A few years back I wrote an article called "Facing the Fear Factor". Surprisingly it's the most widely read of any small business growth article I've ever written. Why? Because everyone relates to the fear we face trying to succeed as entrepreneurs. Whether you're just gathering the courage to strike out on your own, or you've been at it for a while, at some point you're going to have to know how to prevent fear from stopping you from going after your dreams of building a successful small business. I've helped hundreds of small business owners overcome fear and move toward success and I've faced the same fears myself. All of your fears fit into one of three simple categories. Fear of Change Few people enthusiastically embrace change. Change means we can never settle in and coast; we can't decide we know all there is to know and just slide into a comfortable default mode. The ability to welcome change is what will fuel your ability to succeed in the small business game. I've seen lots of owners who were afraid of technology, for example. And that fear stopped them from upgrading their websites, learning to use an autoresponder (one of the greatest, cheapest marketing tools around), or from using simple tools like e-mail properly. I've had clients tell me there was no way they could learn fairly simple technology systems that would give them more time and make them more money. Once I walked them through step-by-step, each one ended up admitting that their fear was unwarranted. Fear of change can also stop you from leaving a dead end job and starting a business. It can stop you from outsourcing tasks you shouldn't waste your time doing. We all tend to talk ourselves into accepting what is so we can avoid making profound and often uncomfortable changes. Where is fear of change stopping you? The truth is that stagnation is boring and constant change is the reality of life whether we like it or not, so why not learn to embrac it. Figure out where change is in your best interest and in the interests of your future success and do what's beneficial rather than what's comfortable. Fear of Failure This is a big one that can manifest in many ways. It could appear as fear of not having enough money to start a business, or fear of not being able to make a substantial living as an entrepreneur. It could manifest as a fear of looking bad to family and friends if the business doesn't make it. It could manifest as a fear of lacking financial security. There is always some risk inherrent in owning a business. If you've weighed the risk and it makes sense to take it, then you need to look at you fear of failure, write down the worst that could happen, decide how you would deal with it, then go all out for your dream, knowing that the worst is unlikely to happen. I've experienced a failed business, and the failure was painful, but less so then the fear I indulged in before it happened. And what I learned from the failure was priceless. Are you spinning your wheels, not moving forward with plans to start or grow your business because you're afraid to fail? Are you going to let that fear keep you stuck with unfulfilled dreams for financial freedom and living the life you choose? Fear of Success You might be thinking, "that's crazy–who'd be afraid to be successful?" Many people are and they don't even know it. Here are some of the "fear of success" comments I've gotten from clients: "No one in my family has ever made a lot of money." "I just can't find the time to grow my business" "If my business grows, I'll be overwhelmed and have no time for my life". "I'm analyzing different ideas and don't know how or when I'll actually start". "I have to be careful not to take any action that might end up being a bad decision or poor choice." If any of these sound familiar, you may be afraid of success. Look, it's hard to admit you're afraid, but everyone is, so you're in good company. Remember that fear is very often False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is usually just a string of negative thoughts that repeat over and over in your head. Once you become aware of them, you can change them, or move forward anyway because they will loose their power to determine your actions. Remember, if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. Ready to boot those fears out the door and free yourself to achieve something great?