By Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker

You can’t wait to start your own business. Yet, fear of failure continues to hold you back from venturing out on your own. You are frustrated, and you wonder, “When will I have the courage to start up?”

I had these same startup goals, and I experienced these same concerns. I wanted to buy a Startup Success Insurance Policy, but it did not seem to exist. I realized that I would have to face my fears, look into the abyss, and take the risk to start up. In a world constantly seeking certainty, that can be a daunting experience. It is no wonder so many people do not take the plunge.


Targeting Fear of Failure

Over the past couple of years, while writing our upcoming book, The Purpose Is Profit, we targeted fear of failure and its debilitating impact on entrepreneurship as one of the major themes. Why do some entrepreneurs succeed, while others fail or never start up at all? Our initial thoughts centered on the obvious tangible factors:

  • Is it a good business idea? Are customers enthused? Have you secured pre-orders?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of how you will make a profit?
  • Do you understand how much funding it would take to reach breakeven?
  • Do you have strong business partners to work with in the trenches?

You really do need solid answers to these questions to fortify your launch, but you also need The Big 3 to ensure your success.


The Big 3

The more I have reflected on my own success, the more I’ve realized the less obvious intangible factors have been equally important. I call these critical intangibles The Big 3, or your Startup Success Insurance Policy.

  1. Do you have a strong support system?
  2. Are you willing to sacrifice?
  3. Do you have a powerful work ethic?


#1 – Your Support System

A strong support system means your significant other is equally committed to your business vision. This takes time and in-depth discussion to figure out. If your partner is pressing you to spend time together away from the business, you may have the prescription for failure. A business is like a child that needs constant love, nurturing and time. It usually takes total focus to make a business successful – particularly in the first few years.

My wife, Barbara, was born on a farm in Arkansas. Her father ran a truck stop before he became a farmer. There were no frills and constantly working to make ends meet was the norm. Barbara understood my need to focus on building the business from the get-go. She never pressed me to come home, and always understood when I was away.


#2 – Sacrifice

A willingness to sacrifice means that you will give up things that you like the most in exchange for ensuring the realization of your business vision. This sounds easy on the surface, but long-term sacrifice is painful and giving up creature comforts is hard to do – especially when it involves your significant other. Sacrificing for business success can be the equivalent of going on a multi-year diet. It is not easy, but the rewards can be great.

Barbara and I had been saving to buy a home. We needed more space for our two young children. Instead, we agreed to take the down payment and invest it in the business. In so doing, we moved our family of four out of a rental home with three bedrooms and into a rental cottage that was half the size with two bedrooms. We called it the house behind the house. We lived there for four years during the liftoff phase.


#3 – Work Ethic

A powerful work ethic means you are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed – even literally working past midnight 7 days a week. Are you willing to push down expenses by sharing everything, including hotel rooms? Are you willing to fly to meet with customers and suppliers on a moment’s notice only to take a red-eye home and go straight into the office and work past midnight to get the proposal out? My business partners and I prided ourselves on out-working, out-thinking, and out-innovating the competition. Early on, we knew that maintaining our first-mover advantage hinged on our work ethic.


Startup Success Insurance

So why do I call The Big 3 your Startup Success Insurance Policy? Armed with a strong support system, a willingness to sacrifice, and a powerful work ethic, you can practically eliminate the fear of failure. You know that you can overcome almost any obstacle by adjusting your business idea, business model, funding needs, and resource requirements. You just know that you will succeed no matter what it takes.

Our book, The Purpose Is Profit, focuses on truth, knowledge, and process to minimize the fear of failure and its debilitating impact on entrepreneurship. Additionally, to demystify the startup process, we have written The Startup Roadmap as a standalone manual and step-by-step guide for startup success. You can receive you free eCopy of the PreRelease Snapshot of The Purpose Is Profit, which includes The Startup Roadmap, by going to our website: I welcome your thoughts! You can email me directly at: 

Ed McLaughlin is currently co-writing the book, The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business with Wyn Lydecker and Paul McLaughlin.

Copyright © 2015 by Ed McLaughlin All rights reserved.