Often the biggest business growth and success comes from taking a calculated risk and then putting all your hard work and resources behind it. But the very nature of risk means there’s no guarantee, which is why many entrepreneurs—particularly women—tend to be risk averse.

Conquering this fear of risk can give women entrepreneurs the power to positively transform the world through business.

Reasons For Risk Aversion

It appears that women, more than men, struggle with different emotional aspects that prevent them from taking risks, particularly the fear of failure. This is because women tend to define themselves by what they achieve.

Some studies have shown that women don’t apply for business loans because they fear they’ll be turned down, not because they don’t or won’t qualify for the funds.

Arianna Huffington has described risk aversion as “the obnoxious roommate living in our head” who is constantly putting us down and doesn’t want us to fail in a business venture because we become identified with our failure.

Susan Clark Muntean, an assistant professor of management at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., told Entreprenuer.com that she feels the reasons are more cultural and institutional than biological. “Women have multiple barriers that need to be overcome,” she says. “These start all the way from childhood. We’re told to sit pretty and wear a princess dress.”

Whether these are the reasons, conquering this fear is a key step to success as an entrepreneur.

Tips To Overcome The Fear

In a recent article on Business.com, Pamela Barnes, CEO and president of Engender Health, is quoted as saying, “For all professionals, and especially young women, the world outside our comfort zone can be huge and scary. Until we are willing to put ourselves out there and take a risk, we will never able to achieve professional success and realize out potential.”

Here are some ways to move outside our comfort zone.

  • Do your research – Sometimes having good information can help you make the jump because there’s less likelihood of being blindsided by something.
  • Start Small – If something feels too big to tackle, break it down into smaller goals that you can successfully achieve. This will give you more confidence and make future risk-taking easier.
  • Connect With Other Risk-Takers – Anyone you know who is a risk taker is living proof that it’s worthwhile, even when you fail. These people can encourage and mentor you either directly or indirectly through books or articles.
  • Trust Your Gut – Put another way, don’t over-analyze. If you’ve gathered good information and have good people around you, then dive in and make adjustments as needed. The more quickly you move, the less likely fear will stop you.

Women entrepreneurs have so much to offer—whatever their business niche—and overcoming the fear of risk will enable more women to bravely start new businesses, go forward toward their goals, and make the world a better place.


Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net