How to Overcome Fear of Failure in Your Digital Agency

May 15, 2023

Launching a digital agency is majorly exciting, but there’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with the decision. Finding the motivation to keep going is tough, especially when you’re constantly hearing about closed businesses or failed launches. It’s enough to scare anyone out of entrepreneurship! You need to know how to overcome fear of failure to reach your goals, go after dream opportunities, and build the life and agency you want. 

How to Overcome Fear of Failure in Your Digital Agency 

You can’t run a successful business with fear in the driver’s seat! Letting fear take over just leads to an unfulfilling career. If you’re ready to learn how to overcome fear of failure, here are six of my best strategies for moving past fear and anxiety to get your entrepreneurial journey back on track.  

Remember that Failure Is a Part of Entrepreneurship (and Growth!) 

Every digital agency owner has at least some fear of failure when they get into entrepreneurship. And every digital agency owner will experience failure at some point! You’re never alone in your failures, struggles, or setbacks — no one is 100% successful right out of the gate. 

Falling down and getting back up again is how you overcome fear of failure. And it’s how you grow and become a better entrepreneur and stronger agency owner. 

My family recently went on a ski trip and my son, who has some learning differences, was NOT into it. He was intrigued by the idea of skiing, but when it came time to try, he was a total no. But I showed him that everyone falls and has to try again, and that’s just part of being successful at skiing. 

Once he knew that, he was more comfortable with falling and was willing to try. And he did it! He pizza-wedged his way down the slope and we were so proud of him! 

Put the Focus Back on Your Goals 

As you’re learning how to overcome fear of failure, your goals and your vision for your life and agency are there to guide you through your setbacks. When you’re behaving and making decisions that are in alignment with your goals, you know you’re making progress despite failures. Plus, failure can be a necessary part of reaching your goals: you’ll know what doesn’t work for your journey and can proceed accordingly. 

Letting go of your fear of failure is easier with your goals motivating you. You’re working toward something that excites you and inspires you — why would you ever let fear hold you back from achieving your dreams?! Sure, you may experience obstacles along the way, but failure is not your destination. You have the motivation you need to keep going, push past fear, and work hard until you succeed

Shift Your Mindset About Failure 

When you’re afraid of failing, it’s easy to take on an all-or-nothing mentality: either you fail and give up or you succeed and celebrate. But that’s not conducive to the success of your agency at all. This sort of thinking paves the way for fear to win and for you to choose the easy way out when faced with obstacles. You won’t go after opportunities with your dream clients or take on massive projects that could really move the needle for your business

The first part of stepping out of this mindset and learning how to overcome fear of failure is to reframe your idea of success. Think about what success means to you, both on a large and small scale. Of course, you want to succeed at your big agency goals, but you’ll have small wins along the way that deserve celebration, too.

What matters most is that you always try to do better than the day before, regardless of what setbacks you’re experiencing. Failure doesn’t seem so all-or-nothing when you focus on the little victories along the way!

Push Through Discomfort 

When things get hard in your agency and you’re faced with a major setback, you have to push through discomfort and get to the other side of the crisis. You might have to start from square one and do things again with some tweaks, but that’s okay! It’s all part of the process — the grit, persistence, and determination it takes to push through that first setback will make all your future failures easier to overcome. 

It’s like how my son felt on our family ski trip: he never wants to be uncomfortable or try something that doesn’t come to him naturally, but doing so is part of how to overcome fear of failure. I encouraged him to try anyway and it was honestly a breakthrough moment for him (proud mom over here!!). Once he succeeded, he had the proof that on the other side of discomfort was success — and he enjoyed it so much that he wanted to go down the slopes again and again!

Deflecting and rejecting out of fear of failure closes you off from possibilities and new opportunities. You have to push through the bad to get to the good.

Know that You Are Not Your Failures 

Repeat after me: my failures do not define me. Now say it again! One setback does NOT make you a terrible entrepreneur, brand you as a failure, or mean you’re destined to close your business. Putting your failures under a microscope doesn’t do you any good as you learn how to overcome fear of failure. 

It’s important to love your business and do work that resonates with you and lights you up, but you cannot equate your self-worth with the success of your agency. This sets you up for low confidence levels and a negative outlook on your value as an agency owner. 

When you experience a failure or setback, don’t give into the instinct to immediately label yourself as a failure. Instead, remind yourself of all the good you’ve done so far. Did you have any small wins in the process, like learning a new bit of info, making a new media contact, or improving a client relationship? Have you had any wins with other clients or landed a new client for your agency? Celebrate yourself for what you’ve achieved (because you have achieved a lot!) and remember that you are far more than your fears and failures.

Be Patient and Learn from Your Mistakes

Some things just take time. Your digital agency wasn’t built in a day, was it? You need to be patient as you work toward your goals and as you learn how to overcome fear of failure. It’s all a part of the process and sometimes multiple failures are necessary to get the results you want. 

Give yourself the runway you need to complete a project, setbacks and all, and don’t put extra pressure on yourself with unrealistic timelines and expectations. Just know you’re on the right path and that slow and steady does win the race.

Your mistakes and failures are always learning experiences that will benefit you and your agency in the long run. When you hit a roadblock, take the time to reflect on why you’ve found yourself there and what you can do to prevent this from happening again. Then, instead of letting fear hold you back from pursuing this opportunity, use that knowledge to change your action plan or tweak your strategies to do better moving forward. 

This is what my son did as he was skiing on our family trip. Every time he fell (after overcoming his fear of failure, of course), he learned from it and changed his strategy for the next go around. And, with a bit of patience, he was eventually able to ski his way down the bunny slope! 

Fear keeps tons of would-be entrepreneurs from chasing their dreams, but you won’t be one of them! Once you know how to overcome fear of failure, you’ll be able to confidently and boldly go after your goals and start building your dream agency and life.