Small Business Tips : Fear

With the fantastic celebration of this blog turning two (!) and my shop, Gadanke, turning one (!!), I promised to answer some of your business questions from what I know now.  I’m certainly not an expert.  But thanks to some incredible frugality, I’m able to run Gadanke full time while Martin’s back in school.  So every so often, I promise to offer Small Business Tips because I know that a lot of you are thinking of taking the leap yourselves.

(I’ll do my best to make these posts both relevant to small business and life, so non-business folks can reflect and enjoy, too.)

Who’s ready?!

(my very tall brother and sister – awesome cheerleaders in life who will be models in today’s story)

Whoa!  We’ve got to back up a second because there’s a major problem that often keeps us from leaping into anything.  It’s fear.  And fear is a horrible, horrible thing.

When I started my shop, my biggest fear was, “What if someone steals my ideas?”

Turns out I’m not alone.  Here’s a question one of you lovelies emailed me:

Katie, do you ever worry about the fact that there are other people making similar products to yours, or are you just supremely confident? Maybe that doesn’t happen, because your journals are so awesomely unique. Just curious. I am struggling with that lately, a fear that no one will want my products because there are already similar ideas out there.

Well you can’t just wake up and have no fears.  You can wake up and feel a little less fearful every day as you slowly work your way to the place you want to be.

(My brother demonstrates…!)

That’s how it was when I learned to fly an airplane last summer.  A serious mistake = death.  I felt that fear every day that I wasn’t good enough.  So I practiced.  I studied.  I hung around other pilots.  I yacked about aerodynamics and engines – yes!  Engines.  I slowly pushed that fear out of me.

Sllllowly.  Here’s my cross country solo flight.  You can see the fear.  But you also can’t see anyone else in that plane, right?  Facing fear is tough; I know.

Now if I make an excuse like, “I can’t speak any German” or “I can’t steer a canoe” (both of which I have claimed on multiple occasions since becoming a pilot), I have to step back and remind myself that YES I CAN.  Maybe not now.  But soon.

You can become uniquely awesome by just being YOU and by believing in you.

If you’re not good at something now, keep working on it.  There was a time when you couldn’t read.  You spent years learning how.  And now look at you – do you even pause and doubt your ability to read?  Of course not.

I think we all get inspiration from one another, and it can grow into something beautiful.  But flat out stealing?  That’s not cool.

I guess I like to think that totally uncool people could take the ideas I’ve already created, but they can’t take away my experiences, my constant practices, or my ideas for more.

That’s the attitude you have to have, too.  Put yourself out there if it’s somewhere that you want to improve.  Who cares what others think.

(Here’s my sister in the back of the airplane – her original response to flying with me!)

In fact, here’s a little exercise.  Pull out your She journal.  (hehe – how could I resist the plug?  I’m going to tell you to journal something…)

Pull out your She journal.  Finish writing this letter:  (you’re welcome to finish it in the comments or please tell us your thoughts on fear below as well)

Text reads:  Dear Fear, I’m not afraid of you.  You keep trying to hold me back, but I’m not going to let you any more.  I’m going to…