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Finding the courage to fight crippling fear

By Kagure Gacheche | March 3rd 2015

MY TIP FOR entrepreneurs is: Befriend fear. It may sound ridiculous on the surface of it, but those of you in business will immediately relate with the sentiment.

Fear is a constant companion in the entrepreneurial journey. You’re afraid of failure, proving right the people who doubted your idea, taking a risk that sinks you, letting a great opportunity pass you by, and the list goes on. And by the way, success does not stop the fear; in my experience, it magnifies it.

Here’s the thing I’ve learnt in my six years in business: It’s OK to make mistakes. You’re not perfect, and no one expects you to be. Don’t hold yourself to an impossibly high standard because you will keep only to the straight and narrow path, never venturing out to see what else awaits you.

Befriend fear. So what if an opportunity passes you by, believe me, there will be other equally good or even better ones down the road. Don’t let the little mistakes throw you off.

Take risks; some will pay off, some won’t – every successful entrepreneur has had his or her upheavals and been made stronger and more resilient as a result.

 Unparalleled opportunity

Failure offers you an unparalleled opportunity to find out what does not work and to perfect that which does.

For instance, my biggest fear has been pumping money into something that does not bring returns. I know there’s money to be made in transport, but how to get to it is a puzzle I’m still trying to figure out.

My venture into the sector started out with trying to restore wrecked cars and selling them at a profit. This failed and cost me close to Sh400,000. I then tried car hire, which started out well, but soon set me back Sh80,000 in repairs.

Now I know I need to first identify a reputable garage and parts importer if I hope to get back into vehicle salvage; or a rock-solid contract and tracking system to make a success of car hire.

If I were afraid, I’d throw in the towel on transport. But I refuse to live my life without the satisfaction of finding my space in this sector — perhaps it’s more about ego than fighting crippling fear? Well, whatever the case, if I keep at it, I’m sure I’ll find my success just like so many before me have.

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