Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Fear #8 of entrepreneurship

One last fear to conclude this series: "People will laugh at my idea."

Acceptance. Appreciation. Someone who "gets it." We all crave this. Erma Bombeck famously said, "It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else." And sharing our business ideas with others means sharing our dreams with them. It's a scary proposition.

Consider this: About 10 years ago a couple of guys named Larry and Sergey wanted to start an Internet search company called "Google". You think people didn't laugh at that idea? The name, the proposition, the lack of business experience of the founders. While very smart guys, we had no reason to think that 10 years ago they would transform our lives to the extent that they have. Let's consider each of the fears I've laid out over the last 8 days in turn as it relates to Google:

"I won't make enough money." Really? I'm sure Google started out small. Now, the founders are two of the wealthiest people on the planet.

"No one will want the product of service my company produces." Today, Google is so widely used that it's become a verb in the American lexicon.

"I'll fail." Perhaps, but look at the upside. The Google founders kicked around ideas, some successful, some not so successful, as they learned the tricks of the trade of entrepreneurship. You can, too.

"Someone will steal my idea." Go right ahead. There are plenty of other search engines, email services, on-line cloud computing applications that existed before and were created after Google. No matter. Google is still at the top of their game, and improving all the time, even though other people stole their idea.

"I don't have enough time." Start small. Build up from zero. With each extra bit, you'll leverage what you learn, and figure out how to work smarter. Googlers did, and still do.

"Everything that goes wrong will be my fault." Google screws up all of the time. They invent some applications that don't work so great. So they ditch them and try something else. Don't let set-backs get you down. Use them to learn, grow, and move on.

"Starting my own business will be lonely." The founders of Google can't get people to leave them alone. I'm sure they'd do just about anything for a moment of peace and quiet. And I'm sure they won't get one any time soon.

"People will laugh at my idea." Can you imagine a funnier name for a company than "Google"? It reminds me of those weird little eye balls you find in craft stores. It wasn't even a word 10 years ago. Now, you can't go anywhere on the planet without people recognizing the name and fun, colorful logo. So let people laugh - just don't let that laughter chase away your dream.

"Well," you might say, "Google is an exception to the rule." Maybe. But consider that Larry and Sergey weren't in any better shape 10 or 15 years ago than you are today. They weren't famous or fabulously wealthy. They were very smart, normal people in graduate school. They had an idea and they worked like heck to make it a reality. No magic. Just dedication to an idea and very hard work. They aren't any different than you or I, except that they could put aside all of their fears and began. Let's take their lead and do the same.

The image above can be found at:


Laura Cococcia said...

This is such a great series! I feel like printing it out and making it into a mini-book (or you should!) :)

I left you a little award on my site. :)

Christa said...

Thanks, Laura! It was a fun series and it really helped me to put aside my fears about starting a business. Now, it's full-steam ahead. :)