Are you holding back from opening up your own business? Are you missing out from the freedom that becoming a lifestyle business offers?
You’re not alone.
I read an article today that defined the four top fears that hold women back as:
1. Women fear failure more than men do
2. Women worry that they aren’t capable enough
3. Women hesitate to launch without having all questions answered
4. Women fear they can’t juggle it all
Have you ever experienced one of these fears as you’ve contemplated your own future? Yep, me too.
Yet what pushed me forward was wanting the outcome a whole lot more than I allowed any of these fears to take hold. Still, even as I was growing my first business from zero to the six figure level, these fears continued to pop up again and again.
Do I think they will ever completely go away? Nope. But I have found ways to control the fears enough to allow you to do what you truly have the desire to do. You can learn how to do it too. Here’s how I squash these fears.
Fear Of Failure
I had already grown my first business to success. I was pulling in more than $250k a year. But things were changing in the industry, and I wasn’t satisfied with all we were doing. I wanted more.
So I started reading books and growing my idea bank. It was the early 2000s, and the Internet was still in its infancy, growing at a very quick pace. I knew more than the average person when it came to online marketing, and I was convinced I could start up a business and become one of the experts in the industry.
I signed up for a coaching program and started mapping out my plans. I was working with a top name in the industry, and as a part of my program, I had a weekly session with one of his assistants. I called in for my weekly call, and without warning, she pushed a button that hadn’t been pushed in quite awhile.
“What are you doing, you can’t do that? It’s not an original idea. It’ll never work.”
Yes, I had a coach that stopped me in my tracks, put the brakes on full force, and messed with my vision more than you can imagine.
There were many reasons she did what she did. And I found out later that some of them were personal based – she was doing something very similar to what I was planning. Did she feel threatened? Maybe. But in any case, her strong language, her lecture on all the reasons I shouldn’t be moving forward took hold.
No, I didn’t stay with that coach after that conversation; why would you pay for someone that didn’t align with your beliefs? But instead of ignoring her ideas and criticisms, blocking it out as someone who simply didn’t have my best interests at heart, I took her advice instead.
Maybe I really wasn’t good enough to do what I wanted to do. Maybe I didn’t have the right experience, the right tools. Maybe my ideas would fail as badly as what this “coach” told me they would do.
Days, weeks, months went by where I sat around believing I didn’t have what it takes to grow the kind of business I desired. I believed if I pushed forward with my plans, I would fail. So I chose to do nothing instead.
Because doing nothing is easier. It doesn’t hurt as bad when you find out the naysayers were right. Failure hurts in some cases a lot more than the anticipation of what success can truly bring. Especially when you’re already in good position in your life. Why take the chance?
Fear Of Not Being Capable
Which lead to the belief that I simply wasn’t capable of doing what I dreamed of doing.
When my first business was growing by leaps and bounds, it was the mid to late 1990s. We found phenomenal success in the online world, so we put all of our marketing efforts into online marketing. We built a website with 20,000 images on it, signed up for ads and banner placements on startup sites like TheKnot.
Yet that much marketing took time away from what I truly wanted to do. I knew how to do it, I just didn’t want to spend all my hours doing it.
So eventually I got a brilliant idea that hiring an online marketing company would be in my best interest. So I went on the hunt. Keep in mind this was the late 1990s.
I found someone who promised he could deliver. He had several staff members and knew exactly what to do. So I trusted him and dropped a few thousand dollars his way.
He talked the talk. But he didn’t have a clue what to do. As he made mistake after mistake, I found myself having to pick up the pieces, educate his staff on what to do, and provide him with an education based on what I had already had in place.
He took that information and within a couple of years, built a multi-million dollar company that still operates today.
He never feared he didn’t have the right abilities to build the business he desired. He didn’t listen to the people that doubted his capabilities. He relied on others when he had questions. And he never let go of the target, which was the business he truly desired.
We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have the things we know and the things yet to learn.
When I have times in my life even today where I doubt my own capabilities, I always think back to that story.
My natural tendencies are to keep working until I’m an expert, and only then am I comfortable releasing my ideas to the world. What I learned from working with “John” was to keep the eye on the prize – your true goal – and realize the rest of the stuff can be learned along the way.
Your capability comes from knowing you can deliver what you promise, and you’ll do whatever it takes to see it through. Proficiency can be learned through trial and error. Its perfecting the process along the way that matters most.
Fear Of Launching Too Soon
Have you ever had the desire to write a book? Have you read how easy it is to self-publish, so you think you’ll give it a try … after your book is written?
How long did it take you to finish it? (Or if you’re like most people, is it still sitting deep inside your computer, waiting for the day?)
For my first book, I took a different path. When I was at a convention, speaking on marketing, a small publisher who specialized in business books approached me and asked me if I would be interested in publishing a book. Publishing was on my bucket list; I said yes. We drew up a contract, put a date on the calendar, and the work began.
The funny thing is when a date is on the calendar, and you have someone else making contact with you to keep you on track, the work gets done. I didn’t have a choice. No matter how good or bad I thought the final manuscript was, I had to release it to him on a specified date.
There’s something to be said about choosing a date and sticking with it. If you sit around waiting for all of your I’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, your entire life can pass you by.
I read a book by Michael Masterson a few years back titled Ready, Fire, Aim. It’s a great book, one that I still reread from time to time. But even if you don’t read it, you can still gain a lot simply from the title.
You see, we’re taught as kids that its important to find the thing you most want; hone your sights and your skills solely on that one target, and only when you’re truly comfortable with the potential outcome should you squeeze the trigger and actually go after it in full force. Ready, Aim, Fire.
But the concept in the book Ready, Fire, Aim, teaches you that’s completely the wrong approach, especially in today’s fast paced world.
There is no such thing as an original idea. Everything has been thought of before. Yes, everyone has the capability to add their own spin to it, to change it in such a way to make it uniquely their own. But how many people thought “I wish there was a way to connect with people at other colleges that have my same interest” before Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook? I’m willing to bet quite a few.
The difference is Mark did it. He moved forward, took action on his idea, and created something huge.
When you’re ready, take action on your idea and build it up to an acceptable level.
Then fire it out into community. Launch it.
Because even when something is launched, there are always ways to make it better/cheaper/more successful/… Because in reality everything we do is only at 80 percent of our capacity. With different things in place, we can always improve it over time.
If you play the piano, you wouldn’t argue that you are better today than you were a year ago, providing you practice regularly.
If you are a writer, you wouldn’t argue that your writing is stronger and more succinct than it was last year if you write every day.
That’s the way we work. We get better simply by taking action. Hence the concept of Ready, Fire, Aim.
Launch it today, whatever your idea is. See if it works. See if people are interested. See what needs to be tweaked. Than launch it again. Rinse. Repeat. Forever and ever.
Fear Of Doing It All
Which brings us to the fear of not being able to keep up with it all.
Guys don’t get the concept of work/life balance in quite the manner as us gals.
When I was developing my first online product, I worked hand in hand with a top Internet marketer who showed me the ropes. “When you’re coming to the end, sometimes you have to put in 24, even 48 hours or more straight to get through to the launch. Whatever it takes.”
Yeah right. Who’s going to pick up my daughter and bring her to soccer practice? Who’s going to take my mom to her doctor’s appointment? (And that’s not even including all the other questions I had, such as who will make dinner, who will pick up the dry cleaning, who will clean the bathtub, yadda yadda. You get it, right?)
Guys just do work. That’s what they do. And everything else falls into line. Maybe its because they don’t worry as much about the details, and that’s all we do. But there is no way I could have ever spent 24 hours on a project without worrying about my daughter, my mom, my house, my dog, dinner, etc.
No matter how much desire I had for opening up my own business, no matter how much I wanted the success of branding myself and my product line, my personal life means just as much to me as those desires. I’m not willing to give one up to have the other. If they can’t be built together, one of them has to go.
Here’s the thing; opening up your own business doesn’t have to interrupt your work/life balance process. In fact, it can improve it tenfold.
Having a job means you have some place to be 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. If you have a lifestyle business, you can choose to work when is most convenient for you.
Today I’m up at 5:30, meditating, doing yoga, and working on my writing. I work for a few hours; I spend time walking and having meals with my family. I’ve scheduled meetings in the wee hours of the morning to coach people from half way around the world. I’ve spoken with people late at night, again to help people in a different time zone from where I currently reside. My time. My choice. That’s the beauty of it. It works for me. Its how I choose to work.
In many cases women don’t move forward with their dreams of opening up a business simply because they feel it will take time away from the personal side of who they are, when in reality just the opposite is what truly happens.
Opening up your own business is what gives you freedom to do what you choose to do; be who you want to be.
Fears can be worked through and pushed out of the way once you realize why they are holding you back. Stand up. Take notice. Then push through and persevere.
Just think how amazing life could be.
What’s holding you back? What if you could open up the business of your dreams … this year? What’s holding you back?