You have this amazing business idea… or this inspiring start-up…
You’ve got some resources, tools, and you’re ready to make 2015 the BIGGEST year in business yet!
But something’s got you stalled… You’re not sure what it is or why you feel stuck but, on some level, it feels like for every step you take forward, you take two steps back… or you don’t take any steps at all.
The process of creating, building and growing a business is like conceiving a child: it takes time, effort, energy and A LOT of patience.
I’ve never been much of a gardener but the tomato plant example makes perfect sense to me:
When you plant a tomato in the ground, you don’t wake up the next day and run to the back yard expecting to see a ripe, red tomato. You don’t go to the garden day after day cursing the ground out, saying, “Where the heck’s my tomato?” No, you trust that the seed you planted, if properly nurtured and supported, will eventually grow ripe, red tomatoes. You know that they won’t look that way at first. You get that growing tomatoes takes time and track the growth, look out for progress and celebrate every sign of it. When a green stalk or leaf sprouts, you’re thrilled. When you see a tiny green tomato, you jump for joy and when the green tomatoes get bigger and turn red, you’re exhilarated.
That’s how we treat tomatoes… so why aren’t we taking the same approach to our businesses?
One answer: FEAR…
Fear is normal, natural, and bound to happen so you’re not going to read this article as a means of extinguishing fear.
Fear isn’t meant to be extinguished.
It’s mean to be understood.
What I am going to tell you are 3 things you aren’t doing in your business because of fear… and 3 steps you can take to stop allowing the fear to keep you (and your business stuck).
Here we go…
#1 Thing you aren’t doing in your business because of fear: Marketing Yourself
Oooh ooh ooh… I went to the big bad wolf first! When you are afraid of being seen, known, or judged, you play small in the world. Many of us have immense talents and gifts to share. It’s why we created a business. However, as soon as the web site is up and the blog is created, we start to become shy. It isn’t shyness ladies; it’s fear. We’re afraid that we’re not good enough, afraid that we’re really a dime-a-dozen, afraid that no one will buy OR that lots of people will buy and then will hate what we have to sell. No matter what the source of the fear, we play small in terms of marketing and promotion and then wonder why are businesses aren’t thriving. Look at some of the hot shots in your industry. The reason they’re at the top of their game is because they know three things that the fear of marketing yourself will keep you from believing:
1) They have something amazing to offer
2) People need what they have to offer
3) It would be an absolute disservice for them not to offer it
When you get clear on the above 3 principles, you start feeling less self-conscious and more service-focused.
Remember: Marketing involves sales but it also involves education and service.
If you don’t like being salesy, focus on the service and education part and put yourself out there…
#2 Thing you aren’t doing in your business because of fear: Getting Help
Let’s face it. Male entrepreneurs, in general, have a stronger and longer track record of delegating responsibilities, creating teams, and hiring help. For some reason, as women, we’re still living in the “I can do it all!” phase of life. It’s simply not true. If you’re going to grow your business by leaps and bounds, you need a team. Even in the very beginning phases of your business, if money will not allow for you to hire a personal assistant or a VA, you need to work with your family to delegate tasks like laundry, cooking, and cleaning to family members so you can concentrate and focus on your business. It comes down to being able to ask for help. If you don’t learn it early, your business won’t grow beyond a certain point. One person cannot do what an entire team can do in terms of business growth. You might be afraid to hire the wrong team or bring on the wrong people. Get over the fear: you WILL hire the wrong people… at first. You’re going to learn and, very quickly, you’ll hire better and you won’t have those support team issues. But, the fear need not be in asking for or receiving help. If you’re going to fear anything, fear all the business you’ll lose and all the people you’ll miss out helping if you DON’T get help.
#3 Thing you aren’t doing in your business because of fear: Focusing on One Product for the Year and Hustling to Sell It
Many entrepreneurs start out wanting to do ten thousand things at once: one-on-one coaching, a membership site, online classes, group coaching, live workshops. WAIT A MINUTE! There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week and Congress is not adding the 8th day any time soon. If the golden rule of business is to put WHOLE mind into PRESENT action, how can you possibly do that if you’re working on 10 products/services at once? You can’t. But, so many entrepreneurs want to differentiate themselves in the market by offering something to everyone… which leads to offering nothing of value to anyone who’ll be willing to pay attention. The fear of not being enough creeps into this situation without anyone even knowing it. When you feel the need to overproduce, it’s a way of overcompensating for weaknesses you think you have. It’s almost as if you’re saying to the world, “I know I’m not enough but if I give you this, this, and this, then maybe I will be!” It’s also a clear indicator that you don’t trust your gifts and you don’t trust the process of life.
For many people, the fear is also about putting too much faith in one product. “What if I spend my entire year on this one product and it doesn’t sell? I’ll have lost an entire year!” A- You won’t have lost an entire year. If you’re doing it right, you’ll have learned some AMAZING lessons that you then apply to the next product/service launch, B- If you created the product/service right, you didn’t create the product first. You created the overview of the product, marketed it to see if there was interest, sold it and THEN created the product. That way, you don’t waste time and energy on a product no one wants, and C- You have to start somewhere. Sam Walton filed bankruptcy numerous times before WalMart became WalMart. Failure is necessary to success. Embrace it and allow it to teach you what you need to know.
Until you release the fear of putting single-minded focus on one product for the year, you’ll never get to the place where you can hustle and flow in your business.
So now that you know the 3 things you aren’t doing in your business because of fear, what do you do about it?
Here are 3 steps you can take to stop allowing the fear to keep you (and your business stuck):
Step #1: Spend 10-15 minutes a day talking about how your business serves the world.
Whether you do this on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or in person with potential clients, get comfortable with talking about your business. You don’t have to do a sales pitch. Begin small by talking about how you created your business, why you started it, and what you offer to clients. Give away something of value to potential email subscribers. Get into the habit of giving away immense value for free and do it openly, completely, and time yourself at 10-15 minutes DAILY (that means 7 days a week). It will get easier as you build the habit but the first thing you’ve got to do is build the habit. Feel the fear and market yourself anyway!
Step #2: Delegate 3 tasks out of your hands.
Whether that’s laundry, cooking, or the cover for your eBook, talk to family, friends, or visit eLance.com and get some help. By the end of today, get 3 tasks out of your hands and into someone else’s lap.
Remember: the only way to do it is to do it!
Step #: Pick ONE product to promote, sell and work on in 2015 and do not focus on anything else until 1) you sell, create and deliver the product or 2) you figure out (after a MINIMUM of 3 months of marketing and sales) that it’s not a product that people really want.
Again, this is about persistence, consistency, and follow through. Decide the ONE product/service you are most passionate about and that you think people most need and offer it to your tribe. If you don’t have a tribe, spend 3 months building a tribe around this product. Do teleseminars, webinars, and offer free reports/audios/programs to potential email subscribers. Feel out the market for three months. If you find there’s a need and people have purchased (advanced purchase), create the product and continue marketing it for the year. If you find that there isn’t a need after three months, scrap the product and try something different.
The point is simple: Put yourself out there.
You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you challenge yourself to face your fear and go after what you want anyway!
If fear is something that’s keeping you stuck, grab my FREE audio power coaching program From the Fear of Failure to the Joy of Success in 3 Simple Steps…
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