Some of the biggest hurdles in an entrepreneur’s journey are the internal struggles we face. There can be a never ending battle with little nagging thoughts like:
- I’m not an expert
- Other people have already done this before, and I’m not better than them
- There’s too much competition already
- My idea isn’t good enough
- It’s not perfect
- People are already giving this same thing away for free
And this can lead to other thoughts like:
- I’m not ready yet
- I don’t know “how” to sell it, produce it, get it to market
- I told a friend about it, and she told me all those things I was scared of already. It must be true.
- I can’t do this
- I should just get a ‘real job’
It’s no wonder so many businesses fail in the first year. This internal chatter can really get you down after a while. But it doesn’t have to be this way – not all of the time anyway.
This can especially be true when you’re running your business online. With so much information readily at your fingertips, it’s easy to believe it’s all been done before. It’s easy to believe there is simply too much competition. Especially when you’re immersed in the industry yourself! Every day you receive messages in your inbox from “the guru’s” in your field. It can seem like everyone on the planet already knows about this topic.
But it’s simply not true!
In fact, just last week I wrote to a girlfriend who is going away on a 3 month adventure in Europe. I wrote her a note in Facebook and said, “Where can I follow you? Can you point me to your blog? And is it set up to support you financially on your trip?” I was so excited for her.
And she responded, “I don’t know how to answer that. I’m not even sure I know what a blog is.”
She’s smart, well-educated and has been on Facebook for 4 years. But a blog wasn’t something she’s ever needed in her life. So I gave her a quick overview and sent her big virtual hugs. I wish we’d had a chat 2 months before she left though.
I just “assumed” everyone knew about blogging, and being able to generate an income online. I was wrong. And in this case I may have been able to help a friend live a more comfortable life on her journey.
Asking for advice from people who aren’t in your target market
I do this far too often. I ask friends and family, “What do you think of this idea?” And they really don’t know the answer. And when I run into doubt and confusion, I sometimes consider abandoning the project. It feeds into my fear that it’s “not good enough”.
Especially when I’m launching a product and teaching a program that truly draws in the “free crowd”. I often hear, “I can just get this information anywhere for free”, and “Would you ever use a product if it cost money?” (The answer to both is YES. To the 2nd, “of course I pay for things. I’m just aware of what’s available at a low cost and reinvest my revenue wisely in other things”)
Instead of listening to the voices of resistance, in this case I reminded myself that what I’m really teaching is not about being cheap, taking shortcuts or doing a shoddy job. It’s about opening our eyes to what’s already available to make our lives easier, while building a profitable business.
Isn’t that the goal after all? Running a business with a healthy profit margin?
There are plenty of ways you can be:
- Fully supported in your business (even without spending a lot of money)
- Quickly test the market to see if your business idea is profitable, and then move forward
- Make wise decisions with your startup capital (even if those startup funds are only $100)
That nagging voice - Doubt
Self doubt is the number one killer of entrepreneurial success (at least in my world). When doubt creeps in, it can suck all the fun out of my new ideas. It can ultimately freeze a whole profitable project in its tracks.
And it can sneak up at the most unexpected times. Sometimes it happens before I’ve shared my idea with anyone. Other times, people are already clamoring to buy my product and/or service and I freeze. I begin to wonder if what I originally offered, I can actually deliver. What if it’s not as good as “the next guy”, or even what the customer hoped for?
Doubt can keep me in paralysis for years – going back to my safety net and doing work I’m “good at”. But continuously listening to doubt – year after year – can lead to permanent disability. You may one day wake up after seeing endless ‘carcasses of unfinished ideas’, and decide to never ever try again.
That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’ve seen it happen. And I think this really surprises some of my family members who have seen all of my “half starts”.
It reminds me of this house we went to in Manitoba with literally thousands of life sized sculptures in the yard. The owner was an amazing artist. As a teenager, this was the closest I’d ever been to a replica of Michelangelo’s David.
There were hundreds of unfinished (and not perfect) sculptures abandoned.
And the oddest thing to me was this. This 85 year old man was obviously doing this his entire life, and it seemed to me that NO one knew.
He had statues in his front garden (well, everywhere – it was a mess), and people who drove past daily would have known. But the people who would have loved to own his work? How would they find him? A simple phone listing was all he had. Word of mouth, I suppose. He was broke and died that way.
Because of this old man’s story, and the passion of some of my entrepreneurial family members, I remind myself to keep moving forward, even when I’m terrified of rejection and failure.
Fear of Failure
Okay, fear of failure. This is also a myth.
Failure is good. Unless you hold onto something with a death grip & go down like a sinking ship of course.
Having a project fail is a good thing. It means you tried (yes, and failed) but you tried. How many others can say the same thing? Celebrate your success.
Before the sting has gone away, sit down and write yourself a long letter. Let it all pour out, until your fingers are exhausted, the tears have all been shed and there is nothing left to say. Sit back and you’ll find a bit more. Go on, and get it all out. The anger, frustration, “I wish I had done it this way – All of it.
This stuff is going to help you next time. And not only that! It’s going to also help someone else, if you’ll allow it.
Yes, everyone needs to make their own mistakes, but some can be avoided by listening and learning from other people who are slightly ahead of me on my path.
I’m not an expert! Ha!
Of course you are! Just because you don’t have ALL the answers, or haven’t made your millions (or billions – or maybe even $20K this year) does NOT mean your skill set is any less valuable. There are people out there who need to hear your unique voice, experience or problem solving solution. Maybe it’s in the form of a product you created. They might be right where you were last year, or 5 years ago. And you could save them years of heartache by sharing what you’ve learned while walking down the entrepreneurial road.
You are an expert
You do NOT need to take another course
Or buy another book
Participate in another group program
before making this sale
You already have everything you need to launch
You already know everything you need to know
sometimes you just need to remember
And if joining a mastermind, group coaching program, or paying a mentor or guide will help you remember, then go for it.
But do not say to yourself. “I will offer my product/service to the world after I learn this/finish this course.”
5 things you can do to move past your hurdles
1. Courage to do it
You are ready to do this with the current skill set you have right now. This is the perfect time.
It’s the perfect time to help someone who is just a few steps behind you. Step out in faith – the path is there.
2. Ask for help.
There are people all around you who can help with those little things that may have kept you frozen in time. Maybe it’s a technical issue (“I’m technically challenge – how could I possibly hold a webinar?”) or maybe it’s related to money (“I need money to create a prototype, or hire a designer to make the perfect website). But remember, if you’re asking friends and family for advice on your next project, don’t take their response to heart. Listen to your market for this type of advice.
3. Take Imperfect Action
Perfect is another conversation I’m passionate about, but I’ll just quickly say this. Being perfect is a myth. Taking imperfect action will move you forward like nothing else. Take a risk, test the market, see what people really want, and “perfect” things as you go along.
4. Focus on your #1 most profitable idea
Examine what you’re working on in business right now. Ask yourself where you’re spending the most time and also where the money is coming from in the easiest way. Focus on creating more of this “easy flowing money”. Stick with this project, finish it, sell a few copies and then be open to change. You can always perfect it later.
5. And have fun!
Most of us got into business to have more freedom and enjoy life. If you’re not already taking time to have fun, make the time. It’s not proven science, but stories are told over and over again of money being made right after, or during some kind of completely fun event that had absolutely nothing to do with working in, or on, your business. Give it a try! Go have fun.
About the Author
Loralee Hutton writes about creating profitable dream businesses. As a laptop entrepreneur she has built a support team, systems and structure that give her the freedom to live the dream of “working from anywhere”. She’s the author of the ebook, “How I run my online business for $30/month” and hosts mastermind programs to help others run profitable dream businesses of their own. Find out more at www.loraleehutton.com
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