Overcoming Business Fears

I’ve been obsessed with Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses lately.

My tutoring business is pretty steady. Between 2007 and 2009, I averaged $360/mo. No way is that enough to live on, but that’s enough to help out with the monthly budget.

My day job has cut my hours from 40/wk to 27/wk.

My first reaction was absolute panic. OMG, how am I going to pay the bills??!!

Then I took a step back. I have a little bit of a safety net that others don’t have, with the VA Voc Rehab program helping me pay for grad school. And I have my business.

For the last two school years, I haven’t had enough time or energy to help everyone that has approached me about tutoring. And I was worried about not having enough time/energy to do well in my grad classes.

Cutting my hours at the day job takes care of both those concerns. I still have steady income, even if it’s a less than it was.

And now I have time to build the business.

Which means I need to start advertising again, and doing things to build my business’ blog.

So, I’m reading a ton of small business blogs: ittybiz, erica.biz, fluent self and others. Right now, I’m slowly reading through Erica Douglass’ “Blog Success Manifesto”.

I know her suggestions are good. I know they make sense.

But I’m scared to implement some of them.

What scares me about it? I’m trying to figure that out.

Maybe I’ll actually be successful.

Maybe I won’t be successful.

Maybe I won’t be able to handle having clients want my attention. Maybe I won’t be able to handle running a business.

My day job at a small company makes me think that running a business is way more complicated than anything I can handle.

But reading stories of other people running really small businesses, or micro-businesses, makes me think I *can* do it.

But I still haven’t put a picture on my business blog page, despite that being the #1 recommended thing to do.

What am I afraid of? That someone will see my pic and go running for the hills.

Being stuck and fear

At Get Rich Slowly today, April Dykman wrote about doing nothing.

She was talking about being stuck. And barriers.

People throwing up barriers of their own fear and projecting it on you.

It’s so easy to come up with reasons to NOT do something.

I’m a master at this.

I have a million reasons why I can’t do anything.

  • I can’t exercise until I find the headphones for my ipod. Then I have to have the right clothes, the right socks, new shoes.
  • I can’t start a real business until I get out from under my debts and have a huge amount in savings.
  • I can’t be a real teacher until I finish this schooling.
  • I can’t be a writer because I don’t have original ideas or an interesting life to talk about. I can’t start a blog because I’m not an expert in anything.
  • I can’t help out with my kid’s school because I don’t have time, and I’m too introverted.

See, millions of them.

When I’m depressed, these thoughts take hold, and I can’t get past them. For years, I was stuck, unable to do anything, even simple things like the laundry, much less the complicated stuff.

When I was in that space, people telling me to “Just Do It” didn’t help. In fact, it was infuriating. I simply couldn’t.

My friend N has commented several times lately that she’s amazed at how much I’m doing lately. I know this is because she remembers when I just couldn’t do anything.

But I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special. In fact, I’m not even doing all the things other people do (witness how messy my house is).

I’m not sure how I started turning things around, but I’m really glad I did.

I know that part of what helped me was taking steps to start tutoring in January, 2007. I just put up an ad on craigslist.

It was scary to meet my first couple of students, and I was unprepared for some things. But people gave me money. And asked my advice. And looked at me as an expert.

It was a kind of ‘high’. That gave me enough energy to start making other changes.

And I don’t even remember what upset me enough where I actually made that first craigslist ad.

April’s un-stuck moment came after she did an informational interview with someone. I’m not sure that’s something that I could do. When I’m stuck, contacting other people is very hard.

What kind of things get you unstuck?