Last week, I emailed a private lesson to Marketing Creativity subscribers on gaining exposure for your business (and ways you make it harder than it needs to be). It was the most responded to email I’ve ever sent, and countless creatives replied and shared their struggles with me.
(By the way, I’m going to be sending out a lot of private lessons to subscribers this year. If you’re not already on my list, I’ve attached an opt-in form to the end of this post.)
It seems that opening ourselves to exposure, facing our fears, and conquering our own doubts is something we can all relate to (and one of the most challenging things we’re called to overcome in business).
When we put it on the table for discussion, as I did last week on CreativeLive and then again here via our email exchange, I love the surprise and relief creatives feel to realize:
I am not alone; everyone struggles with similar doubts and fears.
In fact, overcoming those uncertainties is the most difficult part of the job! But, sometimes we make things harder than they need to be.
5 Ways You’re Making it Harder
First of all, I noticed a lot of the same responses to the exposure conversation. I could relate to all of them, and you might, too. When I asked,
What’s your biggest block to gaining exposure? You answered,
- I’m afraid to attract the wrong people
- I ride a constant roller coaster of emotions; it’s hard to push through
- I’m often overwhelmed and unsure
- When my attempts don’t pan out, I feel even more shy
- I’m “not good enough” or “not good enough yet” to share
- I don’t want to be a pest
- I “only have” X sales, or I don’t have sales at all
- There’s already so many [niche makers] out there
- I haven’t started yet; still researching
- People will act nice, but think critically of me
I don’t know about you, but I’m nodding my head “yes” to every reply. I’ve felt every single one of these uncertainties at one time or another. Let’s discuss the five ways you’re making things harder than they need be.
#1 You Overthink It
I often find creatives chasing the same problems in their minds for months, sometimes years. To try to ease your doubts and uncertainties, you procrastinate by overcomplicating the process.
You worry about step #34, when you’re physically on step 2. I get it. I often catch myself doing the same thing, but it’s wasted energy. It’s like worrying about the harvesting schedule before you plant the first seed.
You don’t need to schedule the harvest yet. You do need to plant a seed.
#2 You Assume People Will Think the Worst
I love this one, because I can so relate. I had one newly retired woman respond to my question by sharing her fears that everyone would secretly belittle her efforts with condescending criticisms. I told her (and I tell YOU alike),
The whole world’s secretly plotting to support you. Here’s what they’re really thinking: She’s the most innovative and industrious woman I know! And so brave to follow this calling!
#3 You Discount Your Own Progress
This was a common response from creatives who have come a long way, but beat themselves up for having yet to arrive.
One lovely lady told me her pictures weren’t as good as they should be yet.
So, let me get this straight: you’ve made a marketable product out of your own great idea, built an online storefront from scratch, branded your creation into a business, listed it online, but (dun, dun, dun) … you’re not a professional photographer yet?
I’ve said this time and time again during my six years in business, but I can probably never say it enough: This is a process that’s meant to be ever-evolving. You’re exactly where you should be, and that’s amazing.
#4 You Seek Perfection
I’m about to reveal a mind-blowing secret truth about online business, so hold onto your hat:
You don’t need to be an expert at anything but your craft. You just need to know enough to get by. Therefore, you can skip the expert SEO lessons, put down the “Website Code for Dummies” book, and forget about marketing segmentation.
There’s a simple formula to a thriving online business, and it is this:
- Build a website that attracts the right customers
- Build an online web of connection to reach those customers
- Continue to improve and optimize numbers 1 and 2
Just keep it simple and continue to make progress.
#5 You Make Excuses
These are the most disheartening conversations I have in the creative industry, and it’s more common than most realize. In fact, the majority of people don’t realize that their “reasons” for not taking the necessary steps to succeed are excuses disguised as logic.
Online business has no prejudice, and it’s actually more predictable than any of us realize. There’s a system to it. It’s a process. It’s simply a destination to be reached.
I very much enjoyed having this conversation with you. It’s important to remember, you’re not alone in this. There are millions of us out here! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my mailing list below so we can keep this discussion going. Here’s to your success.