Overcoming the Fear of Starting an Independent Advisory Firm

With October being Women’s Small Business Month (WSBM), we couldn’t help but feel inspired by these stats:

  • An average of 1,821 new women-owned businesses opened every day in 2018.
  • Women-owned businesses grew in number by 58% over the last 10 years — a full five times faster than the average growth rate in the U.S.
  • Globally, 2018 continued a decade-long trend of narrowing the gap between male and female entrepreneurs — an improvement of a whopping 36% over the last 10 years.
  • Women of color opened 78% of new women-owned businesses.
  • After a banner 2018, women of color now make up 47% of all female founders.
  • In total, there are more than 5.8 million businesses owned by women of color. They employ 2.23 million people and yield $386.6 billion in revenue.

As USA Today columnist Rhonda Abrams writes in this article, “Women business owners will save America.”

Yet, despite these encouraging statistics, many women are still hesitant to start their own companies.

Over the years, we have heard so many female financial planners say how they’d like to start their own firm, only to qualify that statement with, “But I could never do it.” And when we ask them what’s holding them back, it always boils down to one thing: fear. The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of being judged, the fear of not being taken seriously…

These fears are warranted, but as two entrepreneurs who are still standing after founding our own companies, we’d like to say that it’s worth it, and you can do it. Forbes listed four great ways on how to handle this well-justified fear:

1. Accept that it’s okay to have a reasonable amount of fear.

Bear with us for a second. It may seem nonsensical, but fear — fear of failure, the fear of irrelevance, or the fear of simply not fulfilling your dreams — is an important motivator. In the words of Liz Elting, a prominent entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist: “These are healthy fears that encourage both responsibility and risk-taking, keeping you perpetually on your toes instead of getting complacent or resting on your laurels.” The right kind and amount of fear can inspire you to find new opportunities, seek out new strategies, and keep striving for more.

2. Know what to expect.

Yes, you’ve heard those Cinderella stories of young businesses that transform into overnight successes. But the reality is that most successful firms take time to grow. Having a clear and realistic idea of what your first five years will look like will help you be more efficient and productive, and be more satisfied with the amount of work you accomplish. Having a realistic vision will also help you avoid burnout, which can be the biggest barrier to growth for new entrepreneurs.

3. Set goals for today and tomorrow.

Establish daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for your business and give yourself tangible, achievable steps. There are a wide variety of goal-setting frameworks that can help you with this exercise; Elting recommends the SMART Goals framework, which ensures your goals conform to a rigorous set of criteria (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). Don’t fall into the trap of letting your future dreams and ambitions drive your decisions without any sense of balance or a path to making your vision a reality.

4. Find your tribe.

You can avoid or manage stress overload by making sure you have a network of colleagues, centers of influence (COIs), friends, and family you can connect with and turn to when the going gets tough (and when things are going well!).

Equita provides a supportive network for female financial planners.

The conversations that we have had with smart, ambitious, yet (rightfully so) cautious businesswomen are part of the reason why we founded Equita Financial Network.

We went through the same challenges and faced the same doubts. But we knew the positives — being our own boss, having a flexible schedule, pursuing our passion, having more control over our future career, and charging what we’re worth (the top five reasons women start their own business) — outweighed the fears.

We founded Equita Financial Network in 2018 because we wanted to create a supportive network for female financial advisors so they could get the outsourced resources, framework, and connections needed to branch out on their own.

If you’re interested in joining our network, contact us today.

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