Starting a business and dealing with uncertainty

The most common reason I hear brilliant, talented women hold themselves back from running their business full time is that the thought of leaving their full time job is terrifying. Some of them have kids to take care of not to mention health insurance and affording just the basic necessities to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. What if the business doesn’t earn enough income? What if I lose my home? I am just not ready to give up my lifestyle i.e. daily café lattes, brunch with girlfriends on the weekend. The fear is justified. However this fear keeps us trapped.

In this article, I won’t try to convince you that you should take the leap into entrepreneurship. I won’t tell you to jump and the net will appear. I won’t even give you a bulletproof plan to successfully leave your job and start your business. I don’t believe those exist and you certainly don’t need me to create a plan for you. I will tell you this however, when it comes to trading in your regular paycheck for a dream that may or may not work you are choosing a level of uncertainty that can be so uncomfortable it will make you squirm. That uncertainty of being your own boss will never go away. I have spoken with women who have been in business for ten and twenty years who still to this day combat uncertainty in their business. I recall a conversation with a woman business owner when I first started my company. She ran a startup and shared with me times in her business when she wasn’t sure she could make payroll for her employees. I’ve spoken with women in business who confided in me times where they’ve laid on their kitchen floor in tears wondering how they would make the business work. Paula Tursi, my speaker at this months Dreaming + Doing event openly shared that in the first years of running her yoga studio, she says “we were broke and I seriously questioned if we should close the doors.”

The uncertainty struggle in entrepreneurship is real folks. The success stories you often hear and read about from people who are doing really well in business are not without its dire, nail biting moments of pushing through uncertainty.

In interviewing over 50 successful women in business throughout the years, one of the main themes that constantly shows up in our conversations is that they learned to take risks. They are no different than you or I; some had families and kids to take care of, some had gone through health challenges, some even started their business while holding down a day job, and supporting a household.  They saw the risk in starting a company and accepted it.

Taking risks and moving through uncertainty is a muscle we learn to strengthen over time. Risk doesn’t have to mean giant leaps like quitting your job today and going into business the next although it could be for the person who believes this is right for them. Taking risks can also be the actions you take that start off small but ultimately lead you to where you want to be. There is no right or wrong way to “do entrepreneurship” but make no mistake about it, weathering bouts of uncertainty will always be apart of the story. Instead of avoiding it completely, let it become your wisest teacher. After all, we deal with uncertainty on some level every single day. Maybe it’s time we start using it to guide us rather than running away from it.

How do you deal with uncertainty? What do you think you could learn from it when it comes to starting your business?