We humans are endlessly creative at finding paths to get in our own way. Even the most well-adjusted, self-aware people struggle with internal obstacles that keep them from being as effective or productive as they would like.
Last year was quite a year, and it’s left me with the question of what holds me back -– beyond a pandemic, of course.
As a long-time business owner, there are plenty of things I could list: negative self-talk, faulty assumptions, out-of-date self-image…
It seems that a considerable amount of marketing and sales advice to self-employed professionals is aimed at extroverts. “Go to networking events and meet new people,” the authorities say. “Speak in front of groups.” “Call people up and chat with them.”
If you are an introvert, these experts might as well be telling you to fly to the moon. What if you don’t enjoy public gatherings, dislike being the center of attention, and hate to call strangers on the phone? Can you still do well at personal marketing?
When it comes to getting your marketing done, you may have the best of intentions. You’ve set aside time on your calendar, outlined the actions you want to take, and called an accountability buddy who’ll check in with you in a few hours. And yet, here you are, stopped in the face of getting things done, wondering what the heck happened.
It’s likely your old friends fear, resistance, and procrastination have come to visit.
When this trifecta hits, it can be unsettling. You’re an accomplished person, running a business and taking care of those you serve. How can it possibly be that you’re finding it hard to do the marketing you said you were going to do? Especially when you actually want to do it?
The fear of hearing those words when marketing your professional services can stop you in your tracks. It’s the response you may most dread hearing when you make a sales pitch: “You? You think I should hire you? Well, who do you think you are?”
In reality, potential clients rarely say anything quite so confronting. Most people are polite and considerate when they decline to do business with you. But the real replies you hear from prospects are often a lesser obstacle to your success than the responses you imagine in advance. The negative reactions you think you might get can prevent you from saying anything at all.
They lie in wait for you when you least expect them — the marketing dragons of fear, resistance and procrastination. Just when you think you’ve defeated them at last, they rear their ugly heads again. What’s a self-employed professional to do?
First of all, don’t panic, despair, or beat yourself up. It’s completely normal to have elements of fear and resistance show up around sales and marketing. Even if it seems like you’re the only one who has these feelings, trust me, you’re not.