by Meghan Bliss | Featured Contributor
If you do a quick search of the things that scare small business owners most, you’ll find a variety of fears, including fear of failure, fear of instability, and worry that revenue won’t grow. Some entrepreneurs even fear success and the added responsibility it brings.
Running a small business comes with its own unique set of challenges. You’ll have more freedom and flexibility in your life. That’s what makes the effort worth it for many people. But you’ll also have to work through some common fears that plague small business owners, including financial fears. In fact, the common denominator linking many of the top worries entrepreneurs face is money.
I spent nearly four years at a job that wasn’t the right fit for me simply because I was worried about money. I knew my earning potential would be greater if I branched out into writing and publishing. But my potential for failure was greater, too. My main problem? I was only looking at failure from a financial standpoint. I didn’t consider that sticking with a job I neither enjoyed nor excelled at would be its own kind of failure.
So I finally did the scary thing and quit my job. With a baby on the way. (If you’re thinking I’m crazy, you’re right.) I’ve had some discouraging days so far, but I’ve also had some highly rewarding ones. In the process, I’ve also been learning how to crush my financial fears as a small business owner.
If you’re worried about money, here are some effective ways to work through it:
Stop thinking of success or failure as a purely financial issue. We need to make money to live. That’s a given. But think about why you went into business for yourself in the first place. Was it just to make more money? Or was it because you wanted more freedom, flexibility, and creativity in your daily life? Part of the payoff for me has been my ability to stay home and set my own work schedule, especially during my pregnancy.
Understand your financial situation. I realize the saying “ignorance is bliss” rings true in some circumstances. But staying in the dark about your finances will ultimately cause more stress. No matter what your financial situation looks like, knowing about it will either help you stay on track, or get on track.
Track your earning, spending, saving, and investing. In other words, don’t just let your money fly out the window. Take control of it. Start by finding a simple budgeting method that works well for you, preferably one you enjoy. Spreadsheets? Good. Apps? Good. Pen and paper? Good. Just figure out what you’ll actually use, and then use it well.
Set goals for your business. When you have goals to work toward and realistic timelines to follow, you won’t get as overwhelmed. (Take it from me, the Queen of Overwhelm!) Make sure you do something every single day, even something small, to take one step toward each goal.
Consider a portfolio lifestyle. The idea of a portfolio life is incredibly encouraging. It suggests that you don’t have to do one single thing for the rest of your life. Instead, you can vary your efforts (and therefore your income) to create a lifestyle that fits you best.
Check your perspective. It’s easy to think money can fix everything. Try to remember that even though money might be stressing you out right now, having more won’t necessarily make you happier in the long run. Sure, it can help ease some discomfort. But a life of satisfaction is built on more than what you can afford.
So far the experience of quitting my job has been both terrifying and rewarding. I’m confident, even in these early, uncertain days, that doing the “scary thing” will be worth it. Plus, it’s helping me learn how to overcome my financial fears. That’s a lesson I could stand to learn over and over again.
How have you learned to deal with financial fears as a small business owner?
Meghan Bliss is the owner and head writer at TheLadyinRead.com, a blog for women who read, write, and want to be read.
After almost four years in finance, Meghan quit her job to write full time. She spends her days blogging, writing novels, and trying to stay off of Pinterest. She also copyedits books, newsletters, manuals, and basically anything else you throw at her — including subtitles and restaurant menus. Her first novel will be released this year.
When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading, clumsily practicing the ukulele, or watching old sitcoms and superhero movies with her husband, cat, and baby-to-be.
And, as always, trying to find the perfect shade of red lipstick.