By Kevin Elliott

You’ve heard the stats like I have. Most new businesses fail. 

There is all manner of research and opinion as to why but, from my experience as an entrepreneur for more than 15 years, I think it’s because we business owners are impatient. 

It’s Okay to Be Scared

I’ve had two primary businesses in my life and I just started a third. I bought my first business from the founder. I ran it for five years but, ultimately, it failed. That’s a story for another time. 

I founded and ran my second business successfully for 10 years and closed it on my own terms. But I didn’t feel like I was running it successfully for about the first five years. 

For the first five years, I was scared every day. I felt incompetent and under qualified. I probably was. And then it happened. 

It was a regular work day. I was going about my business and had a sudden feeling of confidence (and competence) wash over me. It actually stopped me in my tracks. 

I remember thinking, “I feel like I’m good at running this business.” I had never felt that before. 

Competence Will Come

I’ve talked with other successful entrepreneurs and there seems to be something about the five year mark. It seems like, around that point, you get your feet under you and you’ve got it under control (as much as you’ll ever have in business, anyway). 

So if you’re reading this and your business is one or two or even three years old and you still can’t shake that incompetence feeling, give it some time. I bet it will come. 

My business partner and I started Wewa Films about six months ago. I do feel more confident than when I started my first business, but I still struggle with the fear of incompetence and failure. I’m trying to give myself time and be more patient. It will come for us, just like it will for you. 

Set a timer for five years. 

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