“I’m going to start a blog. This is it. I can do it. I have the writing skills. I know the perfect niche. I’m going to do it.
But… I really don’t know anything about WordPress. And what’s all the stuff about disclaimers and all that other legal stuff? I can’t take a quality photo to save my life.”
Sound familiar? Maybe your thing isn’t blogging, but many of us have something we want to do. We get excited about it. Maybe we even start planning how we’re going to do it.
But then we hit the, “Oh, yeah, but…” stage that makes us second guess ourselves.
Maybe you have some really creative ideas for signs to sell on Etsy, but you don’t know how to create a sign that someone would actually pay money to buy.
Maybe you want to create a website, but you don’t know anything about HTML.
Maybe you think e-commerce is right up your alley, but when you start researching, you realize you don’t know how to source quality products and promote your business to be successful.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to start a blog (and several other things) only to psych myself out before I got the idea off the ground. That fear creeps in, and you believe that you can’t do it. That you’re not equipped for the job.
You know what I say to that? You’re being ridiculous! (And, yes, I finally said that to myself.)
It’s so easy to look at the successful bloggers, freelance writers, designers, moms, PTO presidents, siblings, neighbors, friends, etc. and assume they just knew what they were doing all along.
Spoiler alert: they probably didn’t. They probably felt like you at some point. Instead of giving in to the fear of not knowing, they pushed on and figured it out.
So what should you do? The good news is, we’re alive at a time when information is at your fingertips. It doesn’t take much to research the answers you don’t have. Still not feeling up to the job? Hiring out certain aspects of the work so you can focus on what you really want to do may be a viable option.
Get your fear of the unknown in check with the following options.
Search It Online
Do you know what I had to do when I needed information as a kid? I had to dust off the right letter of the Encyclopedia Brittanica set at the library and hope it had the info I needed. Compared to the technology we have now, I might as well have been deciphering drawings on cave walls.
Seriously, you can find any information you need right now. At this very minute. Even if you’re not sitting in front of a computer.
When I got my first smartphone, I remember being in the car with my husband. I had a question about something and made a comment about looking it up when I got home. His response? “If only you had some sort of device with you right now that would let you look that up.” (Isn’t he the sweetest?)
But it’s true. Most of us have phones capable of pulling up the exact info we need in seconds.
So if you don’t know X about Y, look it up. It’s a given you’ll find something about it online.
Now, there is a catch with this option. Because anyone can post anything online, it’s common to find conflicting information. One site says up. Another says down. One says yes. Another says no. One says right. Another says left. It’s easy to end up feeling more confused than when you started your search.
Help avoid the confusion with these tips:
- Use trusted websites from experts.
- Ask yourself if what you’re reading makes sense or seems logical.
- Remember most situations aren’t one-size-fits-all. What works best for one person may not work for another.
- Think for yourself! Don’t just take everything as the complete truth. Use that brain of yours to decide if what you’re reading is the best information.
- Compare what you read from different sources. One source that’s way different, especially if it doesn’t seem logical, can be a red flag.
- Don’t let yourself get sucked into endless research. Have something specific in mind you’re learning and stick to it.
Research Your Role Models
I’m sure you’re a creative genius. But chances are good that someone else has already done what it is you want to do. Why reinvent the wheel?
Now, let’s be clear. There’s a distinct line between copying what your role models do and using it as inspiration. You should NEVER copy what someone else does. But you can use some of the same strategies and inspiration that those who have already been successful use to jumpstart your dreams.
Another no-no with this approach is feeling defeated because your role model is SO successful and you SO aren’t (yet). The people who make six figures blogging didn’t start that way. The people who run Iron Mans didn’t start out going the distance. The people who run million-dollar corporations didn’t start at the top.
Use your role models as inspiration. But don’t compare yourself to those people. You’re not where they are. And you don’t see the work they went through (and probably still go through) to get where they are.
Take Classes or Workshops
Those very same people you just stalked (in a non-threatening, for-informational-purposes-only way, of course) may give you a direct connection to their expertise. How? Through online courses, workshops, webinars, etc.
Prices for online courses range anywhere from free to thousands of dollars. You usually get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you should choose the most expensive course. Many modestly priced courses from well-known bloggers give very good information. For example, I took Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course and felt it was worth the $197 investment. Many free courses give you good, basic information. But you’re not going to get every single detail in a free course.
And just like websites, online courses are something that just about anyone can produce. Sometimes people create courses even if they don’t have firsthand experience in the topic. You see that a lot in the “how to blog” field. So be careful when you’re choosing courses, especially if you’re paying for them. Do your research on the course creator before you shell out any money.
Why are courses great? Because they’re usually focused on something specific. Learning to play the guitar. Changing your eating habits. Using affiliate marketing to make money on your blog.
The information may be available for free online, but you often have to wade through a lot of extra junk to get to it. A course (assuming you choose one from a true expert) cuts to the heart of the matter. A quality course should be easy to digest with actionable information. When you get done, you should be able to apply what you learn easily. Think of it as a shortcut to getting the info you need.
Test Out Your Own Theories
Why not just dive right in? Okay, that might not be the right approach for everything. If your big scary dreamy is to be a brain surgeon, trial and error is not the way to figure it out.
But for many things, especially if your goal is to start your own business, freelance, start a side gig or be an entrepreneur, a lot of it is just testing out different theories. Pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t so you don’t waste a lot of time on trial and error.
Pay Someone to Do It
What’s the thing that’s really making you feel stuck? If you don’t have the time or energy to figure it out yourself, hire someone else to do it. Or maybe it’s just something you don’t feel confident doing. As cool as I think science is, if science stands between me and success, I’m gonna have to hire out that work, yo.
People are willing to do a lot of (legal) things for money.
Hire a trainer to create your marathon training plan.
Hire a nutritionist to help you create a diet plan that improves your health.
Hire a web designer to create your site.
Hire a tutor to help you understand the algebra class you have to take to get your degree.
Hire a social media expert to manage your social media accounts.
Hire a freelance writer to craft your copy.
Hire a coach in your field to guide you.
Hire a cleaning serving/lawn service/kid chauffer/babysitter/etc. so you have time to devote to your dream.
Yes, hiring someone costs money. But sometimes the time, energy and stress you save yourself is totally worth it. You can jump start what you’re trying to do, so you reach your goals faster.
Stop Aiming for Perfection
So you don’t know everything right now to get to where you want to be eventually. Do you really need to know everything before you can start?
If so, none of us would be doing most of the things we do on a daily basis.
I sure didn’t know everything about raising a child before I got pregnant for the first time.
So why are you waiting just because you don’t have all the pieces of your dream yet?
You don’t have to be perfect when you start. You won’t be. And that’s okay. Actually, you’ll never be perfect at whatever it is you’ve been putting off. So keep that in mind when you think you’re not good enough yet. Waiting for the perfect time when you’re perfectly ready with all the perfect skills means it’s never gonna happen.
So stop worrying whether or not you’ll finish that marathon in X hours. Stop worrying if your podcast will get X number of listeners on the first episode. Stop worrying if X will happen when you do Y.
You’ll improve over time if you stick with whatever it is you want to pursue. You’ll learn so much more by actually doing the thing you want to do than by just reading about it day after day. So give up your perfect illusions, and give it a try right now. Right where you are. It’s the fastest way to figure out where you need to focus your attention.
Just Get Started
The easiest way to stop psyching yourself out when you don’t know everything about the thing you want to do is… JUST START DOING IT!
It kind of goes along with testing out your own theories. If you wait around without doing anything, you’re project’s going nowhere.
Let me tell you, I held off for a long time. I didn’t know how to source images for blog posts. I didn’t know about all the disclosures and legal aspects. I didn’t know everything about promoting my blog. I didn’t know how to create attention-worthy Pinterest images. There was a lot I didn’t know. So I waited.
Until I didn’t.
And, you know what? It was pretty darn empowering to JUST START. After I finally published my first post, I was filled with energy and excitement. I was finally blogging. I couldn’t wait to dive into my next post.
There was still so much left to do. Start my email list. Start social media. Start Pinterest.
My images weren’t ideal. My branding wasn’t totally cohesive.
But I started. And it got the ball rolling just enough to keep things moving.
What are you waiting to do? What’s holding you back? How are you going to stop psyching yourself out so you can start?