I recently stumbled onto an interesting Forbes article titled, “FOMO May Be A True Liability for Millennial Entrepreneurs. It highlighted why millennials tend to struggle with focus during their entrepreneurial journey. And while the article cited research on this phenomenon largely occurring with millennials, in my experience entrepreneur FOMO occurs often with entrepreneurs of all ages.
What is FOMO?
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is defined as “a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or an opportunity” according to Dictionary.com.
So what does it look like when an entrepreneur is struggling with FOMO?
Essentially FOMO afflicts entrepreneurs when they struggle to focus their attention, energy, efforts and resources on their main business or line of business. Entrepreneurs with FOMO are easily distracted by every “opportunity” that comes their way. They have a tendency to feel that more is better and have a difficult time prioritizing.
What causes Entrepreneur FOMO?
Fear is the driving factor behind entrepreneurial FOMO. While by definition FOMO is the fear of missing out, we can break that down into the following more specific fears entrepreneurs often battle.
- Fear of failure
- Fear of missing an opportunity
- Fear of not keeping up with competitors
- Fear of commitment
- Fear of saying no
Align with those fears, here’s other reasons this phenomenon can occur:
- Too many options
- Overwhelming access to information
- Deceptive data (ie social media likes, etc)
- Promotion of side hustle culture
- Glorification of diversifying your income streams
How FOMO hurts
While FOMO can give entrepreneurs the fire they need to take risks and start businesses, the dark side is their lack of focus often leads to businesses quickly failing. FOMO causes entrepreneurs to lose focus of their objectives, goals and priorities. They see everything as equally valuable and worthy of their attention. This often occurs with new entrepreneurs because it takes time to hone your discernment and know what to say ‘no’ to.
FOMO makes the entrepreneur think more equals better. And as a result, they take on more than they can handle and things spiral out of control. Whether “more” means more likes on social media, offering more products, marketing on more platforms, the truth is more isn’t always better. In fact, the “less but better” approach typically leads to more success.
Combating Entrepreneur FOMO
Overcoming entrepreneurial FOMO isn’t easy, but it can be done.
When you reduce distractions and focus on your number one objective, the likelihood of your success dramatically increases. This is why I always encourage entrepreneurs to stop trying to do all the things when it comes to all aspects of business.
So here are some tips on how to combat FOMO:
Sit down and analyze where you’re at personally and professionally and where you want to be. Then pick the one thing you could change that would create the biggest impact and go after it 100%!
We’ve been lied to that the hustle culture is the only way to success. While you do need some hustle and grit as a business owner, you also need downtime. You need quiet time to power down your brain. This will actually lead to better ideas and creativity.
Just say No
Saying no isn’t easy, but it can change your life and your business. Remember when you say ‘yes’ to something, you are saying ‘no’ to something else. Success comes from being really good at knowing what to say no to and the most successful people say no more than they say yes. You need to say no to a bunch of good ideas, so you can focus on the truly great ones!
You can do this
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to fall into the FOMO trap, especially these days with social media and being constantly inundated with content, gurus and ideas. But FOMO, can be the demise of your business.
Use the tips above to identify the thing that is most worthy of your attention and go for it.
Oh and I highly recommend the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown if you’re interested in learning more about how to leverage the ‘less but better’ approach in your life and business.
We’re here to help!
Building that discernment muscle takes practice and when you’re a new entrepreneur you likely will struggle with what to say yes and no to. That’s where we can help! Book a free business coaching session and we can help you work through some of your business decisions so you can feel focused and confident!