Courage: a Powerful Character Trait of an Entrepreneur


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -Confucius

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.   -Beverly Sills

For every business that exists, has ever existed, there are thousands that never came to be.  Almost everyone I know has a little dream – whether to run a local café with the world’s best coffee, own a charming little B&B, or create an internet startup and become an expert online.

What takes us from the realm of dreams to the reality of action is a little something we call courage.  The number of excuses we create in order to prevent ourselves from taking the plunge into business is outrageous.  Excuses are little more than thinly veiled embodiments of our fears.  And the thing is, so many of these excuses are the simplest little things – not knowing if you need a license, not knowing how to create/monetize/add a shopping cart to a website, and on and on.  These matters are so basic, easily overcome by asking a friend, doing a little research, or hiring a consultant.

I found this wonderful article by Joel Ohman about how to start a business with limited funds.   He covers all the grounds in such a straightforward manner, tackles the fear factor right off the bat, and I really recommend you read it, whether you’ve already started a business yet or not.

Another essential factor in overcoming your fear in taking the plunge is your community.  It’s important to have the support of your family and friends.  They can provide knowledge, comfort, and all sorts of assistance throughout the process.  In fact, this article from the Harvard Business Review details how crucial a role the enthusiastic support of family is in the creation of a true expert.  Tell your community about your dream.  Involve them.  Usually you’ll come out the stronger for it.

I have a strong circle of friends who all have dreams of being successful entrepreneurs many times over. Just by hanging out with them and sharing ideas gives me the courage to go on when money is tight, or resources seem tapped. Remembering to use the magical words – “Can you help?” – have also proven to be an incredible motivator for me and them. I often give them ideas for positioning or branding themselves online and they give me marketing ideas.

All in all, it’s true that many businesses fail.  Even the most successful entrepreneurs have failed, sometimes over and over.  They learned from their mistakes, picked themselves back up again, and tried again.  If you never take the plunge, there will never be any possibility that you will succeed.

I want to commend all of you who have already bravely stepped into the unknown, and I want to encourage you who are still dreaming.  It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money or legal or financial knowledge to start a business.  Make your product, know your goals, and start.  It takes courage, and we all have it if we dig down deep enough.  Just remember to ask for help.  No one expects you to do it alone.

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