You may probably have heard of the term “wantrepreneurs,” a word used to describe today’s growing legion of individuals who are eternally stuck in the stage of wanting to start a business but never get around to doing so.
These aspiring entrepreneurs seem enamored enough with their ideas. They talk about it and discuss their plans with anyone who would care to listen, but could never muster enough time or money to get their visions underway. It’s a sad reality knowing that many of those wanting to strike out on their own will never follow through more than half of the time.
Data shows that as much as 71% of millennials want to work for themselves in the future. After all, who wouldn’t want the chance to make it big, or to have the autonomy to use their time and talents as they see fit?
However, this is often not an enough motivation for people. They hem and haw even before they could put their foot out the door. Why? Because of the age-old emotion of fear. As humans, we fear a lot of things. We fear loss, we fear failure, we fear being inadequate, we fear disappointments, we fear defeat, we fear losing, and the list goes on and on.
But all in all, we can sum up all of these fears to one thing—the fear of success and what comes with it. We live in dread of success’ trappings that we’re willing to forego chances and opportunities so we can keep our ego intact.
This is what lies at the root of the wantrepreneur syndrome and why so many will never get past this “wanting” stage.
So if you’re more afraid of not knowing what you could do or how far your potential will take you, then that’s the first step of beating the wantrepreneur syndrome. You have to feel something bigger than your fears.
Now that we have the first step down, there are other concrete courses of action you have to undertake.
Stop Overthinking Things or Obsessively Worrying
A lot of wantrepreneurs are always stuck with their thoughts. They obsess about the nitty and gritty and want every detail to be perfect. As Graham Davey estimates, a psychologist specializing in anxiety, about 80% of people’s worries will hardly ever happen.
Of course, it’s always good to flesh out your plans beforehand instead of vaguely groping your way around. But anything done to extremes can only hurt your progress in the long run.
Know when too much is too much. If you’ve ever caught yourself unduly prolonging leaving your 9 to 5 job despite having prepared as you could, then you could be unreasonably getting gung-ho over the wanting phase.
You can only improve once you make the jump. From there, you’ll get valuable, concrete feedback of what really works and what could go wrong.
No amount of researching, visualizing, and thinking can ever replace real world specifics so try not to get stuck with the thought of doing it and roll with it once you finish going over most of the major details.
Manage Your Fear of Failure
Fear of failure is a common phenomenon. Nine out of ten of newly established businesses fail. That’s a very high mortality rate no matter what field you’re in. What this tells us is that failure is essential. There’s a high chance that you’ll fail along the way and that’s okay because failing is an inevitable prerequisite to success. Those who don’t fail never manage to achieve anything in life.
Letting the fear of failure dictate your actions can undermine your own success. Sometimes, it’s you who stand in the way of your own success. The good thing is that you have the sole power to change that.
If your ideas and plans are really worth pursuing, you’re bound to fail at some point and that’s a good thing. In life, we always learn more from our failures than our successes.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for a lifetime, because by then, things could’ve vastly changed—and not always for the better.
Realizing these things can keep you from being stuck in inaction.
Failure is just a matter of perspective and it’s almost impossible to go through life unscathed with losses. If you know people who do, they’re probably being overcautious to the point that they’ve hardly done any living, if at all.
We can choose how to look at failure. It can be a world-crumbling defeat or a lesson to be learned. It’s really up to you.
If you let failure stop you, you’ll only be doing yourself a disservice by passing on opportunities that could’ve contributed to a better quality of life for you.
Act on It
If you’re in doubt whether you really have what it takes to go out there and compete, there’s really one way to find out—get started.
No matter how experienced or how skilled you think you are, taking action is what matters in the end.
Amazing skills or talents unused are worth nothing if not translated into action.
In Startup Bros’ infographic on entrepreneurs, two of the key things that led to success were starting two companies or more (47.1%) and starting their first businesses (41.4%).
This just goes to show that you have to at least get started and establish a business before you could even ever hope to achieve the things you’ve always wanted.
In this article by Forbes on the psychology of success, psychologist Kelly Shaver says that those who start businesses for themselves are just glad to go ahead and be able to do what they’re doing. If you’re not willing to take the first step then you’re probably not just dedicated enough to making your vision a reality.
Small actions are better than big ideas planned, to paraphrase Peter Marshall. It’s hard to take action when you’re faced with a daunting decision, but getting something done trumps endless attempts to achieve perfection.
In this field, you usually learn by doing. Failure is only truly horrible if you gleaned nothing from it. In today’s times, it’s not just about what you know, but what you can do armed with that information.
After Beating the Wantrepreneur Syndrome
Once you’ve finally crossed the threshold of wanting, expect a couple of frustrations and despairs along the way. In return, you might also have rewarding times where everything just feels worth it.
Nevertheless, the real reward of being an entrepreneur is in the work, even if the work involved is difficult.
Now that you’ve made the jump, you don’t have to worry as much about making it out okay.
See your starting move as an opportunity, instead of a risk. Few people ever get to that starting point and if you were courageous enough to go ahead, then you also have the pluck to bounce back should you meet failure at any point in time on your journey.
Also published on Medium.