You’ve done your planning and now you’re ready to take a step forward in your business. But you come to a complete stop because fear holds you back and prevents you from going any further. Sound familiar?
Maybe there are things you KNOW will grow your business, but you’re scared or too self-conscious to take action. I’m being 100% honest when I tell you that everyone experiences this to some degree. No matter how successful they are. The difference is they’ve learned how to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Guess what? You can too.
Getting Comfortable With The Uncomfortable
You’ve probably heard some version of this before. But what does it really mean and how do you do it?
Being comfortable with the uncomfortable consists of embracing the unknown and taking actions you’ve never done before. It requires learning how to manage your entrepreneurial fears and staying motivated when faced with challenging tasks or decisions.
In this article, we’ll talk about:
- Why being able to do scary things is so important to your success
- Common fears that handmade product makers face in their businesses
- Strategies to manage and overcome fear
- 3 podcast episodes that illustrate how other makers found success by learning to do scary things
Ready to get over “uncomfortable”? Let’s get started.
The Importance Of Feeling Fear And Taking Action Anyway
Before we get into the whys of fear in business and how to overcome them, let’s address why it’s so crucial to do it in the first place.
Overcoming fear to take action and being open to calculated risks is important to your success because:
There are many tasks necessary to grow your business that might make you hesitate. Things like negotiating prices with wholesalers, putting yourself on camera to make promotional videos, regularly writing emails to your list, networking, or asking for the sale when talking to a customer. But if these things don’t happen, your business will be at a standstill.
All opportunities to grow come with a level of risk. You want to be in a position to take advantage of them before they pass you by. When you address fear head on and take action, you can capitalize on these opportunities and gain a competitive advantage.
Innovation and Growth
When you take calculated risks, it encourages innovation and fuels growth. It pushes you to think outside the box, explore new ideas, and challenge the status quo. Without the willingness to explore new options, your business will plateau and you are at risk of being overshadowed by more daring competitors.
But think about this. If you’re the one making the bold moves, you advance ahead of the pack and become a leader of growth in your industry. This is where you separate yourself from others and make yourself known.
Learning and Adaptation
Doing things that in the past you avoided allows you to learn from your experiences and reap the rewards of that new knowledge. And what’s si valuable about this is you benefit from both successes and failures. By embracing the unknown, you acquire valuable information from the results regardless of their outcome. These lessons enable you to make better decisions, refine your strategies, and navigate future challenges more effectively.
Every time you face your fear head-on and take action regardless, you build confidence and confidence in yourself. Each small success achieved by stepping out of your comfort zone reinforces the belief that risks can pay off and that you CAN do these things.
Fear creates self-imposed limitations that block progress. By confronting and conquering those fears, you break through the barriers you’ve created and expand your potential. You’ll also develop resilience that enables you to tackle obstacles head-on and keep going during challenging times.
Adaptation to Change
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptability is key. Overcoming fear helps you embrace change and stay ahead of the curve. You become more open to new ideas, technologies, and market shifts which allows you to quickly pivot when necessary and take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Networking and Collaboration
Fear has blocked many a maker from taking advantage of networking and collaboration opportunities. When that happens, you miss out on meeting new customers or wholesale contacts. Putting yourself in networking situations allows you to build relationships with mentors, industry experts, and potential partners, opening doors to new ventures and support networks.
The bottom line is that overcoming fear is imperative if you want to grow your business. It propels you forward, drives innovation, fosters learning and adaptability, builds confidence, and so much more. By accepting and even embracing discomfort and fear, you position yourself to thrive and you may even surprise yourself with what you can achieve!
But to get you there, let’s take a look at where these fears come from and how to manage them.
How Fear Holds You Back From Achieving Business Success
Fear is a powerful emotion that’s designed to protect you from danger. Unfortunately, it can also hold you back from taking the necessary actions to grow your business.
When you’re faced with an uncomfortable situation, fear can rob you of confidence and keep you stuck in your comfort zone. It tricks you into believing that making a move isn’t as safe as staying put – even when you know that taking action is required for success.
Where do these business fears come from?
That’s easy … from within. They stem from insecurity or negative thinking that tells you you’ll fail. Or your mind (sometimes based on comments from others) tells you that what you’re trying to do is impossible.
These thoughts can be difficult to ignore or shut down.
And it goes further. You look at your competitors and automatically think they’ve got it all together and are doing SO much better than you. Social media doesn’t help either. It looks like others have more, know more, and are selling more whether that is actually true or not.
This is why I say it’s so important for you to remind yourself that everyone has self-defeating thoughts. Even the most well-known and successful makers have these same doubts running through their heads – more than you think. The difference is they’ve found a way to “do it anyway.”
Common Fears of Handmade Product Makers
As a handmade product maker, you may find yourself faced with one or more of the following fears:
- Not selling any products
- Pricing your products wrong
- Learning how to build a website or post on social media
- Attending in-person craft shows and having to talk with people
- Failure due to inexperience or business education
- Not having enough time or money
- Doing things that make you nervous
When you’re afraid to be on camera for Facebook or Instagram lives or reels, that’s probably a fear of rejection. You fear what people might think or say about your content.
Or perhaps you’re afraid to reach out to potential wholesalers because you worry that they won’t like your product and accept it in their shop. That is a fear of rejection due to inexperience or the wrong target wholesaler.
Do you find yourself procrastinating, being a perfectionist, or feeling anxiety around certain tasks? These are your business fears cropping up.
The good news here is that you CAN manage your fears and even use them to your advantage.
How To Overcome Fear In Business
Managing fear in business is all about changing the way you think about it. It’s impossible to completely eliminate it; rather, you can learn how to anticipate and face it head-on.
There are a few ways to do this.
First, it’s important to understand the source of your fear. Is it internal or external? Once you identify the cause, you can start to work on changing your thought patterns and behaviors.
- Action step: Change your thought patterns. When you notice these negative thoughts cropping up, stop and acknowledge that you want to change them. Talk to yourself about how it should be different. Repeat this each time those thoughts show up. Read this article for more techniques for changing thought patterns.
Second, create a plan of action that details each step required to move forward with a task.
- Action step: Break it down. If you’re afraid to reach out to potential wholesales, for example, write down all the steps it would take for you to do so. Break each task into small, achievable parts and set mini-goals that will help you to keep moving forward and stay on track.
Third, practice visualization techniques such as meditation or positive affirmations. Visualizing victory before it becomes reality is used by top athletes to boost confidence and reduce anxiety. You can use this technique too.
- Action step: Practice visualization techniques. Visualization is a proven method for increasing motivation and confidence and reducing anxiety. Learn how to do it in this article.
Fourth, be sure to take breaks and engage in self-care activities like yoga or journaling. Being in tune with yourself is essential for managing fear in business.
- Action step: Remember self-care. Self-care can take many forms. Whether it’s exercising, going for a walk, or just stepping away from work for a while, it can make a big difference. Get self-care tips for entrepreneurs here.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your victories no matter how small they may seem. Celebrating successes will help you build self-confidence and remind you that you can persevere even when faced with fear. It’s surprising how far we can go without ever realizing it. These small wins keep you in touch with your progress.
- Action step: Celebrate victories. It’s easy to forget the little victories we achieve in our day to day. But they are worth celebrating and can go a long way toward building your confidence. Get ideas for celebrating small wins here.
Another, more external, way to overcome your fears is to work with a mentor or coach. Having someone to provide guidance and accountability can be invaluable when faced with difficult tasks or decisions. And an experienced eye on your business can point out all the things you’re doing right and help build your confidence that you ARE capable of running and growing your business.
Do Scary Things And Success Will Follow
Now, I’d like to highlight three podcast episodes that illustrate how success can be found when you do scary things.
- Ep. 144 – From Law to Pottery Paradise: Hear from Scott who left a successful law practice after more than 18 years due to stress-related health issues and became a full-time potter and merchant.
- Ep. 228 – Seriously – Take the Scary Out of Sales: Nikki shares how to sell successfully and authentically, without being pushy or salesy, to help take the fear out of sales.
- Ep. 306 – What is Your Brand Story? How to Talk about Your Small Business with Confidence: Never stumble again when it comes time to talk about your business. Dr. Michelle tells exactly how you can tell your brand story with confidence.
How To Turn Scary Things Into Success
By managing fear, you will unlock new and exciting opportunities for business and personal growth. Because believe it or not – becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable is the secret to reaching your full potential.
When you embrace change and take risks, all the while remembering to be kind to yourself along the way, you’re capable of turning any challenge into an opportunity for growth and success.
Don’t be afraid to take chances and do the scary things. The rewards are worth it!