Starting Your Own Business: What’s Holding You Back?

At some point during their time living abroad, many expats think of starting their own businesses. They may have given up a great job to join their partner but now can’t find the right job in the new location; they may be in a job but simply don’t like it; or have mislaid their professional purpose in life and want to find it again. Whatever the reason, setting up their own business is the way forward – yet, however much they know they WANT it, they just never take action to DO it.

Does that sound like you? Well, you’re not alone….. Even when you know that you want to set up your own business and that now is the time to take the plunge – to step out of the shadows or out of that rut in your career –  the idea of actually making that change can seem overwhelming or confusing.

Here are seven common reasons why people don’t take action to start their own business:

Reason 1: They have no idea what business to start. Choosing what type of business to create can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have several great ideas and you’re not sure which one to pick.

Reason 2: They are worried that they cannot make a sufficient or consistent income. It’s natural to be concerned, especially before you get started, about whether your fantastic business idea has a market, will actually attract customers and make the money you want to make.

Reason 3: They have developed a great product but it’s not 100% ready yet. Taking the view that your product or service isn’t completely perfect or quite good enough yet is a common reason for stalling. That feeling of not being good enough can be debilitating and will hold you back.

Reason 4: They assume they don’t have the skills to make the business work. Very often, going into business on your own will involve learning different knowledge and skills such as marketing, selling or using technology. Most people setting up a new business will find themselves in exactly that position too and it’s no surprise that the unknown can seem a bit daunting at the outset.

Reason 5: They are held back by what other people think. If you have an apparently “steady” job, good income or pension provision, other people may caution you not to take – what they perceive to be – the risks of setting up a business. This is a typical reaction which is all about wanting to protect you from the possible – not inevitable – downsides.

Reason 6: They are caught up in a comfort zone which seems difficult to get out of. Retreating into or staying in your comfort zone will make you feel good, safe and “at home” with what’s familiar. Its normal to want to go there, instead of stretching into the new zones of growth and discovery which setting up a new business is likely to require.

Reason 7: They are constrained by self-limiting beliefs and fears. Much of what holds you back will be underpinned by fears: what if I’m no good at this? what if I fail? what if I don’t enjoy it?! Fear is a strong emotion which many – if not all – people who decide to set up a business will face at some time or other.

Whatever you may be feeling about developing and launching your own business is absolutely legitimate and typical – other people are out there, right now, struggling with very similar issues. Whatever may be holding you back is what is holding them back too.

And whatever you are trying to deal with has definitely been overcome by somebody else who can help you – there’s plenty of advice out there from people who have been in a place just like you are now. They worked through it and so can you.

Partner with a mentor, coach or someone in your field who can support you through the ups, downs, and joyful experience of setting up your own business.