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.