Has anyone asked you yet why you haven’t exited your business? Maybe you had some great sound bites in response. Clichés like “I’m in this for the long haul,” or “I want to leave a lasting impact.” These are honorable reasons to be sure. Because who can fault a Business Owner for wanting to “see this through until the end?” But behind the noise, behind the excuses, the message you’re really sending is “I’m afraid.”
Fear holds us back. For some, fear prevents them from ever starting a business in the first place. For others, fear stops them in their tracks when it’s time to exit their business. Today let’s look at three of the most common fears and how to confront them. Conquer your fear, and start living your real dreams.
Fear Of Feeling Useless
For many Business Owners, the prospect of not working is downright scary. For so long, your entire world revolved around work. Your business is your life. (Here’s why you don’t want that.) Maybe you don’t feel like you have a sense of identity without your business.
Ask anyone who has ever been through a layoff, and they’ll tell you something remarkably similar. To suddenly stop feeling like you have purpose, and that you’re contributing to society in a meaningful way, can be jarring. In fact, many people who stop working feel useless.
When you feel the fear of uselessness creeping in, making you catch your breath and contemplate a canyon of unstructured time, stop. Remind yourself why you undertook the journey to Financial Freedom in the first place. What were your goals? Your hopes? Your dreams?
Start integrating some of these activities into your everyday schedule to help you combat your fear. If you wanted to volunteer more, start with one day a week at an organization you support. As you transition out of your business, increase this time. Perhaps you wanted to travel more. Book a few short weekend trips to give yourself a taste of what lies ahead. You’ll soon find out you’re greatly needed and not as useless as you thought.
Fear Of Letting Go
When it comes time to exit a business, many owners just can’t seem to walk away. You might agree initially to stay on part-time to help with the transition. But then you never leave. Slowly, your hours creep up as you stay to lend a hand, or just come by to check on day-to-day operations. In this case, you passed on the business in name only. The staff—and maybe even the new owners—feel like you never left.
In this situation, you’re afraid to take the advice of a certain Disney princess and “Let It Go.” Maybe you’re afraid to truly hand the reins over to the new owner. Because you’ve invested so much of yourself in the business you simply can’t imagine living without it.
Letting go is difficult. Hand over your business to another person isn’t easy. But this is vital to your Financial Freedom. It’s also why we emphasize having an exit plan in place from the very beginning of your business. A succession plan built with people you trust goes a long way to combating the fear of letting go.
Leaving your business is an emotional experience. If you’re struggling with this fear, consider hiring a business coach to walk with you through this transition. Coaches are invaluable, because they aren’t emotionally invested in your business. Their job is to help you get the best outcome for you and your family.
Fear Of The Unknown
Starting any new chapter in life is both exhilarating and terrifying. Because moving into an uncertain future is always uncomfortable. In this situation, you have fear of the unknown.
If you’ve gone through Cash Flow Cure, you’ve built a solid financial foundation, and either are or almost are Financially Free. You’ve planned out your exit strategy from the beginning. You know when it’s time to leave. And yet, you hesitate.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Fear of the Unkown often causes Business Owners to double-down and work even harder in their business. While this may be a temporary distraction to ward off fear, it will only bring trouble in the long run. So, what can you do?
Remember how we’ve been encouraging you to dream of what your ideal life is like? To plan out what your days, weeks and years would look like if you no longer had to work?
This is why.
Fear of the unknown is another area where a coach can help conquer your fear and work out a plan to fill your unstructured time. Your business coach can help you walk through not only your exit strategy, but also develop a plan for what comes next. Then you can focus on your upcoming adventures rather than letting fear hold you back.
Take a moment to ask yourself what fears are holding you back from exiting your business. Are you afraid to let go? Afraid of what’s next? Or perhaps you’re afraid of feeling useless.
Whatever your fear is, know that you’re not alone. Many other business owners have these same fears when the time comes to leave their business. The difference is how they handle that fear.
Choose to have courage, to look your fear in the face and implement the strategies above to help you live the life you want. Exiting a business doesn’t have to be terrifying or traumatic. But only if you take the action now to overcome your fears before they overwhelm you.
Dr. Tony is the co-founder of MindShift.money and the best-selling author of three books on personal and business finances. Having achieved Financial Freedom at 27, Dr. Tony believes that through Financially Fit Bootcamp and Cash Flow Cure everyone can get there. He has made it his life’s mission to help others live a life where their money works for them—not the other way around.