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Crippling fear of failure and how to overcome it

(59 Posts)
LargeLatte Wed 20-Mar-13 10:05:54

It's really bad. If I even do volunteer work I spend about the next 48 hours replaying stuff in my mind analysing if I did something wrong.

I earn a good part time income running my own websites. The money comes from advertising / commission so there is very little interaction with other people or evaluation of my work.

I have been asked on a number of occassions if I would take on some online marketing freelance work. And every time I have chickened out, even though it would pay well and help smooth out the seasonality of my current income.

I feel to scared to even set up my own site explaining what freelance work I can do in case someone I know finds it and laughs about it / confronts me that I am not good enough to do that work.

I really want to get over this because it is holding me back from being my true self, damaging my earning potential and is a pretty terrible example to be setting my children.

But how?

StyleManual Tue 26-Mar-13 09:35:45

Lots of useful and inspiring articles here for us budding business women!

LargeLatte Tue 26-Mar-13 10:36:14

OOoh thanks Style 'it wasn't crap' - words I shall hold dear to my heart forever grin.

Really useful feedback, thanks. I have been doing this so long that I assume everyone knows what I do, and that I have nothing to share. So it's great to get feedback on what needs clarifying. I think maybe a jumbo glossary would help? Better to link out to wikipedia's explanation, or to write my own explanation do you think?

LargeLatte Tue 26-Mar-13 10:36:33

And thanks for the link.

StyleManual Tue 26-Mar-13 14:08:18

Oh sorry, I hope I didn't offend you. I was just being lighthearted!

For me personally thinking about getting a website, it would be useful to have a numpty's guide where you explain in your own friendly style what everything is. For example, I wanted to know what a domain name was, where you get one and what it does. Then I need to know what web hosting is, what does it cost etc, then what if I want an e-mail linked to my domain thingy? How does that work? Who do I pay. And web design? How does that work, do I do it myself, or if I paid someone what would I get for my money etc. But I deffo think if you write it yourself it will be nice and simple for a numpty like me. And I can't be the only one!

I have found it hard to find that info online - probably because a lot of sites expect you to know how it works already.

I don't know if that's the route you want to go down, but when I read your site I felt like that was the next thing I wanted to read!

StyleManual Tue 26-Mar-13 14:15:07

I had a look at that book "The Secret Thoughts of Successful women"
This passage at the start jumped out at me as it just sums me up!

Take the Quiz
• Do you chalk your success up to luck, timing, or computer error?
• Do you believe “If I can do it, anybody can”?
• Do you agonize over the smallest flaws in your work?
• Are you crushed by even constructive criticism, seeing it as evidence of your ineptness?
• When you do succeed, do you secretly feel like you fooled them again?
• Do you worry that it’s a matter of time before you’re “found out”?

I even went off and had a look at some of my work that I had filed away as failures. Basically, for my work I sometimes have to do a test to get agency work. I had filed these tests away and the other day when I was feeling down I said to my DH that I had never passed 1 of these tests. When I looked back though I had actually passed 5 and failed 1. I had an excuse for why I had passed the 5 (the agency have low standards, they were desperate etc), so I had only remembered the 1 I failed.

I might be seeing the light, that I am not, in fact, an impostor!

LargeLatte Tue 26-Mar-13 14:44:00

No you didn't offend me - it made me happy. And your feedback is very useful.

It's so hard to put myself into the mindset of not knowing what this stuff means, but I agree with you that there is a market for it. When I was researching my own site almost all the sites I read were written by young, over confident, men and the language was tech-loaded.

I am helping a friend who is a tradesman get set up with an online presence, which is what made me think about starting the site. I don't want people like him going off to big brands (like a yellow coloured busness directory) who offer to take care of it all for you, then produce a mediocre site for a huge amount of money.

I might have to put you on speed dial so I can run pages past you as soon as I've written them.

I've only read the first couple of chapters of the book as I found it a bit heavy going, and it didn't take me long to just realize I needed to pull myself together and get on with it.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 26-Mar-13 16:48:38

I think I may need to join in!

I am in the early stages of launching my business but I have suddenly got cold feet and stopped doing anything! I put myself out there, told all friends and family what I am doing, and... Nothing.
Well, one enquiry, no paid work whatsoever.

It's knocked the wind out of my sails and I don't know where to go from here, and I'm having major self doubt!!

LargeLatte and StyleManual it's good to see that you are offering support and encouragement to each other - this is what I love about MN!

LargeLatte Tue 26-Mar-13 16:57:52

Tell us more AlwaysOneMissing, or PM me with more details. I love dishing out marketing advice for small businesses.

I am in love with StyleManual who has inspired me to write a crazy guide to the Internet. I feel so energized today. There are so many guides to online marketing available but nothing as approachable, basic and friendly as I am hoping to produce.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 26-Mar-13 17:18:34

Latte I am trying to establish myself on social networking sites. I have created a Facebook business page, a twitter account, but I have no idea how to actually market myself! I come to write an update, and have a mental block! I have read that posts with pictures generate most interest, but as I am offering a service, not selling actual products, there are not a lot of pictures I can think of using!
And as for twitter.. Well, I haven't a clue grin

I just don't know how to get people to know I exist. I don't have the budget to hire someone to do it for me, so I feel a bit stuck.

And the lack of interest has really disheartened me and is making me avoid the business altogether (not good!!)

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 26-Mar-13 17:21:00

I must add that I have no child are for my preschool DC and have about 3-4 hours per week to actually focus on my business (when the DC are in bed and all jobs are done round the house), so the lack of time is a big factor in me not moving forward.

LargeLatte Tue 26-Mar-13 19:57:14

Hi Always. I have been where you are now. My dc were 2 and 3 years old when I left my job and became self-employed. It was hard going because by the time I got any peace to work I was too tired to do it. But you are doing a great thing by starting out now because by the time they start school you will really know your apples and be able make the most of your new child-free time.

I'd really love to help you, and I'll shoot you a PM with my website and email details.

Looks like we have a nice little club going on here.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 26-Mar-13 20:27:08

This thread is very inspiring & exciting. I am living through you all!

Largelatte read this blog post. You could turn your guide into a paid for ebook!

It is such a simple story, he saw a gap in the market (using somebody else's product but which worked with his line of service) and produced an ebook, set it up as a download and then sold it at an affordable price and it was downloaded 10,000 times!!!!!!!!!!!!!! £££££ I bought it, as I love Get Things Done and it was fine for the money but I don't think it took him very long!

Or at least ensure you gain people's contact details in return for downloading it on your site. I saw this interesting article this am about email overlays increasing sign up on your site - maybe an overlay which offers your download.

Alwaysonemissing I think you need to do 4 things: (^she says not knowing your area of work^)

1) Have a presence on social media so that you raise your profile, help you find "your people" and to give you a footprint when people look you up/google you.

2) Do some direct marketing. Writing a blog etc is important, but you need to get that blog in front of people in order to help convert them into customers. I would try contacting people via LinkedIn or send an e-shot etc.

3) Be realistic about what time you have. What out of all the business development activities are going to help you the most?

Not completely the same but this time last year I did some thinking (with support from my MN buddy - who also does marketing - who I met on this board) and decided to start a monthly e-newsletter as I felt I needed to be more proactive and also to blog moreso. It means I religiously write 4 articles a month which I upload onto my blog and push out through my e-newsletter. My blog is now nice and full - which helps if people look me up - and I have a developed a bit of a following/reputation.

4) Network if you can get out to meetings. Could you do evenings? If you have a niche, are there events where your audience will be? Online is great, but getting out is the key. It can also provide blog content I find and it makes you look interesting hmm & successful on social media!

Re social media content. I have personally found that sharing content is just as important (and is easier!) than crafting your own. You need to think of what your potential customers would be interested in and share links on that. Sign up to relevant e-newsletters/blogs/search twitter etc.

You could also schedule tweets/updates using either or, both offer free versions. Social media does work best when it is obviously a human doing it, but you can easily share scheduled updates linking to content of others, it can be a quick way to establish a social media presence esp during the times you cannot be at your desk.

It is very difficult trying to establish a business with such little time. If you really cannot gain any more time that 3/4 hours I would focus on 2 and contact people directly.

Anyway, sorry for hijacking! Hope I am not teaching grandmother to suck eggs or being patronising etc.

Good luck!

LargeLatte Tue 26-Mar-13 20:54:09

Not hijacking at all - very useful stuff.

Just clicked on your link and the 10k ebook guy users the same website theme provider as I do so he must have great taste.

Will do that reading now while I wait (hopefully) for the dc to fall asleep.

StyleManual Wed 27-Mar-13 13:54:02

Just checking in to say hello. Today I have bought a domain name. My lovely BIL is going to design my site, which has saved me some hassle! I am currently feeling shy about getting in touch with him though, as I think he might think my domain name is stupid. <punches self>

I have downloaded a form to apply for membership to a professional body. But now I'm feeling too shy to ask a previous employer for a reference <punches self>

And I haven't had any paid work for a week now. Great stuff. <Repeats mantra - I am a strong and capable woman...>

LargeLatte Wed 27-Mar-13 14:43:42

Well the last problem isn't going to resolve until you sort out the first two. Think about all the potential clients you aren't helping while you are busy procrastinating about the site and membership. They NEED you so get on with it grin

StyleManual Thu 28-Mar-13 08:37:04

Thanks, I needed a kick up the bum! I now have my e-mail set up and site will follow shortly, hopefully. I e-mailed about the reference and ended up getting a day's work on the back of it. I must have reminded them I exist! Busy day ahead!

LargeLatte Thu 28-Mar-13 09:40:11

All you had to do was drop them an email and you got a days work!!!

Don't just mention that casually under your breath - that's worth shouting about. Well done.

I saw mentioned on another thread somewhere, think it was MN, about collecting compliments and keeping them, but I think you should keep moments of celebration too. Have a beautiful piggy bank and whenever you have something to celebrate like this, write it on post it note, fold it up and put it in the bank. Next time you need a pick me up, raid your piggy bank.

I was thinking of starting a self-indulgent scrapbook for myself where I keep print outs of positive feedback and even photo copies of first cheques. Like a 'my first year' baby book, but for a new business.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 28-Mar-13 10:22:34

Well done StyleManual! That is brilliant, I am impressed! You can use that as proof that you must be good to get another days' work just like that! Definitely worth going into the piggy bank of achievements.

And LargeLatte, I love those ideas for motivation.

But one thing does stand out - you are so good at motivating and complementing others; you need to utilise those skills on yourself! grin

LargeLatte Thu 28-Mar-13 10:46:12

Have you ever heard the phrase the cobbler's children wear no shoes, the plumber's tap is always leaking.

That's me.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 28-Mar-13 11:07:00

Margot, thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, I really appreciate the suggestions. And no, you are neither teaching a grandmother to suck eggs (This particular Grandmother hasn't a clue grin), nor being patronising. I am literally starting from nothing - no previous knowledge or eductaion of business at all, so every suggestion is valuable to me.

I will go through the points you made...

1) Presence on social media.
I do have a Twitter account, but I have no idea how to actually use Twitter! On my To Do list is to Google how to use Twitter effectively, not specifically for marketing purposes, but just how it works in general, eg how to get someone to specifically see your Tweets (I tried to Tweet about someone with connections to my line of work by writing @theirname in my Tweet but I have no idea if that means it will show on their feed? Or if they will be alerted to that? I have not had any acknowledgement or reply from them). I also have a FB business page but am really struggling to get Likes so hardly anybody is seeing my posts (and all of those Likers are friends and family, so not even potential clients anyway!) For these reasons I am unmotivated to upate these pages as I feel that no one is actually seeing or reading them anyway! I joined LinkedIn a while ago but just got constant Spam emails it seemed so it got very annoying and I avoided it!

2) Contact potential clients directly. I agree that this could be the most effective approach. I tried this once and emailed a lot of companies that could benefit from my service, and I got no replies at all. I was too embarrassed to try again as I imagine they are thinking "stop emailing me, you are rubbish!" blush

3) Lack of time. Yes, its a massive hindrance isn't it. The reason for this is that this business is just something that I love doing, but it doesn't need to generate any income for the family (although that is my goal and it would be brilliant if it could!) and as I am not getting any paid work, there is no reason to get formal childcare. So it's catch 22 really. If it takes off I will get some paid childcare, but until then I am just squeezing it in around family commitments.

4) Network and attend face to face events. I have thought this myself, that I need to get out there and participate in things (and there is quite a lot in my field that I could join in with, or at least attend), and I actually plan to attend an event in April which should generate some content for my social media. However, it is the same old problem - childcare to be able to attend these!
I'm sorry, i know it sounds like the same excuse for every problem doesn't it. I need what every self employed parent seems to need - good ad hoc childcare!! (The Holy Grail).

I like your suggestion of sharing other peoples' content on social media, and I will start to do this.

I will PM you with my website so you can get an idea of what I do (but don't want to out myself by saying on here).

Sorry for the mammoth post, but thanks for your help, I really do appreciate (and need) it flowers

StyleManual Thu 28-Mar-13 11:07:14

Thanks all. That's a really good idea about the scrap book. I don't think I have lots to put in yet, but hopefully that will come in time.

I was brave in another way yesterday. A friend on FB who does the same job as me was asking round for someone to do a job for a friend as he can't fit it in. I didn't want to volunteer as I always feel inferior to him, as he is much more experienced than me. But I did, and now I'm doing a little mate's rates job next week. Every little helps though!

My DH said yesterday "You still say lots of negative things about yourself, but you seem to be ignoring them more these days".

Has any one else got any targets for today? Doesn't matter how small!

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 28-Mar-13 11:09:03

Latte grin

You need to take some of your own medicine!

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 28-Mar-13 11:11:58

Stylemanual you sound like you are really starting to overcome your negative thinking (or at least ignore it better!).

And every time you get extra work, and your efforts are well recieved, it must be an extra little confidence boost.

Reading your progression is really inspiring for me and is giving me hope that it can be done!

LargeLatte Thu 28-Mar-13 11:14:02

Today I am going to find a good online content aggregator tool so I can more effectively sift thorugh FB & Twitter feeds and new blog posts from the any sources I follow for my websites. This will make me lots more effective with my time.

I also need to re-instate ds2's occupational therapy exercises as part of our daily family routine as we have been really lax - this will be soooooo much harder than my first task.

StyleManual Thu 28-Mar-13 11:14:59

Hey AlwaysOneMissing - I was just about to ask how you're getting on. I think our lines of work are quite different, but it's all kind of relevant I guess, but I applied to 300 agencies, yes 300, before I got any work. It takes time and a lot of knock backs when you're starting from scratch.
You can do it, you just have to put yourself out there!

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