Fear. It’s not a word often associated with small business ownership. Perhaps it should be.
What stopped you from beginning a business when you first got that inkling you could be bigger and better than your regular 9 – 5 grind?
What got in your way for all that time you told yourself you couldn’t up your prices to charge what you really needed to in order to create a thriving business?
What sat on your chest during the period you really wanted to submit your piece to a magazine, or reach out to a powerful company and offer a collaboration idea, or contact a prospective client and tell them that you have exactly what they need?
Here’s a doozy – Why did you say “yes” to a client, customer or situation when you knew deep in your belly you should be saying “HELL no!”?
I work with a lot of women. I know how we do business. I could place a fairly well educated bet on the fact that the underlying emotion at the base of those decisions was fear.
So often we are scared to go out there and ask for what we want. It doesn’t matter if we do it because it’s how we were raised, or if it’s a habit that’s crept in over time, or it’s something new that being in business has brought to the table… the fact has to be; fear can’t win.
Fear. Can’t. Win.
Honestly, ask yourself. What are you scared of?
Well, someone might say “No”.
Yes, that’s fairly likely. When you change the goal posts: you increase your prices or create firm boundaries or put a new idea out into the world, chances are not everyone will like it.
So, now you know. Someone might knock you back. And… that’s about the worst thing that can happen.
Unless, of course, your even bigger fear is that you might fly.
What if you took your business and life by the horns and went out and asked for what you want? What if you made it happen for yourself?
What if you were successful?
For a lot of women, the risk of success can be as awesomely scary as the risk of rejection. Just think on that for a second. What a terrible, terrible waste we are creating in a life that could be abundant, calm, balanced and fun.
I’m setting you a challenge. It sounds a little like a sporting goods ad, but let’s ignore that for a second (because they’re clever, these marketing guys, they know how to hit us in the heart). I’m also running the risk of sounding a little over-the-top life coach here, but I’m willing to forgive myself that too.
Feel that fear. Do it anyway.
Here’s the thing: small business ownership is terrifying. If you’re not taking risks, putting yourself in situations that don’t feel immediately comfortable for the benefit of your growth and holding yourself accountable, chances are you’re not going much of anywhere. You’re going to feel petrified. You may as well make it count for something.
I’m going to hold your hand through some steps, because I am pretty sure you can do them.
The world isn’t going to implode if you ask it for something. Figure out what your worst case scenario is. You can probably live with it. Then, take a deep breath and…
Ask for help. Make that first step. Get in contact with someone you want to work with. Hit send on that email. Put forward a proposal. Launch yourself at your goal.
Sweat, if you have to.
So, you’ve put yourself out there. Now you’re sweating it. That’s OK! Feel that pump in your heart and flicker of anticipation in your soul? That’s all of the possibilities of what you’ve just done whizzing through your being. Something’s going to happen.
This is tough for so many women. It’s OK to want things and it’s perfectly acceptable to aim higher and dream bigger. Let me say right here, it’s also perfect to have ‘small’ dreams. Not all of us want to run multimillion dollar companies. My process is simply to afford you to start moving towards the life YOU want, rather than the one your business currently keeps you in. What does your most successful version of yourself look like? Where do you live? Who has lunch with you? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Keep that business woman alive in your thoughts, you want to get close to her really soon.
With the understanding that life is mostly fairly balanced, you’ll probably fall as often as you fly. The most important thing is that you keep at it. Take on feedback and get advice, but do have another shot.
Finally, always ensure that whatever decision you make, from expansion to downsizing, make it from a place of power, not fear. Fear doesn’t win. Not in my world.