A friend recently told me that she and her family are moving to Maine. Coming from Washington, DC this will be quite a change in climate, culture and space. They have been talking about making such a big move for years. Circumstances turned their way. They finally overcame their fears and “bought the ticket”. (In this case, it was more like quit their jobs, sold their home and registered at a new school.)
The phrase “just buy the ticket” or “just get on the plane” has been passed around for generations. And its true. What they really mean is to overcome your fear and just get started.
This is the fastest way to accomplish any goal.
Write the blog post. Open the shop. Add a shopping cart to an online store. Sell your creative line on the wholesale market.
No matter what, just taking that first step towards your dreams brings you one step closer to accomplishing them.
Unfortunately, many of us face a fear of starting our own creative business. We talk a lot about being our own boss, selling our creative works and finding clients to coach.
But in the end we worry and don’t actually take any steps forward.
Many are concerned about not building an audience, making the first sale and creating a sustainable business that will support them financially in the future.
I joke now that the only reason I was able to start my creative business was because I had just brought a newborn home.
I was delirious from lack of sleep. Otherwise, if I had really thought through what I was trying to do, I probably would have quit immediately.
I lacked so much confidence in my design work at the time that I started the business selling party supplies. I created combinations of cupcake liners that looked pretty, a few paper lanterns in my favorite colors and tissue poms that were inexpensive to ship.
Nothing really original.
Eventually, after designing invitations for some local events, I overcame my fear of starting a creative business. You know, one where I was actually a part of the creative process.
I opened my own Etsy shop and filled it with my own creative designs. But, truthfully, I never expected them to sell.
After a couple of months, my Etsy shop took off. It was as if my customers were in need of what I designed and I was there to provide it to them.
Today, I actually don’t sell any more of the party supplies. My whole business is built on my original creative words that I am inspired to create and love to make.
If I only had the confidence to overcome my fear of starting a business from the beginning, I might have gotten an even better start.
When talking to other would-be entrepreneur moms, the fear of getting started is the one reason they don’t take any action in the first place.
It is easier to not do anything, than to start doing something. Especially, when there are a million other distractions around us.
So, how can you overcome your fear of starting a business and actually open your own Etsy shop or other online business?
Here are a few ideas for getting over your hang ups and taking a few steps forward today.
Be Aware of your Fears
Before you can move past your fears, you need to be aware of them. For me, my fear was that people would make fun of my creative designs. I had no problem selling something that was manufactured by someone else, but if I created it myself, it would be mocked.
Figure out what fears are keeping you from starting your creative business.
Is it finding time, seed money, disappointing someone? Whatever your fears are, write them down. This will help you be more aware of them and make them easier to conquer.
Play the What’s the Worst Thing that Could Happen Game?
This is one of my favorite things to do when I am too scared to do something. I ask myself what the worst thing that could happen would be.
For example, if you start an Etsy shop and nobody buys anything, you might be out $.20. (Except if you sign up for your free 40 listings here. Then, you might not be out anything.)
Ask yourself “What’s the Worst Thing that Could Happen” if you tackle your fear. Write down the answer and see if the result is really that bad. It might help you move forward if you realize that there wasn’t much to be afraid of in the first place.
Find a Mentor
Starting a business can be a lonely journey if you aren’t careful. Finding a mentor – either in person or online – can be quite helpful.
When I started my stationery shop, a fellow blogger reached out offering some marketing opportunities. She then gave me some wonderful feedback about my shop. It was so nice to hear from someone else in the industry about how to move forward.
You can find a mentor locally using a mom’s entrepreneur group or the small business non-profit Score. Finding an online mentor might be a bit easier based on your location and the amount of time you have.
Check out Facebook Groups in your business field or start making connections with others in your industry. These mentor relationships are priceless to calm your fears and provide advice.
Take the First Step and See What Happens
If you are trying to start a creative business, the first step might be setting up a shop. Put up a handful of listings (you really only need one) in your shop.
Share an announcement on social media and invite your friends to check out your shop (if this is even too bold of a step, you can specify on Facebook the friends circles you would like to announce to).
Then, sit back and see what happens. At least you got started. The next step – growing – takes longer, but it’s a lot easier once you’ve begun.
Watch an Empowering Movie or Read an Inspirational Book
Whenever I’d feel like I couldn’t do something as I was getting started, I watched the film Julie and Julia. The reminder of Julia Child’s story of overcoming odds to become one of the greatest chefs in history truly inspires me.
It makes me forget my fears – especially after the French cooking instructor makes fun of her during her finals. Boy, did she eat crow when Julia Child published her cookbook. It always makes me remember that you can accomplish anything no matter who stands in your way.
Make Achievable Goals
When writing your goals, make sure that you can actually achieve them. If they’re not something that you can actually achieve, then you will probably just become frustrated and quit.
Make sure that you choose goals that you can actually accomplish.
For example, if you can’t imagine starting a shop right now, it might be better to just develop a stellar product line and hone your business skills.
Write down your goals and think about the steps you need to get there.
If they are not steps that you can take today, then create a goal to accomplish those steps first. And remember – a mountain isn’t climbed in a day. It can take years to build a successful shop. Each day is just one more step forward.
Develop Mantras that Build You Up
In the stress of the every day life, we can forget how awesome we really are.
Find a mantra, quote or other saying that speaks to you. Frame a print of it in your office, display it on your favorite mug and repeat it when you feel overwhelmed and too fearful to move forward.
Repeating your mantra gives you the strength to be amazing. It also helps boost your confidence. It’s amazing how much saying your favorite phrase can invigorate you to finally move forward.
Create a Plan that Makes Sense
Sometimes creating a plan to get started can make you feel like you can accomplish any goal. Writing down the exact steps to achieving your goal can be helpful.
Instead of making a broad goal, write out the step by step plan to achieving it. Make sure the order of the steps make sense.
For example, if your goal is to open an Etsy shop, don’t have yourself making your first sale before you add listings or products to your shop. Each step should seamlessly follow the previous one.
When writing your plan, put little check boxes next to each step (even Evernote let’s you do this these days). After you accomplish each goal, check it off. Soon you will start seeing the finish line getting closer and the process will feel less scary.
Accomplish other Goals that Scare You
What else scares you in life? Maybe it is scaling a mountain, running a marathon or trying a food that you could never imagine eating.
Tackle that goal first before starting on your creative business goals. By accomplishing another life goal, it will show you that you can overcome things and help get over the fear of starting a business.
Starting on your own business journey is a big step. You might spend years dreaming about it, only to be overcome by fear when your day to begin finally arrives.
Overcoming your fear to start a business will take some work. Just keep in mind one of my favorite quotes by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
The business world is meant to be a bit scary and uncertain. If it wasn’t than everyone would jump on board. Don’t let those fears dissuade you from starting. Instead, let them empower you and make you braver.