This guest post is by Nathan Hangen of Build Your Digital Empire.
I remember back to early 2008, when I’d just started blogging, that even though I had great ambitions, my knowledge, expertise, and confidence as a blogger was sorely lacking. I stumbled through my blogging career for over a year before I felt I had a really good grip on things, and even then, there were many things I struggled with.
But more than anything, through all of the struggles I faced, there was one enemy that kept popping up time and time again, each time in a different form than the last. This enemy was fierce, determined, and relentless, and eventually I had no choice but to either confront it, or forever commit to a life of running.
Finally, in a Bruce Wayne moment of clarity, I decided to turn-around, face this enemy, and obliterate him. His name was fear, and there are seven ways that he tried to take me out. Here are the tactics I used to fight back.
1. Manic idea generation
I never thought that having too many ideas would be a bad thing, but what’s worse, I never suspected that the culprit would actually be fear itself.
In the early days, I found that just when I’d get close to completion on an idea, I’d suddenly be overwhelmed with dozens of new ideas. As a result, I’d move from idea to idea, never finishing a single one. In the end, I realized that my own fear of going all in on a single idea was keeping me from being successful as a blogger.
Tactic 1: Stop running from idea to idea and ship the ones you’re already committed to.
2. Holding back
Once I’d committed to a single idea, I often found myself running out of things to write about. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any ideas, but that I was too scared to actually talk about them.
“What if people make fun of me?”
“What if people think I’m an idiot?”
“What if I don’t really know what I’m talking about?”
This kind of self-talk is a blog killer, and it’s a great way to take yourself out of the fight before you get a chance to grow. Successful bloggers don’t run from their best ideas, they give them to the world.
Tactic 2: Don’t be afraid to be you. Turn your little flame into a wildfire. Some of the best bloggers I know are more personal and open than even I’m comfortable with, and guess what…their audience loves them for it.
3. Low confidence
My wife often asks me this very question: “Who cares what you think?”
And for a while, it hurt like a dagger, not because it was a silly question, but because it’s one that I was asking myself every single day.
“Who really cares what I think?”
“Why do my ideas matter?”
This is a confidence issue, and it’s where fear likes to play serious mind games. First of all, it doesn’t matter if anyone cares what you think. The only person you need to serve is yourself. Furthermore, there are people just like you everywhere, and you’d be surprised how many come out of hiding when they see a true leader emerge.
You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be a great leader to the people that resonate with and connect with your ideas and philosophies. However, they can’t do that if you don’t share them.
Tactic 3: Seth Godin wrote about it in Tribes, and the truth is that yes—we need you to lead us. People do care what you think, in fact, much more than you can imagine. You owe it to them to share it; don’t be selfish.
4. Little guy syndrome
I see this one all the time. Bloggers still call themselves hobby bloggers even though they don’t want to be. They call themselves B-List or C-List even when they’re capable of more.
Fear likes to tell you that you’re not good enough to be great, and that you’re always bound to the role of a follower, or a 2nd rate talent. It’s not true, but it’s easy to fall prey to that kind of talk.
There aren’t any rules that say you have to be just an average blogger. In fact, the road is wide open for anyone willing to walk it.
Tactic 4: Stop cutting yourself down and give yourself permission to be great. No one is going to ask you to be great, but they’ll step in line the minute you prove that you are. Claim your authority; don’t wait for it.
5. Irrational fear of guest posts
I remember shivering at the thought of asking a fellow blogger for a guest posting opportunity. Her name was Caroline Middlebrook, and though we’d talked a bit via email, I was nervous as hell asking for her permission. Finally one day I just did it, and guess what? Success! Unfortunately, I see many bloggers fear that step, and as a result, they toil in isolation for years.
I joked with Kelly Diels about this once—that asking a blogger for a guest post opportunity is like asking a friend to go on a date with you. You might have a great relationship on Twitter or in the comment section, but you don’t want to ruin it for the sake of a guest post … so you wait.
Tactic 5: The word no is nothing to be afraid of, and instead of fearing it, you should get used to hearing it. Don’t view no as a crippling blow, but as a way to get one step closer to a yes. If the simple act of making a request is enough to ruin a relationship, then it wasn’t worth much in the first place.
6. Resistance to product creation
People aren’t just going to show up on your blog and offer to send you free cash via email; you need to be able to offer them something.
You’ve been told time and time again that you need to develop your own online store, which means you start planning a series of products, courses, webinars, and anything else you can think of. But that’s where you stop.
For some reason, there’s always something that gets in the way of your product actually getting finished.
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Emergency this and crazy that.
You know it’s true, but you do it anyway.
Look, I know it’s not easy to sit down and create a product, and the minute you try to do so, you get distracted. It’s easy to do, but you have to fight it.
Tactic 6: Don’t let the resistance win. Rather than focusing on the fear of losing time to do something else, or your inability to create a perfect product, focus on the positive … focus on shipping. Product creation, like blogging, takes time to perfect, but you’ll never get there if you don’t start.
7. Fear of asking for money
This is a big one, and sadly, it’s probably the most prevalent fear in the blogosphere. How can you ask for money when you love what you do? How can you ask a friend or a peer to buy something, especially when you like seeing them comment and retweet your blog posts?
Well here’s the deal, if you aren’t asking for the sale, then you’ll never get one. Case closed.
You can try to avoid “scammy” sales pages, big launches, or affiliates, but unless you’ve got an army of people waiting for you to sell them something, a weak close is never going to work. If you want to make a living doing this, then you have to fight for it; you cannot be afraid of the close.
Tactic 7: Get comfortable asking for the sale. Find every opportunity you can to practice this, and keep going until the fear goes away. Eventually, it will become second nature, I promise you.
Commit, practice, and practice some more
I think the biggest fear that bloggers face is that all of this hard work they’re doing is never going to pay off. I know how it feels.
You don’t want to waste time on something that won’t work. You want to “Crush It,” and you want to make a difference. You don’t want to lose, or to look like a fool.
The best advice that I can give you is this:
No one knows if what you’re doing is going to pay off. However, I can say without reserve that as long as you want to succeed, with every fiber of your soul, and you are willing to do what it takes to do it (this could mean shifting gears or changing your business), then the fear monster will not have anything close to a fighting chance against you.
Turn around, look fear into its eyes, and deal it a finishing blow, Mortal Kombat style.
Nathan Hangen is an entrepreneur and author that writes about building a digital empire. If you’re tired of letting fear get in the way of your success, click here to get a free sneak preview of Fear to Fuel, a revolutionary course for creative entrepreneurs.