I recently had a very interesting conversation with a friend who recently launched an online business, and it surprised me how our fears are never what they seem to be
It went something like this:
B.: I need your help. I launched my product a few months ago, but I am not getting any sales.
Me: Do you have traffic?
B.: Not much, about 100 visitors a month
Me: Then you need to get more traffic. You probably need at least 100x that amount in your market to start seeing any sales.
B.: And how do I get that many people?
Me: It might take a while, but find out people who would love to have your product, or who are buying similar products and tell them about it. Start with people you already know, then ask them to spread the word.
B.: I thought about sending a blast email to my contact list telling them about the site, but I am afraid they’d visit it and never buy anything.
Me: Then at least you know that there is something that needs to be fixed or changed. In that case, you contact them and ask them why they didn’t buy and what you can do better for them to buy next time.
B.: OMG! I just realized that I am not really afraid that my idea would fail, I am afraid that people would think my idea isn’t good enough. I am not afraid of failure, I am afraid of rejection.
That was one of the fastest entrepreneurial epiphanies I’ve witnessed, and it made me reflect on my own fears as well.
Maybe what we’ve always believed to be a fear of failure is really a fear of rejection, which is a much more instinctive and concrete form of fear. Maybe that is the threshold that is keeping too many people from following their ideas: becoming outsiders, and being judged or ignored by others.
The other option is not to follow our ideas, which makes us automatically accepted among the multitude who never followed theirs, and that’s a very comfortable and safe place to be.
Because failing isn’t fun. And being rejected isn’t that fun either.
So how do I deal with it?
I keep some distance from my ideas and products. I love what I am working on, but I don’t identify myself with it. The fact that it fails or succeeds doesn’t make me a failure or success, it just means that I gotta keep improving it, or try something different.
So. What are you *really* afraid of?
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