Have you ever had a fear that impedes the running of your business? Not an inner fear, like the fear of failure, or a fear of what others will think of you, but a physical fear that can literally stop the whole whole running of your business in its tracks, like say… answering the phone? I have tried, up until the beginning of this year, with varied levels of success to run my business completely by email. Very varied levels. Why on earth would I do this? I had a very real, very literal fear of answering the phone. I can’t explain where this fear comes from, and it certainly wasn’t limited to my business either, with my lack of phone answering ability slipping over into my personal life. I know how ridiculous it may appear, I’ve spent the last 11 years of my life working in administration roles where a large percentage of my job was to answer the phone, and I never had any difficulty there! Namely because the call was rarely for me, and if I was unsure of information I could transfer to someone who had the knowledge (or was better than me at bluffing!) Answering my own mobile phone, especially when the caller was unknown to me caused me to break into a cold sweat, I’d let it go through to message bank, and often the thought of checking the messages caused fear!
What if someone NEEDED me?! So what changed? To say it was easy would be a lie, but very slowly, over the last few months, I have started to just answer. Why? Well one massive reason, and I am not ashamed to admit it, is money! I started this business for many reasons, earning an income from it is not something I am ashamed of and is something I am very proud of! To not answer the phone to a potential client was business suicide! I can’t continue without new clients, and the income I earn from working with a new client. Something else I changed is setting myself some specific business hours. Monday to Wednesday I work in my office job, which means I am unavailable. Monday to Wednesday Evenings, Thursdays and Fridays I work The Island Creative. I have this clearly laid out on my website, and I inform new clients when I first meet with them and so far, I am working within these hours and so are my clients. I expect to have to make and receive calls on a Thursday and Friday, so I mentally prepare myself. I write a list of who I have to follow up with on these days and check them off when I am done (I love a good list). Email is a VERY valid form of communication, but you cannot let it it completely overtake the old fashioned phone call, which still has a very solid position in the workplace, even in 2015. SO much can be said in a 2 minute phone call which might take multiple backwards and forwards emails to ascertain. If you also have a fear of the phone, or any fear which is effecting the running of your business then 2015 is the year to conquer! 1. Try and focus on exactly what the fear is and why it’s there. 2. Make yourself comfortable when you are next having to face that fear, you are in control and have the ability to turn an uncomfortable situation into something you can work with. 3. Phone a friend (literally if it’s a phone issue!) I am certain a friend/relative/colleague will spend time with you to overcome your fear e.g. role-play. Worse come to worse it could end up a good laugh, and we can never have too many of those! Plus a positive memory of something you once saw as a negative can work wonders! I’d love to hear if any of you suffer from a business fear and how you overcame, or are working to ease the difficulty. Good Luck! Erica