How to Overcome Anxiety About Uncertain Income

Unfortunately, many people stay trapped in a job they hate because they are anxious about the uncertain income of self-employment.

Bank Building

I interviewed business owners about how they overcame this type of anxiety. Here are their best tips:

* We have been raised to believe that a paycheck and benefits provide safety. What I would tell them is – absolutely nothing is safe. I think many people overestimate job security. You just never know what the future holds – even the most seemingly ironclad job can evaporate given the right circumstances. In fact, if you are looking for more control and a career that is driven by your own hustle, there is no better path than venturing out on your own.

* Take out a pen and paper and write down everything you are excited about and everything you fear. Sometimes just the act of nailing down what it is that scares you minimizes it.

* Accept the fear and jump in, anyway. I have found that most of my achievements have been the direct result of feeling the fear and working through the obstacles.

* Have fun despite the uncertainty.

Chris Huntley, Owner, Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services

* Persist despite setbacks. After I was fired in 2008, I started a small apparel company for kids.

* Offer a great product or service because then you can envision a positive future for your business.

* Keep an emergency fund.

* Don’t just focus on the fearful part. Also enjoy the pleasure of seeing your business grow.

Lisa Chu, Owner, Black N Bianco Kids Apparel

* Consider keeping your full-time job while you build the business (I did this for for the first four years of my business).

* Balance exercising wisdom and having things in order with stepping out in faith. I know from experience that I waited too long to make the leap. I believe if you step out in faith, the bridge will appear.

* Save enough money to cover living expenses for one year.

* Take a look at the “Wheel of Misfortune” I created that explains common money issues that prevent financial success.

Tiffany Angeles, Money Coach for Entrepreneurs

* I have worked in real estate services for 37 years. There have been ups and downs but I have never been broke or bankrupt. I have been financially rich and poor and rich is better. I have had to reinvent my business a number of times. This often required letting go of a good business to have a better business.

* Not everyone is suited to deal with income uncertainty. I once worked with an emergency room nurse who tried to make a career change into real estate and she couldn’t deal with this specific type of stress, so she returned to medicine.

* Not everyone has the drive and motivation to be independent. Some people prefer a job where showing up 9-5 is all that is needed to be paid.

* Real estate has the advantage of having no ceiling on income; people with only a high school diploma can make more than a heart surgeon, but real estate also has the disadvantage of having no floor on income.

* When income is uncertain, it helps to focus on the tasks that will, if routinely followed, cause income to be earned. This is better than focusing on the money. When you focus on the money, it makes focusing on the task very difficult. Customers/clients can smell “commission breath.” Focus on doing a great job and doing the tasks necessary to earn income and you will.

Bruce Ailion, Realtor and Attorney, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

* Read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. In the book, he recommends that you think about what is worrying you and you prepare for it. When I quit my job to start my own business, I worried about being homeless. If I were homeless, I would live in my car and take showers at a homeless shelter. Even if my worst nightmare happened and I were homeless, I would be OK. I would be homeless only until I could land a new job.

* Another important thing is to get over being judged. To overcome embarrassment, I started telling everyone around me that I had quit my job, tried to start a business, and failed. I told them this before I ever quit my job. I wanted them to judge me. Doing this convinced me that I would be OK if I got judged, and it pushed me to start my business.

Andrew Reeves, Founder/CEO, Luxe Translation Services

* Have multiple businesses of different types so you will prosper when the economy is bad or good. Have high end and low end products in different markets. If you have multiple streams of income, when one goes down, you have others as a backup.

* Develop partnerships. I don’t have any employees but I have 24 distributors around the world selling my products. I also do freelance work. This diversifies my efforts and minimizes risk.

Julie Austin, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Author of The Money Garden: How to Plant the Seeds for a Lifetime of Income


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