Ask any entrepreneur if being an entrepreneur is awesome, and they’ll say yes. The excitement! The unknown! The whole not-answering-to-a- boss thing! The flexibility! The prospect of changing the world (at least some small sliver of it)! But ask any entrepreneur if being an entrepreneur is scary, and they’ll probably also say yes, for many of the same reasons and more. Well, we did just that. And here’s what they said. CAUTION: REAL TALK AHEAD.
Tick tock tick tock…
“I would say TIME is by far one of the scariest,” says Ed Hall, CEO of Wilmington, North Carolina-based Petrics Inc. “You only have so much time for your window of opportunity, time to market, time to beat competition, time to hit your milestones for the company goals and shareholders. It always feels like there is never enough time. The clock is always ticking!”
“We’re passionate about our company but it’s a huge commitment,” says Alicia Caputo, CEO of Knoxville, Tennessee-based Avrio Analytics. “Work/life balance is often difficult.”
Spooky Uncle Sam
“I’d say signing the IRS forms and hoping you got everything right,” says Hannah Moyer, Startup Southerner columnist extraordinaire and digital marketer.
Money money money
“The scariest thing is when you look at your bank statement and you have less than two months burn left!” exclaims Kela Ivoyne, co-founder of Louisville, Kentucky-based Mailhaven.
“Working to make sure that whatever equity, both sweat and financial, by all our team members will pay off soon is an exciting challenge. But also a scary one,” says our own founder, Ayumi Fukuda Bennett.
Fear of failure (Warning: This is a popular one)
“Having to go back to a job where you work for someone else,” says Scott Barstow, CEO of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina-based Rocket Hanger.
“(Entrepreneurship) has always been natural to me. It’s is in your blood. The only thing that has changed is that I have a family to provide for now. I can’t just fall apart now. So I am walking into adventure and uncharted territory, but I have to make sure that I’m taking care of my priorities,” says Lincoln Walters, founder of Asheville, North Carolina-based Happy Legs Club.
“(Failure is) something we don’t always have control over and the stats aren’t in one’s favor,” says Alicia Caputo, CEO of Knoxville, Tennessee-based Avrio Analytics.
“President Franklin Roosevelt, a disruptor before that was a word said in his inaugural address, ‘Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ Yep, he was right: fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of hearing no from that first investor meeting or first prospect you need for traction,” says Jim Roberts, founder of Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs and Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (North Carolina). “Luckily, there’s a solution: A very solid foundation of friends and family who will pick you up from a perceived ‘rock bottom.’ Thick skin is necessary as a pioneer to deflect the arrows coming from those behind.”
“To me one of the best things about being an entrepreneur is also one of the scariest and that is, ‘It is on you,'” explains Charlotte, North Carolina-based serial entrepreneur Mac Lackey. “As an entrepreneur you get to go home every night knowing you moved the needle. You make the call. You call the shots and you decide… But that means there is often no one else to blame for your mistakes, decisions or failures. It is on you! Failing or publicly facing your mistakes is one of the hardest gut checks you will face as an entrepreneur. No doubt it is a scary thought. But as I always tell aspiring entrepreneurs… DO IT ANYWAY.”