¶ Truth: Most bosses are scared to death 97.2 percent of the time. This blog post is loaded with 99 absolutely normal business fears plus the resources you need to conquer each and every one of them. How boss is that?!
Also: According to the Bureau of Made-Up Statistics, 93 percent of all quoted statistics are made up on the spot. File that under #funfact with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, please.
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What the fudge is fear, anyway?
Fear is unpleasant—that’s what Oxford and Merriam-Webster say. It intimately entwined with anxiety. The difference between the two is that fear is rooted in a present situation or stimulus, while anxiety deals with the future—something that hasn’t happened yet and may, indeed, never happen (more on that in The New York Times).
Fear is what protects us from danger. It’s an evolutionary emotional response that keeps us safe. Except, as bosses, we tend to experience fear about situations that are more awkward or uncomfortable than physically harmful.
So, why are we scared of things that aren’t a legitimate threat? Often, it’s a result of past trauma, per Psychology Today. It might seem trivial to our ancestors, but dealing with a bad boss or an online troll sticks in our psyches far longer than the physical fall-out.
The line between the two is hairline thin and wayyy too easy to cross. For online bosses like you and me, the digital world is so essential and our relationships with the people we meet there are so vibrant that the internet feels tangible. Our anxieties over these online what-ifs are very real.
They are true-blue fears.
Needless to say, fear is a big-time bitch. But bitches are everywhere. It’s time to confront this B.
99 business fears
The best way to not think about what you’re currently terrified of? Reading an enormous list of things you’ve been scared of in the past and will probably be scared of in the future. I mean, obvi, right? Lucky you, kiddo!
Hold on to your teddy bear, boss. Here's that big list of boss fears:
1Quitting your full-time job
2Sharing your Big Dream with your person
3Sending your first marketing email
4Paying for a monthly service
5Securing a domain name
6Introducing yourself in a Facebook group of bosses
7Joining a networking meet-up
8Setting up your website solo
9Launching an ad
10Asking for feedback from other business owners
11Publishing your first blog post
12Going live on Facebook
13Sharing personal stories on Instagram
14Deciding what to do about haters and trolls on social media
15Sending your biggest proposal yet
16Following up on an unpaid invoice
17Enforcing your contract terms
18Taking down your website’s “under construction” page
19Settling on a color palette
20Raising your prices
21Putting your first product up for sale
22Making an estimated tax payment
23Choosing a self-employed insurance plan
24Signing a contract with a fellow boss
25Taking an unpopular stand online
26Pitching a guest post
27Ordering nicer-than-budget-paper business cards
28Losing a long-time client
29Requesting a testimonial or recommendation
30Proposing a collaboration with another business owner
31Stepping onstage at a speaking gig
32Selecting a niche
33Asking your target audience to fill out a survey
34Automating your business processes
35Hiring an employee
36Taking a vacation
37Turning down a full-time job offer
38Bailing on a client project when you’re over your head
39Launching a product that’s expensive enough to justify a payment plan
40Skyping with a boss who is way more successful than you are
41Being a podcast guest
42Accidentally copying someone else
43Starting an enormous project with a new program
44Checking your Google Analytics after a couple of months
45Signing a lease without a steady income
46Meeting a new client face-to-face
47Attending a conference
48Explaining what you do to somebody new
49Deciding to rebrand your business
50Firing someone you hired
51Filing your business with your state
52Hiring a professional, like a lawyer or an accountant
53Picking the social media networks you’re going to use
54Taking someone to small claims court
55Making a plan for what happens with your projects and clients in case you die
56Collaborating on a joint venture
57Writing your about page
58Pitching your services
59Not being taken seriously
60Sending a cold email to a dreamy client
61Deleting old, irrelevant blog posts
62Taking a break from social media
63Working with a business coach
64Updating your financial spreadsheets
65Filing your taxes as a self-employed business owner
66Your competition is better at what you do that you are
67Dealing with a plagiarist
68Responding to hate mail
69Discovering an inquiry you missed from a few months back
70Deciding what to do with your stuff when you need to pee while working at Starbucks
71Missing out on a project you’d be perfect for
72Forgetting about an important call
73Someone else launching an idea that you were too scared to run with
74Losing your phone (and your calendar with it)
75Your website crashing on a really, really important day
77Not syncing your opt-in forms with your email server properly…and losing heaps of sign-ups
78Crafting a longform sales page
79Calculating how much you “invested” in courses and e-books that you still haven’t started
80Snapping your own headshot
81Celebrating a small win in a public space
82Someone realizing you’re not the expert you said you were
83Doing something illegal without realizing it
84Updating your plugins in the wrong order and breaking your website
85Firing a client
86Sending your favorite brand your media kit
87Wasting time DIYing graphics that aren’t even the right size
88Missing a stupid, obvious typo in something you’re otherwise super proud of
89Losing the motivation to be your own boss
90Including your home address on your email newsletters
91Giving someone else, like a developer or VA, the passwords to your business accounts
92A lead telling you you’re too expensive
93Not meeting your earnings goals for the quarter
94Your webinar tech not working, even though you triple-checked everything
95Only selling products when you discount them
96Waking up to fewer followers than you had when you went to bed
97Moving your established website from one platform to another
98Neglecting another important part of your life for the sake of your business
99Your last great idea was really your last great idea. That’s it. No more.
¶ Boom, baby. Fear in the flesh...or, at the very least, fear in all its black-and-white pixelated glory.
Grab the free worksheet that will help your conquer your fears!
How to get over your business fears
Just do it. Sure, you could do that. But since I procrastinate my way to hell and back before I do the scary thing, I figured I’d tell you what I do, instead. It’s pretty simple.
Step 1. Pick a scary thing
Let’s go with No. 57: writing your about page.
Step 2. Break the scary thing down into baby steps.
I know, baby steps. I told you it was simple. For No. 57, your baby steps might look like this:
1Craft a mission statement. (For more on that, click here)
2Brainstorm all the qualifications you have to do whatever it is you do. What are your pluses? What can you do that other people can’t? Be a braggart. Go on, do it.
3Write a one-paragraph biography that includes a few quirky, endearing details about you as a person, outside of your business. If you intend to get personal on your business’ Instagram account, try to incorporate a few themes you’ll share there, too. Consistency is key. I, for example, am “Brittany, the writer with the Goldendoodle from Charleston, S.C.”
4Put it all together. Write your about page. Do that shiz.
Step 3. Add baby step No. 1 to your to-do list
Do it today. Then, celebrate how good you feel about getting it done.
Step 4. Add baby step No. 2 to your to-do list
Do it sometime in the next week. It could be tomorrow, or it could be next Monday. I vote for sooner rather than later. “Just do it” does have its merits, after all.
Step 5. Work your way down the list
Step 6. Cross this fear off your list. Good work, boss!
My name is Brittany, but my friends and clients call me "Britt." Online small business owners hire me to create content strategies and write their blog posts, email newsletters, and social media updates. I work with bosses around the world from the marshes of Charleston, S.C.