Get Out of Your Head. How Small Business Owners Can Overcome Fear during COVID-19

by Edgar R. Olivo

Fear plays a major role in our psychology; it helps us avoid danger and keeps us safe. However, it is also one of the major factors that can hold us back from moving forward. Add to the fire the uncertainties of a pandemic and fear can become compounded with more anxiety.

How does fear hold a small business owner back? It can stop you from making an important change and taking on a risk to grow your business. Good news — fear can be leveraged to push you toward a new level. In fact, 91% of our fears do not even come true!

The truth is, we need to be in uncomfortable situations to uncover areas for growth. Our fear of failure, exploring the unknown, saying no, being wrong or losing money can all be situations to learn from. You just have to be willing and unafraid to lean in on what is causing your anxiety. Think back to a time when you were so afraid of doing something, like starting your own business: How did you feel then? How did you feel after you made the decision? How do you feel now? Those are the questions you need to explore, and, once you do, a truth about yourself that needs further exploration will start to be revealed.

Here is another awesome truth: You can achieve anything you set your mind to!

In business, things will not always work out as you planned, and that is okay. There are many scary situations small business owners face that would cause fear in anyone, such as losing money, missing out on a special family or friend event, or even embarrassing yourself to a client. It is all still going to be okay. The key is to lean in and learn.

Yes, all those things can happen. There is always risk in chasing your dreams. But you can do a lot before you give in to fear. Here are five simple strategies to help you overcome fear and develop a stronger sense of what you are feeling.

  1. Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, especially when you have explored all your own resources. Giving up is not an option when you know how to ask for help. Be open to new ideas and challenge your own ideas with an outside perspective.
  2. Learn and read more. Many times, I have found that the fear of the unknown can be resolved simply by learning or reading more about a subject that I am anxious about. Spend time reading entrepreneur blogs, or articles like this one, to get new ideas and join a virtual meetup to listen to how other business owners overcome obstacles.
  3. Surround yourself by positive influences. You know the old saying, you are the average of the five closest people around you. Think about how the closest people around you feed your energy. How do you feed theirs? Be intentional about who you want around you and who you are willing to invest energy with. It may sound cliché, but the people around you have a lot to do with how you may be feeling about your fear. Choose wisely.
  4. Take care of your mind and body by meditating, exercising, resting and eating healthy. Your body is your main vehicle to drive your business to success. Make sure you are doing everything possible to give your mind and body a shot at performing at its best. Sometimes a drink of water can help relieve your anxiety headaches and stepping away from the desk for a walk can help you straighten out your thoughts.
  5. Be friendly to yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Be gentle with yourself when you make a mistake. Show love to your thoughts when you find yourself going down a rabbit hole of negativity. Ask yourself, “Is this anxiety from something real or am I making this up?” Write down all the amazing things you want to accomplish and go achieve them — because you deserve them!

Your worries and reality are two very different things. Remember, you started your business for a reason. Go back to that reason, explore it and see if it has evolved. It is perfectly healthy to reflect on why you do what you do. Running a business is a marathon, not a race. Take it day by day.

If you are interested in joining our entrepreneur group to learn more, sign up for our bi-weekly Business Energizers! We discuss strategies, goals, and resources in a virtual mastermind setting. The Business Energizers are held every other Monday from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. You can register for free by visiting

EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.

Para la versión en inglés de este artículo, haga clic aquí.…ante-el-covid-19

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