A friend recently completed his first successful year as a solo business owner. His synopsis: “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” Well, there are lots of reasons that stop people starting their own business.

While the Flying Solo community is buzzing with established entrepreneurs, we know that there are also thousands of aspiring business owners lurking, learning and plotting their launch.

A little while back I asked What makes you start your own business? So it now seems fair to explore the reasons that hold back would-be entrepreneurs.

When thinking about my own feelings before starting up, there were half a dozen hurdles in the way:

  1. Money: How will I replace the salary needed to maintain my mortgage, my bills and lifestyle? Can I cope without a regular salary, and for how long?
  2. Insecurity: Am I good enough? Will people pay for my skills? When I first started, I went for a year or two fretting on client feedback, convinced that every project could be my last.
  3. Fear of failure: What if this all goes down in a ball of flames? Will people think I’m a loser?
  4. Peer pressure: Starting a business is a path most people choose not to go down. There’s no shortage of people willing to point out the risks and pitfalls. “Why chuck in a perfectly good job?”
  5. Identifying a passion: Answering the old “I’ve no idea what to do!” dilemma. It took me a few years, and a few ‘real’ jobs, before I finally realised that writing was the part I really enjoyed.
  6. Lack of courage: It doesn’t matter how confident, prepared, experienced or cashed-up you are, there’s no denying that striking out on your own takes a stomach-turning leap of faith.

In my case, it all essentially boiled down to fear.

Some fears are well founded and need to be addressed through education, planning or expert advice, while others are irrational insecurities. The key is to be aware of them, understand the difference and deal with them appropriately.

If you have started your own business, we’d love to hear what barriers you tackled before taking the plunge. If you’re yet to go it alone, what’s holding you back?

Go on, leave a comment. Don’t be scared.

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