experience so far. Now that I am coming close to ending college though, I have a bunch of new found fear about going out in the real world. That is when you must rely on confidence and know that everything is going to work out. I really like how you said “We believe that understanding your fears gives you clarity.” What are the best qualities to look for in a partner to know that they will be good to work with?

  • ghilonipt09

    Thank you for writing this article. I never realized how people and corporations think just as I do. Most people think that they need to be “good enough” for society, but we really don’t just be yourself and think as your self and you can become successful. Always stay on a positive not and let the negative people that are judging keep on judging if that is the life they would like to live.

  • layj

    I think question number 8 if the most asked question for businesses: “are we going to earn enough money or raise the funds we need?” Especially for start-ups, without the right plans and sufficient money, it will be hard. In my opinion, sure there may be loans from the bank, but how much more is one going to borrow? and how much is too much? But then again, without taking the risk, how would one expect to earn a higher return? Being a start-up is challenging, but the important thing is, know when to be fearless and know your limits. Great article for start-ups, and thank you for sharing your insights!

  • omholtj

    people rarely consider the question “What if we get a bad customer reaction?”. Word of mouth can have a huge impact on your business. Just the other day I was at a new brewery for lunch that had been on the news for being one of the best new breweries in the area. While the beer was quite excellent, the management and service was so beyond terrible that it really took away from the experience. It was obvious that their brewery was started by two brewers and not a brewer and a business man. It is so important to consider even the smallest aspects before opening the doors.

  • katie bartlein

    After reading this post I instantly thought of the quote, “You have to walk before you can run.” Chances are as a kid, you had to crawl, walk, then learn to run. No body started off racing ready to go and skip all the basic steps. It is the same way with running a business. Although it might be scary to get up those first few times, it is a way to learn keep pushing forward. Of course, starting a business is a little bit scarier then just running but if you don’t try and make mistakes, you will never learn how to be the best. Take your time, and do your research. With a solid business plan and partner you can get through it. And is it really horrible to receive a bad reaction? Maybe it is a way to alter your product or selling tactic, which will in turn make your product that much better! Don’t be afraid to listen to your critics, they can help turn you into a better business.

  • hanzimm23

    It is good to know that other people are in the same
    boat thinking that starting up your own company is, “absolutely terrifying.” Although I am just a young 19 year
    old with my whole future ahead of me, the thought of starting a company from
    the ground up absolutely terrifies me. I admire all the entrepreneurs that
    have succeed and that haven’t because the fact is they tried which a lot of
    people would be too scared to do. I don’t want to be one of those people that
    are too afraid to try even if it doesn’t work out in the end. The part of entrepreneurship
    that scares me the most is that there are already so many good ideas out there
    how could I come up with the next big thing. I could really relate to this
    article and the 10 top fears seem really important before making a
    business.

  • Kendra Larson

    I think this article hits home for a lot of people. So many people are asking the same questions and many have the same thoughts and fears. Although, many of us do not know how to deal with some of them, it helps to get the perspectives of someone else. How are we supposed to know if something is going to be successful or not? Most of the time it’s unpredictable. And if you fail, its hard to deal with. How do you deal with your failures? Thank you for sharing this article. I look forward to reading more of them.

  • Alyssa Borgrud

    I really enjoyed this article. In life there are so many things to be fearful of, but we can overcome it. Through advice or trial and error, we are constantly learning. This article does a great job of laying out the fears that may arise and how to over come. What do you do when you feel like you’ve reached rock bottom?

  • kristinwagner32

    I agree with you on everything you said and this article! I think this gives many people great almost guidelines to fight their fears. If you can understand yourself first you will be successful. Thanks for the article!

  • Amanda Laatsch ?

    Anybody would be scared to start up something so huge, but
    if it wasn’t scary, what would be the fun in that? Anything worth having is
    going to take a little guts and be a little terrifying; that’s what makes the
    success in the end so rewarding. There are a million and one questions and
    fears a person can have about starting something new, but the question is, is
    it worth it? If you can answer no to that question about any of your fears or
    doubts, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Because if you aren’t willing to take
    the risk of failing, then you aren’t putting your whole heart into it, and it
    won’t be successful.

  • Keeli Gilbert

    I was just talking to someone today, actually at an interview, who was saying that in order for some people to actually find out who they are or what they want to do or start they need to step out of their comfort zones and take risks. Not meaning death defying risks or health risks or anything, but like I said, just stepping outside their comfort zones and actually doing something that they know they can do just didn’t have the courage to actually go out and do it. It doesn’t have to be big, it could be trying a new exercise machine or doing a different ab workout that day. Anything is something that will get the mind started and the confidence will build. Who knows, maybe someday you will spark something for someone else and you could become a great team such as Ben&Andrew Ltd.

  • caoam

    I agree with this article. Sometimes, fear just keeps us away from what we can do and what we are actually good at it. Entrepreneurs that have idea and they may be afraid of a start up and because so many people fail in their start up, but do what we love and that is all the matters.

  • DrivenbySuccess

    I agree with this article. I believe that fear is a mind killer, a tiny little evil within our minds that tell us that we cant do something. Entrepreneurs have it the rough because this fear of failing is always there and everytime something does not go well they are more reluctant to stop their pursuance because the ” it wont work” sets in for sure. People have to make sure that that they have all types of back up plans for each thing that could possibly go wrong and that is the way to look at things.

  • thangha

    6- is the competition better than us: we need to think carefully about this. If we cannot compete with our competitors then it is just a waste to start our business. We will go out of business anyway. 8-are we going to make enough money: we never knew it until we try. This is my great fear, will I make enough money to pay for the expenses if I am become a boss?

  • Marian326

    What sticks with me the most, is that you decided to “love your fear.” What a concept. What we love, we hold close, and so it goes with loving our fears. If we love them, we take them for who and what they are, like our children or spouses, but we do not let them overwhelm or keep us down. I will admit that I decided to start reading a later post, and ended up here, at the first one. I am looking forward to reading your following posts.

    Thank you for sharing the process of starting your own business, and the fear involved. Do you feel that your list inspired you, or did it hold you back to some degree?

  • Frank_Stanek

    It’s obviously important to keep the finances in mind when doing business or life but if you focus too much on how much better everyone else is than you you can paralyze yourself into doing nothing at all.

  • brandon bell

    Sink or swim is what is come down to. I really like the question you had before
    starting my own business I would ask myself the same questions. Plus the many sleepless night but the risk will always equal the reward even if the only think your get out of it is experience. Life will move on.

  • Kendra Larson

    I agree, fear can essentially have a negative effect on the mind. It can make us think that we are not capable of doing something. There is always that question in our minds asking, “What if I fail”? I think that is a question that every person asks themselves before they start to reach for their goals… or try to accomplish something. I know that before I started college, I was scared out of my mind! Going in, I did not know what I really wanted to do, and that scared me. It made me question if I really should be going to college, if I did not know what to go for. However, through going to college and working where I am currently working, I found what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, and that is teaching. See, going in I had fear in my mind…but fear comes and goes. We only fear things in life when we do not know the outcome. But once we step forward, and go against that fear, it reveals the unknown and then the fear gradually disapears.

  • JeremyWahl

    i believe if you are too concerned about your competitors, you are taking away some of the focus from bettering your own business. If you are enthusiastic about what you have, you will turn peoples heads even if you dont have that exciting of a product yet. are we going to make enough money? we all want to make as much money as possible but sometimes it takes time for that to happen.

  • rschneider2800

    That is a lot of fears and I know all of them all to well. Unfortunately I don’t know how to get past them. I’m more of a creative person so I can come up with hundreds of ideas, a few of which are probably good, but how do you get the 20 seconds of courage to just make the leap?

  • hansends21

    I don’t run a business, but holy crap there is a lot that goes into it all. Sometimes I think I have good enough ideas to run a business, but I don’t know if I would really ever make the leap. Luckily I am still in college so I have time to think, a little.

  • Anthony Davis

    I love the detail that is represented in this article and it hits nicely on all of the things that a lot of individuals do not particularly think about when running or starting up a business. Approaches need to be taken from all angles and I feel that this article did a really good job of laying everything out.

  • Anthony Davis

    I am also in college right now and I am aspiring to open my own gym right now. I am also grateful that I have time to think about things for a while but I feel that this article lays things out very nicely. Its definitely something to look into.

  • RadebaugVP02

    For many of us including myself our fears scare us. After some time of thinking I have a new approach. I believe that our fears should inspire us. Push us to do something we would never do. Fight the fear as if its fighting back.

  • RadebaugVP02

    I think asking if the competition is better than us is a realistic question but when you think about it they all started from the bottom too. We could be just as competitive, it just takes time and work.

  • Lauren Schlicht

    This article offers a lot of really great advice. The one thing I can happily say I can take away from reading it is that its okay to be afraid. Its okay to be scared, to be unsure and not know how something is ultimately going to end up. Its the fight to over come the fear that makes greatness happen. If everyone was always too scared to chase their dreams, what would we have? I’d imagine not a lot.

  • Lauren Schlicht

    I like how the authors refer to the fact that fear can be absolutely paralyzing. Being fearful can most definitely prevent people from chasing their dreams or being bold enough to take that leap. In my opinion the easiest way to get over that scare is to just do it. Once you overcome what you’re afraid of you gain the courage to be able to do it again, and if it fails you have to look at it in a different way: you have to learn from your mistakes and take the incident as a learning experience and grow from the fear that paralyzed you.

  • Lauren Schlicht

    I give entrepreneurs so much credit. Anyone can have a good idea, but not everyone can go after it and turn it into something that could make the world or someone’s quality of life a better! I think passion really helps people get over that initial scare of the “what ifs” so I couldn’t agree more with you when you say it has everything to do with doing what you love!

  • Will Ettl

    The best thing you can do when creating a company is to fear. If there is nothing that you fear than there is no risk and with out any risk there is no reward. In the end the best thing to do is to fear. As crazy as that sounds it is something that is true and they should push us to do better and fight what we do not know.

  • afallon14

    I was lucky enough to be part of a small business and I got to see how things were ran day in and day out. I saw the stress of the company as well as it’s successes and it really helped me see into my future and what I want to do with my life. A lot of things need to be considered when starting your own business but it is possible!

  • Tom Ashmus

    I love articles like this. This article reinforces the idea that it is okay to be scared, it is okay to put everything on the line and go for it. That’s how this country was founded, on a very big risk. Seeing a small business succeed against a giant corporation gives a lot of people hope that anything is possible, just as long as you have a little faith.

  • Tom Ashmus

    I agree with you Will. Many people associate fear with a negative thing, in actuality fear can be our ally. Feeling fear is one of things that makes us human. Fear does push us to do the right thing, with the right stable mind.

  • Tyler Hebert

    With a lot of decisions you make, comes fear. You want to tryout for a team, you might be a little nervous. You want to talk to girl, she might walk away. You want to start a business, you might lose hundreds of dollars. Everyone fails at some point in their life, but risks are worth taking. You want to send out a new product, but you are scared it might get bad reviews. You need to send that product out and get those reviews, learn from what went wrong, and change the product to make it better. All about trial and error.