What fears do you have about marketing your freelance business?

By January 12, 2011 Marketing, Mindset 7 Comments

The idea of marketing ourselves to get clients can fill us with anxiety and trepidation.  We put obstacles in our way and procrastinate because of these fears and doubts.  We may or may not be aware of these thoughts, however it’s important to bring them out into the open so we can decide what to do from there.

Here are some thoughts that could go through your head when starting out as a Virtual Assistant/freelancer:

  • Will I actually get any clients or is this going to be a waste of time?
  • Where am I going to get clients from? Is anyone really going to need my services?
  • It might take me ages to get my first client.
  • Will I get enough clients to fill each week?
  • I’m not confident enough to “get out there” and meet people face to face.  Maybe I’ll just stick to putting a few ads in the local paper and see if I get any business. If that doesn’t work, then nothing will work!
  • There might be alot of competition already. If the market is already saturated with Virtual Assistants/freelancers, how will I get any business?
  • How much money do I need to market myself? I might not have the budget for it

It’s important to realise that it’s normal and healthy to have fears and doubts like these, although they do make us feel uncomfortable.  After all, we are human beings with emotions! Sometimes our emotions are “positive”, sometimes “negative”.

Having fears and doubts is a sign that we are moving out of our comfort zone, into the unknown. It’s our subconscious way of protecting ourselves.  It’s nature’s way of saying “Hang on a minute, it’s dangerous out there, this and that could go wrong.  Maybe it’s best and safest to stay where I am”.

All of us have had phases in our lives where we moved out of our comfort zones either voluntarily or involuntarily.  Think back to events in your life where you were about to undergo a change or face a challenge.  It could involve your personal life or professional life.  It could be your first day at school, your first job, learning to drive a car, moving out of your home or taking exams.

So how do you “overcome” feelings of fear and anxiety? In my mind, it’s not really a case of “overcoming” these feelings in the strictest sense of the word. I think it’s about acknowledging your feelings, appreciating them for what they are and then, most important of all, it’s about challenging your doubts in a logical way.

Let’s take the first example above: Will I actually get any clients or is this going to be a waste of time?  This thought would make you feel worried, and has a defeatist feel about it.  Challenge this thought by looking at the fact that many Virtual Assistants and freelancers find clients, so it is by no means a “waste of time” to market themselves.

The “secret” to success is to persist despite feeling doubtful, not give up at the first obstacle, learn from what works and what doesn’t work, and essentially market yourself the right way to attract the clients you want for your business. However, if you surrender to your fears and doubts and accept them unquestioningly, you’ll be tempted to do nothing at all or give up too easily!

Only by acknowledging your fears and working through them will you get to the other side and bring your dreams to fruition.

What fears and doubts do you have about marketing yourself and your business? How have you “overcome” them? I welcome your comments, tips and questions.

7 Comments

  • Stew says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Yes, getting started is a giant hurdle to overcome. So often we don’t know how to market ourselves; especially if we feel weak in certain areas of business.

    Then too, we are often afraid we will have clients that demand things of us we just can’t do, or feel we can’t do, to their standards of perfection.

    But you are right…you must work through these fears. As Wayne Gretzky, the hockey great said, the only shots you make goals 100% of the time are the shots you don’t take.

  • Diana says:

    Lisa,

    I enjoy, so much, your newsletter! The feeling I get when you talk, is that you are a understanding and down to earth person, who is giving and patient. I just love how you come across and the topics you choose.
    I am a newbie, in beginning stages of designing my business, and you frequently come upon topics that speak to me and motivate me forward.
    I’m glad your back and happy to have found you.

    Diana

  • Tania says:

    Hello Lisa,

    Lovely to see that you are back and have survived your challenging year. Thank you so much for your website and blog, I really need the constant reminder that I can do this. I have been a marketing manager for a UK company for 5 years. I moved to South Africa a few months ago and have been working for the same company but remotely. They have put me under a lot of pressure for years – the usual work you into the ground for average pay, but I needed the marketing experience. I have now “gone” freelance and still work for them, but the squeeze on tons of work for minimum pay and squashed into minimum hours as required by them now is getting me down. I need to branch out and find new customers. For some reason I am slightly paralysed with fear! As you can see from my website it is not complete, so I need to get my butt into gear and get it finished in the next week or so and then start my own marketing.

    I will persist as you suggest above as I feel that if I do not get a move on then the work from the UK company could just dry up and then I will be in a very stressfull situation. My plan is to approach distributers in South Africa who distribute the brands I have been dealing with for the past five years……………. wish me luck!

    Tania

  • Lynne Osborne says:

    Hi Lisa and Team
    I have found all your comments very helpful in keeping me going forward positively. I started my VA business about 4 years ago whilst working for a company that provided a specific valuable service over the telephone. Realising I was a good listener and communicator led me to starting up my business in the first place, and who better to market to than the people I actually worked for! I have 3 clients from that company now, whom I have had since the start of my business, but now find I want more variety and diversity. I am, quite simply, in a rut, and don’t know how to move forward by marketing myself “out there” in a positive and attractive way. I know I have lots to offer, but how do I get my message forward? Thanks for reading – Lynne

  • Yazz says:

    I am not as fearful of seeking clients for my business as I was in the past because I currently have a client that I have been with ongoing for a little over a month now, which is boasting my confidence as well as helping me to determine my strong points, in order to decide what i want to do as a virtual administrative assistant.

    So once my website is competed I will be more willing to market my self.

    I am using Blogger and it is not promoted or recommended as highly as wordpress, as of yet! Anyway see you soon!

  • Lupe Torres says:

    First of all, welcome back. I missed you and glad you are back.
    All I have are fears and doubts. I am all thumbs at everything and need so much guidance at each step of the way.

  • Yazz says:

    Hi, Lisa,

    This article describe me to the letter, although I convince myself I am not afraid, I find that I do procrastinate and put other projects in the way of really getting my freelance and VA business up and running. And as Lew stated I believe my problem is that I feel weak in certain areas of business, very intimidated by the already very successful people out there. But I will hang in there and continue to gain necessary advice to make things happen for me.

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