I'm curious, what fears and anxieties did you have when starting your business? If you never had them, then you probably don't need to listen to this episode. These days, so many people are like, “I'm gonna have my own business, I'm gonna become an online entrepreneur.” It sounds super fun, super doable, you're going to be an online course creator, you're gonna make a ton of money, you'll be able to retire, all of the things. But it’s really easy to ignore the fact that there are some real fears and real anxieties that pop up as you begin to explore your own entrepreneurial adventure.
It's one thing to start dreaming big when you're working in a 9-to-5 corporate job that you hate. And you think, “If I had my own business, I could do things so much better.” You take the leap, you start your business, create the LLC, and all of a sudden you're putting yourself out there. And some really big things can come up.
What are those fears? What are those anxieties? What do you do when those pop up? How do you move past it
One of the things that came up for me when I started my business was, “What will others think of me.” Especially my former co-workers and colleagues? I was terrified.
We think that others are always thinking about us, but in reality, they aren’t. As Jasmine Star has said numerous times, I forget her exact words, but to the effect, “Becky from ninth grade isn't the one paying your bills. You are. So it doesn't matter what she thinks.” And it's true. It doesn't matter what the people in my old company think about me.
Guess what? I'm actually creating a life that I love. And I'm grateful for it.
The other thing that came up for me, especially because my number one strength is that I'm a Maximizer. I like to take things that are good and make them even better. Which means that when I'm starting something from scratch, it's extremely painful, because I'm like, “This is not at all what I had envisioned in my mind. It looks really, really bad.” And yet I have to start somewhere. The only way I can get better is by showing up and being like, “Hey, here's my third podcast episode and I know it can be better.” Maybe it isn't half bad, but I still have to put it out even though it isn't as good as I would like. And I have to be okay with that. That's hard.
It's especially hard when you no longer have a team working with you and for you. You can't go over to the marketing department and be like, “Hey, can you fix this font? Can you change this color? Can you create this graphic?” You're your own graphic design department. You're your own social media department. You're the janitor. You are the podcast host. You're the podcast editor. You are the strategy department. You're the R&D department. You’re all of the roles. And it's hard to fulfill the responsibilities of each of those job descriptions and to do a good job. Especially because we're not good at all of those things.
We have to learn a lot in order to start showing up and then eventually we get to the point where we make money and we can hire someone to help us out. It can be anxiety producing to be like, “This is not at all how I want to show up. This is not my dream for my business.”
But guess what? Ralph Lauren started out by selling ties out of his truck back in the 70s. I believe he sold ties, just ties out of a truck. And now of course, he's everywhere. And he doesn't just sell ties anymore. Every successful entrepreneur started out somewhere.
If you want to be an online entrepreneur, you're gonna have to start somewhere. And it's not going to look like how you envision.
You might also be asking yourself, “What if this doesn't work? And now I've told a whole bunch of people, “Hey, I'm starting a business.” And people are going to ask, “Hey, how's business going?” and you'll be like, “Oh actually I changed my mind” or, “It's not going as well as I thought it would” or, “I'm really struggling.”
You can’t have a business unless you start putting offers out there. You have to be willing to take a chance and say, “All right, let's see what happens.”
I was having a bad week a few weeks ago, and in my mastermind group, my coach asked me, “What would the parameters of the work that you're putting in versus the results? This is a long tail game. Put in the work now and it's going to pay off.” I had to be like, “Okay, I have to keep showing up because eventually it’s going to work if I do the things. If I adjust things as I go along, as I learn things. And you know what, I've already tried things that didn't work, but I realized that I wasn't interested in those things, like starting a lingerie business. Do you know how many people still ask me, “Hey, how's your bra making business?” And I have to say, “I'm not doing that anymore.”
I was really brave at putting in the time, money and effort to learn how to do that because I had always wanted to have a fashion business. And I learned that that wasn’t what I was good at. Okay, so I changed business ideas.
So in a way, me pursuing this coaching business. I’m finally doing the thing that I love, but I’m also growing a business from scratch and so that takes time.
One question I’ll ask myself when I don't want to do something is, “What’s the alternative?” I tell myself, “You don't have to do this, but what’s the alternative? If you don’t record a podcast episode, what's the alternative? What does that look like? If you don't create some graphics in order to market yourself, what’s the alternative? What's going to happen because you don't do that thing you don’t want to do?”
Basically my alternative is to get a job. And you know, that’d be a lot easier than sitting here in a closet recording a podcast episode, and hoping that people will like it. It's hard work showing up and putting yourself out there creating content and hoping that you help people. It's not for the faint of heart. But, it’s a dream of mine.
I've had a dream of owning my own business since I was in my early 20s. I don't have to pursue that dream. I can give up on it. But if I give up on it, what’s the alternative? For me, the alternative for me is that I’d be looking for a job. So I’ll ask myself that question when I’m wondering, “Why am I doing this?”
I'm doing this because I know I'm smart enough and capable. I know I can help people, and I want to do it. And I want to get past this growing initial stage of starting a business.
If you’re needing to remind yourself when you have fears and anxieties, my encouragement is to ask yourself, “What's the alternative? I don't have to do this. But if I'm not going to do this, what’s the alternative?” And then answer that question.
And keep in mind, fears and anxieties come up, because you're literally stepping out into the unknown. You're literally changing your life by pursuing your business dream, and it might fail. And fears pop up because they’re trying to protect you.
And I think that's great. If you were going to jump off a bridge fears are going to pop up to say, “If we jump off this bridge, something really bad is going to happen.” But if you face your fear and ask, “What is this fear? What is it telling me? Is it valid or not? Is this a real fear? Do I need to pay attention to it? Or is it just trying to protect me and I know that I'm making the right decision right now?”
Another way of looking at fear, is that you can ask, “What would I do if this fear happened? What would happen if this fear actually came true?”
For me, if I start a business and I end up not making money for years and years and years, what would I do? Well, I’d take everything that I learned about starting a business and about coaching and I’d go get a job, I’m a desirable candidate for a job. So, that's the worst that could happen to me if my business isn't a success.
So two questions:
What's the alternative?
What would you do if that fear happened?
If you’re an online entrepreneur, and you’re struggling with overwhelm, consistency, wondering what value you provide, I'd love to talk to you.
Click here to schedule a free virtual meet ‘n greet. I’d be honored to hear what your online entrepreneurial dreams are and what you're interested in doing to help the world become a better place.