Since we just moved I’ve been meeting new people all the time. Inevitably the “What do you do?” question comes up to which I answer that I started my own company recently. The responses usually take the form of “Wow, that’s exciting!” and I nod and smile politely in agreement.
But let me be honest here. What I’ve learned from my six-month stint as a full-time, no security blanket entrepreneur is that mostly, it’s freakin’ scary. Yes, I said scary. It IS exciting, and wonderful, and amazing, and gutsy, and interesting, and fulfilling, and many other adjectives, but every single day, it’s scary. And it’s the kind of scary that I’ve not experienced before–a deeply ingrained, constant state of scary vs. something that just comes and goes. To be perfectly clear–or too honest, as a friend who has been reading this blog recently said to me–here are some things I am scared of:
- I am scared of failure. I am really really scared of failure. Work It, Mom! is something I’ve created and I’ve gone out into the world saying “Hey, world! We need a community for working moms called Work It, Mom! and I am going to create it and make it into a real business.” The odds of success are tiny, the fear of failure is huge.
- I am scared of what my friends, family, and professional colleagues/contacts will think of me if I can’t pull this off. I wish more people talked about this openly. No, I am not doing this for anyone else, but to say that I don’t care what anyone else thinks is dishonest. We all care, opinions matter. I don’t want to let anyone down.
- I am scared of how working 15 hours a day will affect my family, my relationship with my husband, my daughter’s view of her mom. I’ve tried my best to make sure that I make time for them, but it’s a constant challenge.
- I am scared of the financial impact that potential failure can have on my family. I am the main breadwinner (currently on sabbatical in that capacity:), and it’s my responsibility.
And here’s one more, which you are hearing here first:
- I am scared of finding out that I’m not cut out for this. During the past 10 years of my professional life I always thought that what I really wanted to do was start my own company. I did things on the side–like this one–but Work It, Mom! is my first full-time entrepreneurial venture. It’s been tougher and crazier and riskier and more challenging than I imagined or ever experienced before. And I am scared of ever finding out that maybe running my own company isn’t something I can do. This one is the scariest of all.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because every day I get emails asking me about how I got started with Work It, Mom!, how the site came together, how we’re building the business. I try to reply with helpful and specific points. But I want to make sure that I am perfectly clear with every single entrepreneur, freelancer, small business owner or potential small business owner out there:
CAUTION: This is scary stuff.
My to-do list is always a mile long, but I realized recently that what I do every single day, without fail, is fight my fears. It’s the toughest thing I do as an entrepreneur. And there are days when I feel like I am not sure I can keep doing it and days when I know with 100% certainty that I can. The emotional roller-coaster analogy we often hear about running your own business is extremely accurate–I am living it.
I love doing this. If something happened and Work It, Mom! never went further than it has to this point, I’d be tremendously proud of it, of our community, of everything we’ve achieved, of what I have been able to do. I have BIG plans for where this goes and some great people working with me to help make it happen. The moments when I feel like we CAN do this are amazing–I feel like a superhero! They are as amazing as getting an email from a member saying thanks for creating this community or reading a post where community members are being incredibly honest or helpful with a fellow member who needs it. That stuff is magical (so please keep it coming!)
But it’s still scary.
Do you have your own business? How do you face your fears? How do you work and push through them? I hope many of you will share your experiences and reactions in the comments. (I know I can’t wait to read them!)
**Tomorrow I’ll be featuring a guest post from a fellow entrepreneur about her fears and ways she fights through them. She is a really special woman, mom, person–don’t miss it!**