Episode 7: How to move past fear when starting something new

March 9, 2021

Fear – it’s a heavy word and can be completely crippling emotionally, socially and professionally. Just typing this out, I’m starting to mental note things I am weary about in my day to day!

Today I will dive into a fear phase that everyone has felt towards the beginning of something new (whether it is a business venture, a move, or a new baby). This feeling always creeps in, but the question is, why are these things so scary and HOW can we get past this fear?

A quick disclaimer, I am not downplaying true fears and phobias. I am diving into the fear of starting or failing at something new. If you are faced with a drastic fear or phobia, there are plenty of licensed professionals to help with this, so please find the time to do so for your health and well being!

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07. How to move past fear when starting something new

This week we’re talking about fear and how it can be completely crippling when it comes to starting a new business, or even once you’ve already become a business owner!

So, fear… where do we start? When faced with fear in my business or personal life, I like to ask myself ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ What can really happen if I make this leap? Maybe you are worried people will think you are joking, they’ll roll their eyes at you or laugh — SO WHAT? While they are busy talking about your decision, you are furthering your career and life. They do not change the outcome of what YOU are doing!

Also, the reality is they probably didn’t think anything of your announcement or career change — they kept scrolling through their feed or maybe the algorithm didn’t even show it to them! For your dream clients, your target audience, your announcement means something, and that’s what you should focus on.

A common thought I hear from SO MANY people is ‘what if I completely fail?’ What if I have to go back to my 9-5, what if I don’t make enough money? The only thing I can tell you is to make it fuel you!! When I made the big (unexpected) shift to photography, I HAD to make it work —  fear became my motivator before I even realized. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t super real (hello panic attacks!!) but I had already started so needed to FIGURE IT OUT!

One thing that really helped me was starting to track when and what caused these fear freakouts. I realized that it was around the times I was sitting around and not TAKING action. When you are a business owner, you have the permission to take action on things giving you the most fear. A major thing you can do to help alleviate this is to advance your skill(s) and better your service or product. Take action — watch a course, seek advice, practice and pivot where you need, because that will help grow your business, create content and increase your brand awareness.

If you are sitting on an idea, have a million ‘to dos’ on your list and are fearful on what to do, I have some tough love for you — it’s never going to work if you don’t DO anything about it! As an entrepreneur it’s so easy to spend your hours and days rethinking and questioning everything. Start small, try the brain dump I spoke about in Episode 3. Planning out your next step is more productive than jumping between your what ifs.

At the end of the day, whether it’s personal or professional, the fear that comes with moving forward will become increasingly larger the longer you don’t do anything. So let’s collectively agree to take the next steps, no matter the fear, and get ready for the bumps ahead!

Here’s the real crazy part — I want you to tell me the big idea that is driving your fear! Leave a note in the comments, drop me an email or DM and tell me your greatest fear. I mean it!! Let’s help one another push through these fears to allow our ideas and business to grow stronger!!

Full Transcript:

Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your babies. First, we have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings.

My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle either until I did, as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans we made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and the newborn into, but I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds life doing it all amidst the chaos. Hi everybody and welcome to another episode of amidst the chaos I’m super excited, this episode is about something that’s near and dear to my heart as an Enneagram six, and I hope that a lot of you can relate to this as well. I’m sure if you have started a business or even thought about maybe starting a business at some point, this has crossed your mind and even held you back from even getting started at all. This episode is all about fear for her in general can be so crippling on a personal and emotional level, but it can definitely be crippling for a new business or a potential venture at all. I mean there’s so many fears and starting a new business, the fear of what people might think the fear of failure, the fear of not getting any clients or launching a new product and not having any sales. This is a phase that every business owner to be likely has felt towards the beginning of starting something new. To be honest, this can be applied to anything it could be to becoming a mother to becoming a mother, the second time it’s always going to be something new and different, and fear is always going to creep in. And that fear can be absolutely terrifying to the point where you’re crippled or your business is crippled and not moving forward. But why, why are these things so scary. And that’s what I want to dive into today. Now I do want to acknowledge in this episode that I’m not talking about real fear, right, so please don’t think I’m downplaying fear of something substantial, there are of course things that weren’t actual fear like maybe the fear that comes from having a sick family member or any other legitimate phobia. I mean these are in another category entirely, definitely a topic that many professional therapists touch on and podcasts that you can get out there for free on YouTube for sure and if you are struggling with real, real fear and anxiety. I highly recommend seeking out someone that’s more credential than myself, to help you work through that. So what I’m talking about today is the fear of actually getting started on something the fear of putting yourself out there, the fear that really doesn’t have a huge consequence at the end of it, right, that just seems scary. So let’s think about any decision, you’re not making because you’re afraid, let’s turn the narrative around what’s the worst thing that could happen if you take that leap of faith. What if you post on social media that you’re starting a new business, what’s the worst thing that’s gonna happen. It’s not like you’re going to break an arm it’s not like you’re going to fall off a cliff into a sea of rocks, I mean, you’re not going to crash the airplane full of passengers you’re flying, you’re not, you know, working on someone’s brain in an operating room like Derek Shepherd, I mean, the fear there is not for something that’s going to maim you or hurt your life right so that’s my favorite place to start because it puts any consequence of putting yourself out there feel completely lame compared to physical pain or maybe. Alright so, starting your business telling people about it, telling people even just sharing your idea like, Okay, you may feel silly, but what’s gonna actually happen, that worst case scenario is just that you’re going to feel silly, or that people aren’t going to care. Right, you’re not going to be in physical pain, Or to the end of your life. Alright, so now that we’re past that worst case scenario, let’s talk about getting through the still very real fear of sharing anything, let alone sharing a new venture that nobody knows anything about and you feel like you might not even be qualified to do. So why is starting that thing so scary. Well, I mean, what are the possible outcomes, right, somebody could think you’re joking. Okay, they could roll their eyes at your new quote unquote business, and maybe screenshot it and send it to their friends and laugh. But thinking back, I mean I wonder how many people did that when I first started my photography business or, or I mean hey, probably they did it when I launched this podcast, but who cares, right, they didn’t make me break a leg or fall off a bridge into shark infested waters, I mean it’s the total opposite. They’re busy talking about me and I’m getting to live my dream career right I’m doing these things to further the point and purpose of my life I’m doing something that I want to do that, making a difference for my family that’s impacting my life in a way that I want it to. So the fact that I don’t even know that they said these things and I’m still thinking of it, that’s fear. Right, that’s me being afraid that people are talking about me behind my back, but what does it matter, like, it doesn’t actually change the outcome of what I’m doing, it doesn’t matter that they’re talking about me and honestly, if they’re talking about me. Great. That means that somebody is. So, you have to be able to spin it and think about it in an exciting way because I’m talking about you or thinking a certain way about your business doesn’t change what you’re doing, you just have to stay the course and keep moving. I mean, did I know for a fact that any of anyone did any of those things that I just mentioned? No! Did it hurt me or my family that they might have possibly judged me – No! I mean not even a little bit. I feel really great knowing that one karma is probably going to get them, and two, I’m doing exactly what I set out to do, and that means something to me. On top of all those possible scenarios about people thinking about you and your new venture in a certain way, the more realistic situation is that they probably didn’t think about you at all. Honestly they probably saw your announcement in their feed and kept scrolling or the algorithm didn’t even show them your post that you were so scared to make you spent all this time, thinking about exactly how you wanted to launch a new business or tell a friend that you were starting something new, and our them didn’t even show it to people didn’t even see it. Or maybe they deleted your announcement and an email purge before they even opened it. Right, so people are probably spending very little time thinking about you and your post. Do you spent so much time on. And sure, it’s scary to think that people won’t care at all, but the people that you’re trying to attract your dream clients, the people that care about you, your posts mean something to them, and that’s what matters because you’re putting on your blinders and you’re going for it to make your life look the way you want it to.

Okay so, we’re fearful about what people think of us, but we’ve kind of established here that for several reasons there’s nothing really to fear, because it’s not going to hurt you. Right, and it’s only going to attract the people that you want to attract by you moving forward and doing what you’re supposed to be doing and what you feel is right for your new business or your new idea. So the next year that I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs deal with is the fear of failure. What if you fail on your businesses and succeed. What if you have to go back to your nine to five job, what if you don’t make enough money, and this is the fear you’re working with. The only thing I can tell you to do is use it to your advantage. When I first started my photography business. I was in a unique position, and that I had to make it work at that point, right my business was actually lucky that I was more afraid of going back to a nine to five job than I was of what people thought about me or that I might fail. Fear became my motivator without me even realizing it. But just because I was motivated by fear doesn’t mean that that fear wasn’t super real and super powerful. The many panic attacks that ensued, the first few months of my business were wild. They come in waves and be super intense but I found myself being able to pull out of them pretty quickly. And I think that that’s something that’s a little bit different for people who have already started a business versus people who are thinking about starting a business, because if you’ve already started a business, you don’t have a choice but to pull yourself out of that fear really quickly. If you haven’t started a business yet, being in that fear is just going to keep you from moving forward, right and then it might never get off the ground. So I was lucky that I had already started the business before the real fear, set in and I was able to pull myself out of it pretty quickly. So I started to track what was setting off these waves of fear for me when was I getting the most anxious, what times of the day, what was what was going on in my life or the business that was making me really fearful. I gathered that it really started to set in for me in periods and seasons of my business when I was not taking action. I think this applies to anything in life, if you’re scared of something, how often do you sit around and just worry about it, right, and a lot of times, you don’t have a choice and it’s something that you’re just waiting on the next thing to happen, but when you’re a business owner, a lot of times you can just decide to take action on the thing that’s giving you the most fear. You know you can fill your quote unquote worry time with action time, and it turns everything around. And the very first episode of this podcast I talked about a few things that keep my business running and evolving and sort of a cyclical pattern. So I view it as like a spiral staircase moving up and up and up and up, but I have to hit each of these things back around in the circle to keep my business evolving. So one of those things that my favorite one of all of them is to continue to learn, always so advancing your skill, doing research on how to better your product or service is always going to elevate your business. So if you’re feeling fearful of failure, take action, learn something that you know is going to move your business forward or even just give you a boost of confidence because you feel more skilled. For me, I didn’t have to learn something new related to my camera to move my business forward every time right I did do that sometimes I did invest in a new course on how to maybe work with a different kind of lighting or how to, you know, wrap a newborn in a different way, of course, but I could also sit down and watch a YouTube video on how to use Pinterest to market. Right, that’s not necessarily how to work my camera but it is something that helps me, that helps educate me on my business and how to move it forward. I can go find my favorite photographer and see how he or she is running the mini sessions from a financial standpoint, like what does the back end look like to make her mini sessions, successful.

Do you see how both those examples sort of provide a pivot for my business. So adding Pinterest reaches a whole new pool of clients I’m pivoting in that I’m appearing differently on social media. And on a different platform and reaching a whole new set of clients. It created content for me to share on my other social media accounts, it made my brand look just a little bit different I could add that little tab onto my website so people can go check me out on interest and find me there are two that elevated me for sure. And it gave me a new project to work on, when I was feeling fearful that I may not have enough clients right at the beginning. So then the other thing I learned about mini sessions, oh man, it was such a win for my clients who just needed a few updated shots with their Christmas card, but didn’t necessarily have the budget or time for a full session, I ended up having to offer two full mini session days because people were so interested, and that’s only because I had done the research on the back end to elevate my business in that way. After I’d figured out how to run them properly, it made so much more sense to offer those dates for my clients, they were happy I was happy, and I was no longer scared because I knew that there was an alternative option for those clients that didn’t want to pay full price for a session that fall. It was a small amount of education that provided a huge pivot and a new offering for my business. When before I was just stuck in a rut feeling fearful that how was I going to get all these clients and that I’ve had in years past, in for a session in the fall when I just didn’t have the time, I was fearful that I would lose them as clients because, because I wasn’t able to fit them into my schedule for that fall. So if you’re feeling fearful that you may fail in some way, pick a topic related to your business or potential business, and just learn learning something new in and of itself is going to pivot you just a little bit each time and get rid of that underlying fear that you have that you’re not doing anything to elevate yourself. So now, let’s just say you’re launching your business brand new, and you don’t need to pivot yet because you haven’t started anything and you’re just afraid of failing in general, there probably a million things circling around in your head that you know you need to do to get launched and get ready, but you don’t know where to start and you’re afraid this new idea is crazy and might not never work, and on and on and on. Well you’re right, it’s never going to work if you keep pacing around your house trying to figure out how to prioritize your to do list to get everything launched the fear of failure is so real in entrepreneurship, when you’re the only one you’re relying on to get it done. You’re all in your head, you’re the only person you have to talk to about what you’re doing. So maybe sit down and do a brain dump like we talked about in episode three. By the way, sitting down to do a brain dump is taking action, it is that is action, in and of itself, and it’s going to make you feel so great that you sat down and did something to move your business forward, gets rid of so much of that fear aspect of just pacing around knowing that you have so much to do but not knowing where to start laying out a way to prioritize your next step is so much more productive than jumping around from task to task feeling like you haven’t gotten anything done, which just makes your fear and anxiety of getting your project off the ground crazy high. I know everyone is different, but the fear that comes with moving forward, only seems to be amplified by inaction. Even if the action you take is something small, the sense that you’ve accomplished something on the path to creating the life you want to have is better than floundering in your fear. So yeah, we’re all afraid of our business failing at one point or another, my best cliche advice to mitigate that fear is to just not let your business fail. It sounds like Well duh, of course. But think about it, the beautiful thing about starting something that’s all your own is just that it’s your own. You can do anything you want with it, you can pivot, you can keep the idea that you have from the beginning, you can change it to make it work for you, so give it time, put in the hustle when you feel that fear creeping into your brain. I promise you that you and your business will get through it as long as you don’t give up, and you keep moving through that fear. Okay. Was this helpful at all, I want to hear what fear you’re dealing with right now, I know you’re never going to post your greatest fear related to your new idea or business out there on the internet for everybody to see. So, shoot me an email or a DM, I feel certain talking to somebody about it is going to help you move through it, and if it doesn’t, well, at least I’m kind of a fun friend app. So reach out to me because I’d love to chat. Thanks so much for listening this week and I can’t wait to hear what you have going on in your business. I am so honored you spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos in any mom’s normal day to day. If you loved what you heard, and even more snippets of knowledge about this mob boss life, head over to our website at amidstthechaospodcast.com for show notes and links to anything mentioned in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired the world to me and my family if you take the time to rate and review. Thanks for joining me, amidst the chaos.

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