Fear has held back more potential business owners than anything else. I also believe that it holds back women more than men. Men take risks and recover faster when things don’t work out. Women…we avoid risks and take forever to recover from losses (if we ever do recover, that is).

I love telling and writing stories so here’s one from my archives. It’s about fears that almost killed my business goals, and how working with coaches helped me overcome these fears.

Top business fears I’ve faced and overcome

1. Fear of marketing

For a long time, I really dreaded telling people what I do. What I find interesting though is that I’ve never feared rejection. I just dreaded having to recite my marketing scripts. The recitations didn’t feel authentic and I spent many sleepless nights wondering if I was ever going to overcome this hurdle.

This challenge got solved when I mastered C.J. Hayden’s Get Clients Now!. This system helped me streamline and package my natural marketing style in a way that works without much effort. I found the system so powerful that I trained as a Get Clients Now! facilitator in order to offer my clients the program locally.

Using Get Clients Now! and teaching it to others didn’t just kill the fear of marketing. It also gave me the confidence to say no to marketing tactics that don’t suit my personality.

2. Fear of going online

This was a major block and it took 2 different coaches to get me active online. My first business coach literally forced me to create a website and SMS the link to all my contacts. That took 2 weeks and I nearly dropped out of coaching with her because I almost didn’t do the assignment.

I’ve shared this story at length in my book 12 Weeks to Startup so I won’t repeat it all here. What I’ll add is that my coach didn’t give me the option of not completing that assignment and continuing to work with her.

It was either I complete it and we move forward OR I don’t complete it and she drops me as a client…at my cost. Given that I had paid for my coaching program in full, the Mugikuyu in me could not lose that money.

So I missed one coaching session as I trembled in fear at the thought of going online. The next week, it took 3 days and I had a website and mailing list in place…with SMS’s sent out.

Just in time for my next coaching session!

That was way back in 2011 and this coach taught me a very powerful lesson that I use with my clients to date. The lesson: embrace your fears and move towards what you fear in business instead of running away from it.

[Tweet “Fear has held back more potential business owners than anything else.”]

3. Social media growth…a new fear!

Fast forward to 2013 and I was working with another business coach who didn’t understand why I was not active on social media. I had an active blog and was sending emails to my subscribers each week. However, there was very little of me on social media despite having a Facebook profile.

This coach wasn’t as nice as the previous one when it came to dealing with procrastination. But, his method worked faster. It was also more painful to my penny-pinching Mugikuyu heart because it cost a lot more money.

In one coaching session, he told me that it was time to get active on Facebook since that seemed to be my preferred place. Then he asked whether I could access the internet at that moment and we both went online and opened Facebook.

The next step was for me to write something about my business on my personal profile and set up a Facebook page for the business. Then I was to send him a Friend request and also invite him to Like my business page. He waited patiently on the line as I did this.

A very painful financial lesson

Our coaching sessions were 45 minutes long and I completed these actions in less than 30 minutes. At the end of the exercise, he told me something that has stayed with me all these years. His feedback was that it had just cost me $250 to finally get active on Facebook in less than 30 minutes.

I was paying $250 (Kshs. 25,000/-) per session of coaching and we had spent all that money doing what!!!?

It also hit me that I had lost potential income because our coaching sessions always helped me come up with strategies that brought clients within the next week or so! Given that I only had 2 coaching sessions per month with the coach…you get the picture?

My coach ended that session by telling me that I should not let this expensive lesson go to waste. I took his advice to heart, embraced the fear of social media, and never looked back.

This coach also helped me overcome the fear of putting my book out there and he’s the reason why 12 Weeks to Startup is selling today. Had I waited for my publishing plan to work out, the book would still be languishing in my computer.

Other changes that moved me from fear to growth

1. Personal and business growth

In 2014, I sought the help of a life coach because I felt stuck. I wanted to increase my business income but something was holding me back.

The reason I sought a life coach instead of a business coach was because I also needed personal growth. Not only did I get unstuck during the coaching, but I also had other achievements including:

  • Leaving an abusive marriage.
  • Healing my relationship with my dad.
  • Moving from Nairobi to Mombasa (I’d wanted to do this for many years).
  • Taking my business fully online.
  • Creating wonderful relationships with my children and extended family.
  • Helping my children build a positive relationship with their dad that’s separate from me.

Incidentally, the biggest benefit was finding inner peace and calm. Any woman who has been abused emotionally or physically will tell you that fear becomes a part of their lives. That was my life for 13 years until I finally got the courage to walk away.

I’d left my husband twice before and found myself coming back again. For many years, I planned to get out, but wasn’t able to. I was really afraid of being a single mum and the potential backlash from family, friends and society in general.

While my coaching wasn’t focused on me leaving my marriage, I did end up making that leap in July 2014.  I’ve made a lot of changes in my life and business over the last 4 years. And I can trace a lot of the positive change to working with Shilpa Shah (my life coach) and conversations we’ve had since she first coached me.

2. Conquering the fear of publicity

As I write this article, I’m just from a meeting with a publisher who loves the 12 Weeks to Startup book. Getting the book published is a goal that I’ve procrastinated on due to fear of publicity. So it took a lot of courage to contact the publisher and send her the book.

While the digital version has been selling online, the plan to get the book published and in bookstores is long overdue. Now that’s another level of fear that I had to overcome…

Luckily, last year in September I had a strategy session with an amazing business strategist. This time the session was free so fear not for my pocket. In the 1-hour session, MaryG Waithaka helped me clarify how I can make more money from the book by going beyond traditional digital and print book sales.

We mapped out:

  1. 5 income streams I can set up from the book (these streams build on each other).
  2. Which of these streams I can turn into passive income (set them up once and hire a virtual team to run them).
  3. How I can set up a membership site based on the book (another of my income goals for this year).

I created a goal card from this session with MaryG and it’s now the wallpaper on my computer. That, by the way, is a tactic you can use to keep your main goal at the top of your mind every day.

Fear of publicity has kept me from achieving a number of business goals. Like many people, I suffer from what is commonly known as imposter syndrome. This occurs when you doubt yourself and feel like a fraud, despite your accomplishments.

High achievers suffer from this syndrome and it can drive you nuts when it holds you back from achieving your goals. Of course it doesn’t help that I’ve had some really public failures too…and this feeds into the fear.

I’m working on overcoming fear of publicity this year because it’s now time to kick that fear out of my life.

[Tweet “”New level, new devils” ~ David Neagle”]

Feel the fear…and run towards it!

One of my major life’s lessons is that you will never be free of fear. The challenge comes when you allow fear to hold you hostage.

Each new level of growth in my life and business has either brought in new fears or manifested old fears in a different way. There is no time I’ve set a goal that didn’t end up with one or more fears behind it!

Fear never ends, but you get better at handling it and overcoming its effects. For example, I never thought that I’d be a very open person online. That’s a fear I have to conquer each time I write a blog or social media post. It never ends, but I’ve learnt to stop second-guessing myself.

On the other hand, overcoming my fears has tangible benefits. It has helped me:

  • Become a savvy blogger: This blog is actually the 5th one I’ve set up and managed. I’ve also used my blogging skills to make money setting up blogs for other entrepreneurs.
  • Write my first book: The 4 posts I wrote in 2011 expanded into a coaching program and book. As mentioned earlier, this book is the foundation of a membership site.
  • Use social media as a marketing tool: I now navigate social media with ease and have gotten clients without meeting them physically.
  • Take my business online: This is a huge benefit because I can work from anywhere in the world as long as I have my phone, laptop/tablet and internet access.

I’ve grown in ways that I never expected, both personally and professionally, just by taking action on fears.

Over to you…

If this article reads like one large piece that’s marketing coaching, it actually is. I totally believe in the power of coaching to achieve success in any area you want to change or grow in. I’ve coached really amazing clients and have also been coached by amazing coaches.

However, coaching is an investment, and it doesn’t come cheap. In fact, one of the ways of knowing that the person you’re seeking coaching from is either a newbie or hasn’t mastered the art, is their fees. Experienced coaches charge premium prices, but you get results faster.

So if you want to achieve your goals faster and in an easier way, find a coach who specializes in the area you want to improve.

  • For better health and fitness, work with a health or fitness coach.
  • You desire career or professional growth? Hire a career or executive coach.
  • If your life is not as happy and fulfilling as you want, hire a life coach.
  • And if you want to start or grow your business, check our business coaching programs.

Most coaches offer a one-off free or low-cost discovery or strategy session before you hire them. Take advantage of the session to test whether this is the right coach for you.

If you like the results of the session and the coach is qualified to help you achieve your goals, hire them. If something feels off during this session, respectfully decline to work with the coach.

Also, many coaches have more than one option of working with them and 1-1 coaching is normally one of the premium services they offer. Find out whether they have group or virtual coaching programs, which are normally cheaper.

What if you can’t afford to hire a coach?

You don’t need an expensive coach to push you to the next level. It’s just easier and faster to achieve your goals when you have an experienced professional to guide you and hold you accountable.

You also don’t need to read books, attend motivational talks or networking events with powerful speakers. All you need is to identify one area that you need to change and then evaluate what is really holding you back. Set a goal to achieve the change you seek and work on this goal daily.

Stop running away from your fears as you work on your goals. Turn around, look at the fears and run towards them. Push at them. Do the things you fear until fear loses the hold it has on you.

  • Will you make mistakes? YES. DEFINITELY.
  • Will you fail? PROBABLY.
  • Will you succeed? VERY LIKELY.
  • Will you…(stop trying to wiggle out and go do something).

Growth and success come at a price. If you’re prepared to go through the process and keep pushing forward, you will achieve them both. Don’t wait any longer. Take action today. Feel the fear…and run towards it!

(Image credit: Unsplash)

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3) Map out your 3 main action steps for this year.

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If I feel that you’re OK on your own, I’ll tell you and show you how to do it. If I feel that someone else can help you, I’ll direct you to them or help you identify the specific person or organization to reach out to.

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