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Help! What If This Was a Huge Mistake?

You started your own busines. OK. Now what?

by Naomi Dunford  |  3089 views  |  7 comments  |        Rate this now! 

You did what you were supposed to do. You learned how to write a business plan. You hired a really nerdy looking accountant. You analyzed and you brainstormed and you thought until you couldn’t think anymore. You knew totally, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt that starting your own business was the right thing to do.

Now, you’re terrified and weepy and snarking at the kidlets. You’re overwhelmed and exhausted. You see begging for food scraps on the street corner in your not-too-distant future. You’re starting to think that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. What do you do?

What you want to do is curl up in the fetal position under the nearest table, sobbing and drinking warm Chardonnay through a bendy straw. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it’s probably not going to allay your fears in and of itself. What you really need here is perspective. The problem is that when you’re scared, perspective is as easy to find as a beaver-skin parka in Costa Rica.

Here are some things you can do.

Seek out the most rational person you know. Tell them exactly what is going on inside your head. Then ask them if it’s reasonable. (Note: From experience, I can tell you that it helps if the person you ask is not your husband. Why? Because no matter what he says, you’re not going to believe him anyway.) Fear and overwhelm, while completely acceptable, are almost never reasonable. They’re biological reactions to stimuli. You need to find someone who you trust to calmly beat you over the head with this fact, over and over, until you’re ready to move on.

Investigate the experts. Head down to your local bookstore and find the biography section. Close your eyes and pick a book -- any book, as long as it’s not one that has been put on the wrong shelf. Sit down, cross-legged on the floor if you have to, and read it until you find reference to adversity or self-doubt. This will likely take between 11 and 46 seconds. Repeat until you feel better. A lot of really smart people have said that nothing good is ever easy. I’m guessing they didn’t say it because they couldn’t think of a better answer to an interview question.

Find a community. Right now. Find a forum. Or a chatroom. Or a blog. Anything that has to do with meeting any kind of goals. Read. Or write. Ask for help. Vent. Whatever. Just get involved in a community of people who will cheerfully and emphatically tell you that you’re not alone. When you’re alone, you think that the capitalism will cease, the internet will crash, and your mother will stop returning your phone calls if you do not achieve success right this minute. Everybody feels this way. Go find them and they will tell you not only that they got through it, but how they did it. Might I suggest the Work It, Mom! groups?

7 comments so far...

  • Just what I need to read and hear today! It got me off the ledge. :)

    Thank you!!!


    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SK on 10th January 2008

  • Awww... you guys! But Florinda, you obviously didn't read How To Start A Business For Dummies. One's success as a business owner is inversely proportional to the attractiveness of their accountant. I'm sure you're lovely, but in so being you're not doing your clients any favors. :-)

    @ Mandy - The bathroom floor works well.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Naomi Dunford on 9th January 2008

  • Great article, except for the "nerdy looking accountant" reference, which I am objecting to on behalf of my profession :-). Seriously, this is great advice for ANY endeavor, not just your business, that has you freaking out.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Florinda Pendley Vasquez on 8th January 2008

  • Perfect, and witty, advice. I'm also thinking that if I'm hunkered down on the floor of the library my kidlets will have a harder time finding me!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mandy Nelson - Dandysound on 8th January 2008

  • awesome awesome awesome!! i want to read it again it is so fantastic (needed a new word) and i never reread stuff!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 8th January 2008

  • This is such great advice I might have to print it out and just eat it so it's absorbed into my system. OK, half joking but THANK YOU!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 8th January 2008

  • Great article!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 8th January 2008