Five ways to overcome doubt and start your own business – Doubt is the serial killer of dreams – it’s time to lock it away for good! by @MelittaCampbell

by Melitta Campbell

Starting a new business is exciting!

It’s also a time when your doubts and insecurities can go into overdrive.

This is normal. It’s important for you to understand that. All entrepreneurs experience some level of doubt and fear when starting out. The important thing is not to let your fears hold you back.

I know that’s easier said than done, but follow these five steps you’ll stand a good chance!

Just about every personal development, leadership and mindset guru agrees that everything you want lies on the other side of your comfort zone, so let’s not delay things any further…

1. Visualise Your Better Future

For some reason we humans love to dwell on the negative:

What if I don’t find any clients?
What will my friends say if I fail?
What if I mess everything up?

…But what if everything goes right?!

All the successful entrepreneurs and business owners I’ve spoken to all have one thing in common – their vision was bigger than their fears; so they went for it.

The fact is, if you are starting a new venture, if you are continually putting yourself out there in new situations, and if you are committed to learning and growing – you are going to fail sometimes. But that’s OK. Failure isn’t the opposite of success; it’s one of the fastest routes to it.

The first step in getting over your fears is to give yourself a compelling reason why you should make the effort and go through the (short-lived) discomfort. You can do this by creating an exciting vision for your future.

What will your life be like in 10 years time, once you succeed with your new business?

Imagine driving up to your home – what is it like? When you walk inside, who is there waiting for you, and what plans do you have? What difference have you made to your clients’ lives?

Allow yourself to dream big and create a vision of your success and play it in your mind like a movie of your future. Play this movie to yourself at least once a day and you’ll start to your perspective changing and your fears reduce in significance.

2. Sort Fact from Fiction

While having a strong reason to start your business, will help put your fears in perspective, it still might not be enough to quash your fears and get you started.

To do that, it helps to break your fears down, and take an objective look at them. This way, you will see more clearly what are the real concerns to be addressed and what are fictional fears.

Brainstorm all your worries and write them down. If you are like most aspiring entrepreneurs, you’ll need a large sheet of paper for this exercise!

Next, draw three columns naming them: My fear, Rational Thought, and Possible Actions. Then work through each fear accordingly. For example:

As Susan Jeffers points out in her book ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’, everyone is afraid when facing the unknown. Therefore, getting to know your fears and taking appropriate steps is an important part of putting your feelings of doubt behind you.

3. Build a Success Circle

When aspiring entrepreneurs start out, they don’t usually have many successful entrepreneurs or business owners in their network. As a result, they are often discussing their dreams and ambitions with people who don’t understand their vision and who quickly become worried or sceptical. This does not help when you have plenty of your own doubts already.

For balance, seek out people who have succeeded in business, or who are actively working towards ambitious goals. They are far more likely to have relevant insights and to provide you with the constructive feedback and encouragement needed to boost your motivation to get started.

A great way to find them is at networking events or business training. Aim to add one or two people you find inspiring to your network, and grow your success circle over time.

As Tom Rath points out in his book Vital Friends, just one good friend who gets you and encourages you, can drastically change your life and your results.

4. Practice Gratitude

Practicing daily gratitude is a reasonably simple habit, yet it has the power to transform every area of your life.

Among its many benefits, gratitude has the power to make your fears evaporate. As Sandy Gallagher CEO of the Proctor Gallagher Institute concluded, it’s not possible to hold feelings of fear and gratitude at the same time.

At the end of each day, write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. These could be simple things like the smile the bus driver gave you that lifted your spirits, or big things like a new client. You can even be grateful for something that went wrong and the lesson you learned from it.

If you haven’t practiced gratitude for a while, it might not be so easy at first, but hang in there, you’ll soon get in the swing of things. And when you do, you’ll feel the benefits fast!

5. Dream Big, Plan Small

After shrinking your fears down to size, it’s time to take action! Action is not only the antedote to fear, but it also confirms your intentions.

As John F. Kennedy famously pointed out: “Every accomplishment starts with the decision try”.

Take that big vision you created in step 1 and make that your 10-year goal. Then start breaking it down into logical steps. This can mostly be high-level, but plan your next 90 days in detail and schedule time for each action. Then make the decision to start.

It doesn’t matter how small you start, it may even be a tiny shuffle in the right direction, but it’s important to do something. Then use that small success, to fuel your next step and so on.

Before you know it you’ll be up and running and wondering why you ever doubted yourself in the first place!



Melitta is a Business Coach and Mentor with a passion for using her 25+ years business, communication and marketing experience to help women confidently build a business they love. Originally from Wales, she now lives in a chalet overlooking the Swiss-Alps with her two daughters and husband.


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