Let’s talk about fear.
One thing I remember from my Midnight Hustling days (not so very long ago) is being afraid. Afraid that by taking the next step, I’d be exposing myself to rejection. Afraid that if I actually got a client, I wouldn’t know what to do (this one likes to pop up even now, which is silly). Afraid after hitting the “send” button to an e-decorating client that they would hate all my ideas, demand a refund, and tell the whole internet how much I sucked (this never happened).
I looked forward to a time when I would be confident in my abilities to run a business, to please a client, and to network with others. You know, when I was finally a full-time entrepreneur.
Maybe you’ve looked forward to the same thing. Ready for the fear to end and the confidence to begin. Maybe being afraid is keeping you from taking action and, like me for many months, hope that researching and reading will help ease your fear so that you can take action.
The fear doesn’t go away.
Not right away anyway. I was lucky to tackle some of my fears of rejection and bad performance while I was still working the day job. I’d gotten to a point of no return – I knew I couldn’t stay how I was, and the main things in my way were money and fear. Money was easy to come up with a solution for (save, don’t spend any “extra” money). And once I recognized that it was fear standing in my way, I had one of those “screw it!” moments, booked a photographer for my house, and submitted the pictures to Design*Sponge.
Guess what, they were rejected. And it didn’t kill me! Sure, I was disappointed, but all this time I’d been afraid of being rejected, and when it happened…. well, nothing HAPPENED. Instead, I submitted to Apartment Therapy. And when I didn’t hear back, I submitted to Desire to Inspire, who posted them, and caused a huge spike in my traffic and several guest posting and interview opportunities. Apartment Therapy ended up posting them the following week, and a month later I was on again with a full house tour.
With full-time entrepreneurship comes new fears. Money becomes a more legitimate fear. Stress on relationships. Most other fears boil down to those two.
No one will want to hire me.
Am I being selfish by not having a REAL job?
No one wants a designer without a degree.
I’m home all day, I should be keeping the house sparkling clean.
I want to work with other creatives, but they’ll think my ideas are stupid.
Does my spouse/partner secretly resent me?
In regards to relationships, I only know that Ryan has given me no reason whatsoever to think that he resents me or thinks I’m wasting my time. He was unhappy when I was unhappy at my job, and having that weight lifted has been great. My stressing about the housekeeping, not so great. But we’re learning to adjust to our new routine and he has been extremely supportive. Not all partners will be. But that’s probably something you’d know before taking this leap.
In regards to money, I’ve decided to tackle individual fears head on, otherwise they’ll continue to come around to pounce. No one will want to hire me is something that I’m addressing with my web redesign (rescheduled to launch next week). Potential clients need to find a reason to hire me, and only I can provide that reason. I’m sure that once I have a more steady stream of clients the fear will be that I’m doing something wrong or they won’t like this pillow, or what if her husband secretly hates yellow and I just ordered a yellow chaise without knowing. And the only thing that will solve that is preparation and flexibility.
I just wanted to share that even though things have been going well, and I’ve had great opportunities and made amazing connections in the last four weeks, I’m still scared that it’s all going to come crashing down around me. That part hasn’t gone away. What has gone away is the opportunity to let fear dictate what I do. There is no “I’m afraid, so I won’t do that.” It becomes, “I’m afraid, but dammit, I’m going to make this business work.” And I do it anyway.
Let’s hear from you. What are you afraid of?