It’s been 38 years since I earned a Master’s Degree, entered the workforce, and began dealing with small businesses on a daily basis. That’s a fair amount of time helping business owners to be profitable, to expand, and ultimately to create jobs in the local economy here in central Utah.
I only say this so you’ll know what I’m about to tell you is not a guess, or a hunch, or just something I’ve read somewhere. It comes from years of daily exposure to small business owners and the personal struggles they have had to overcome. My own challenges in Internet marketing include most or all of these same fears that they have had and that you may be experiencing right now.
Every business owner has fears! Fears serve an important purpose. But fears are mostly irrational. Fears usually hold us back and they must be controlled if we are to move forward in our businesses.
Here is my list of 10 very common marketing and business owner fears:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of the unknown or the future condition of your market
- Fear of technology
- Fear of being ridiculed
- Fear of being rejected
- Fear of law suits, judgements, or legal entanglements
- Fear that your advice, product, or service isn’t worthy or “good enough”
- Fear of breaking rules or conventions (accepted methods and practices)
- Fear of competition or of big business putting you out of business
- Fear of success (yes, this is very real to some people!)
(I’m sure there are others, but these I have witnessed firsthand in many business owners!)
Fears are simply an emotional response to a perceived threat. They are the brain’s natural answer to warn us of potential danger in our environment. Some fears are rational and justified. The fear of heights, for example, is very common and serves to warn us that extra precaution may be important to our safety.
Other fears are irrational. Fear of being struck by lightning is very common yet the National Safety Council gives the odds of a human lightning strike during your lifetime as 1 in 126,158. (BTW, only about 20% of those struck by lightning die from it.) The odds of death due to heart disease is 1 in 7 (that’s a fear that can motivate you to change), death by firearm is 1 in 7,059, death by hornets-wasps-bees is 1 in 71,107, and death by dog bite is 1 in 122,216.
What I want to tell you is that nearly all the fears (related to doing business) that I have had myself, and that I have observed in thousands of business owners, are very real to them but nearly always no danger actually exists!
Most people react to fear in one of two ways. We confront the fear and try to overcome it (“fight”) or we flee from the fear thinking it might go away (“flight”). You might be familiar with the phrase “fight or flight.”
Well I’m here to tell you there’s a third reaction to fear in Internet marketing. Let’s call it “freeze” and add it to “fight” and “flight.” We become paralyzed by our fears (“freeze”) to the point that we simply stop moving forward and do nothing. You know, the “deer in the headlights” syndrome.
My advice to you is that most of our business fears are unfounded. We worry and fret and stew over the fact that we might be ridiculed if we put ourselves out there, or a few customers will reject us (ask for a refund), or that we don’t know how to do something.
I have seen, first hand, businesses being flushed down the toilet simply because the owner froze when he met a technological challenge. Others have been stopped in their tracks because they didn’t believe their product was good enough or they were afraid to write on a topic because they weren’t an expert in the field.
You are not alone in your fears. Confront them. Get help if you need to in order to move on. There is no actual danger to justify your fear. Persist. Figure out a way around, through, or over your business obstacles including your fears.
Here are several hints on how to overcome your fears from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Read them. Put them into practice. They will give you strength and at least a little bit of courage.
12 Thoughts to Overcoming Your Fears
- “Fear always springs from ignorance.”
- “Always do what you are afraid to do.”
- “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”
- “He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.”
- “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
- “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
- “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.”
- “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.”
- “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
- “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
- “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”
- “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Master your fears or they will certainly hold you back. Internet marketing presents the business owner with a lot of new and unfamiliar tasks and procedures. A lot of it is frightening and most of it is intimidating. But you can do this! Others have and so will you.
To your online business success!