Overcoming the Fear of Launching
Launching is terrifying.
Whether it's launching your freebie opt-in, launching a 5-day challenge to build your tribe or launching the signature program you've been creating for months. It's one of the scariest things we do as entrepreneurs on a regular basis.
It's also something that's definitely on my list of things to learn to do better this year. ;)
Why is it fear factor 9657?
Because every time we launch our ego jumps out of our chest & says, "What if no one buys?" "What if all you hear is crickets?"
Which feels like a confirmation of everything that doubt-ridden little voice in our heads has ever had to say about us...being good enough to get paid, being worthy of attention, being a true professional or creative, ever having a chance at pulling off this "entrepreneurship" thing.
The voice that whispers success ain't for you dear, you're never going to make it the way those others did. Better pack up now. Take what's left of your pride and go back to the safety of a regular j.o.b.
At least you gave it a shot.
DO YOU HAVE THAT VOICE?
I know I do. And it gets all worked up every time I launch. Every time a launch doesn't catapult me into instant success + stardom + life of ease.
Except that voice has completely lost touch with reality. It's like listening to a well-intentioned but completely delusional relative. That voice will do anything to keep you safe. Zero risk-taking of any kind allowed.
There is no way to completely get rid of this voice. It has a job to do, after all, it keeps us from doing stupid crazy stuff that endangers our very existence. But sometimes it gets a little confused about life & death and...well....everything else that won't actually kill us.
Here's what I like to remind myself every time the fear gets real...
1) What's the worst that could happen? No, really, I play it out in my head. All the way to the bitter end where I have to move to Antarctica in shame & humiliation. What's the absolute worst? Is there any way to make it less awful? Is it worth it anyway?
2) Remind myself as a creative that it's my job to create. To put the very best of myself into everything I write. But after that? It's none of my damn business what anyone thinks or does with what I've created. Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert.
3) Remind myself - "I'm not going to die." Thanks for that Jen Kem.
4) Remember that entrepreneurship is an experiment. That it's all about testing strategies, new offers, new ideas until you find the perfect match of idea + strategy + audience + offer that feels good. Thanks, Todd Herman.
And then you just have to remember to breathe - that's also important.
All of this leads nicely to the next fear which usually rears its ugly head right about now...
If this doesn't work, I'm out of ideas. I've got nothing left.
Haven't we all been there? (raises hand)
Where we put all the pressure on the current thing we're launching & say - this is it, folks. Do or die.
My business bestie expressed this fear this week & it felt oh so familiar. She listed the previous ideas she'd tried & now if this one didn't work...that was it, she was out of ideas.
As I listened what I heard was how she had created program after service after offer all based on feedback from her tribe. Which makes sense & can be a good thing if you have enough data to back it up. But not if you're stuck building something you feel like you "should" be creating when you're hearts not really in it.
Because Steve Jobs famously said people have no idea what they want until you give it to them (I'm paraphrasing).
So I challenged her (because we're both creatives) & I said instead of building something based on feedback from other people....
What if you created something that you were so excited about you couldn't NOT create it? What if you created something that completely lit you up & brought you nothing but joy? What if you created something you loved so much you took your time with it, did it carefully, intentionally, savoured every second of it because it was fun & meaningful for you?
Then you invite everyone else to come along for the ride. But whether they join you or they don't you're not creating it for them - you're doing it for you. And the process of creation becomes an act of joy & purpose & fulfilment.
I think doing it this way (although it sounds kinda selfish) makes launching less scary. Because it's about asking people to join your labour of love. Something you'd be glad to do with or without them because you're just that excited by the idea. But I also think when you create from that place...people can feel it. Your excitement & enthusiasm for what you're up to come across & they want to be a part of it because they can see how much love & joy you've put into it.
In fact, I think I'm going to try to follow my own advice & start asking myself what am I so excited to create I can't NOT do it? :)
One Caveat: Now I'm not saying you completely forget about the kind of business you've created. Do this within the context of your business & your audience. It wouldn't make sense for me to suddenly offer photography packages to my copywriting clients because I got a new camera for Christmas & playing with it brings me joy. lol Got it?
Launching can be way less intimidating if you're so excited to share what you've created that you just can't wait to tell everyone.