How to Face Your Fears and Find Solutions

Chris Allsop

I’m thrilled to join you this week in The Writer’s Life. And I’d like to begin by asking you a question …

Have you ever experienced thoughts like the ones below?

  • “I’ll never feel comfortable approaching clients.”
  • “How will I ever write something that my client likes?”
  • “I could never quote someone $10,000 to redo their website.”

If thoughts like these have crossed your mind, you’re not alone.

As I’ve grown my business, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting many copywriters, from beginners to masters, and every level in between.

And, I guarantee, fear is one feeling we all experience at one time or another.

However, it’s completely OK to be afraid. Here’s why …

When you’re building a business, you’re doing something new. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone.

So, occasionally feeling some discomfort, apprehension, or fear is normal. It means you’re stretching your boundaries. Better yet, it also means you have an opportunity to grow.

The question is … how do you deal with it?

When I began my copywriting journey, life became busy, to say the least. With a full-time job, three kids, and the usual dust bunnies to clean, my hands were full.

As time went on, I began to resent fellow copywriters who had already made the leap and launched a successful freelance business. I told myself, with a dose of self-righteous indignation, “Well, they don’t have a full plate like I do! If they did, they wouldn’t be as successful. They wouldn’t have been able to make freelancing a full-time career.”

Then, one day, it hit me.

I was making excuses. And, I was doing it because of fear. I was afraid I would never reach my dream of having a full-time freelance business.

I realized I had to face my fear head-on and accept it.

With this acceptance, I was now in a position to do something about my fear. I wasn’t sure how I would do it, but I was willing to believe I could find time to build my business.

I also decided I would be grateful for the time I had, rather than resenting it. And, equally important, I became willing to find new ways to get things done.

The first thing I did was to stop telling myself, “But I don’t have time!” Whenever I caught myself slipping into old patterns, I would say, “I have time to get the important things done.”

Just doing this consistently helped me to relax and feel more confident.

Over time, I took several other steps to free up time for my business. One of the most important was talking with my husband. We divided up chores differently, and found some creative ways to get things done.

My point is, once I faced my fear and became willing to be open to new solutions and ideas, I found new ways to accomplish my day-to-day tasks, which created more time for writing.

And, this leads me to the first lesson I’d like to share with you …

Be open to accepting your fears and then willing to find new solutions.

The good thing is, you don’t have to have all the solutions right away. In fact, you probably won’t. However, you can start simply by being willing to find them.

To begin, I suggest writing your fears in a journal. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this fear?” Write down the answers as they come to you. Be open, and you may be surprised at the root cause of your fears. By acknowledging them, you’re able to make real, lasting change.

Then, consider what you’re willing to do. Write your “willing” statements down, too. Choose statements that resonate with you, such as, “I’m willing to believe I can talk to clients. I’m willing to believe I offer a valuable service they need.”

Finally, take action by picking one fear that’s really holding you back. Decide on one or two action steps. Start there, and be open to changing or adding more action steps as you go.

You’ll have to be persistent. But eventually, step by step, it gets easier. You’ll start seeing solutions you didn’t notice before. Ideas will come more readily. Better yet, you’ll feel more resilient and happier. And, that’s critical for having a successful freelance business.

So, what’s your biggest fear? Share it with me here, and we’ll face it together. After all, our similar challenges are often solved with shared solutions.

And tomorrow, we’ll cover one of my favorite lessons – an easy way to get your first client.

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Published: July 13, 2015

40 Responses to “How to Face Your Fears and Find Solutions”

  1. Fear of rejection is at the top, but fear of not knowing what I need to know is a close second. I'm working on both daily (stay engaged, learn from mistakes instead of kicking myself) and am doing somewhat better. Thanks for the post!

    Guest (PW)July 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm

  2. Chris, this story really resonated with me. I am also working full time, raising two girls and trying to get my copywriting business launched. It's so hard to watch other people get their business up and running faster, but everyone is at different points in their lives and has different priorities. Family, especially a young family should be a top priority. My biggest fear is in fact that I'm using my (always supportive) family as an excuse. Thanks for the great reminder that we all have time that can be reprioritized!

    Guest (RachelF)July 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm

  3. Chris...thank you for this article. My greatest fear is getting my first client...with no proven results. I know you have heard that approximately 456,000 times! But, that is my truth!

    LoriHamiltonJuly 13, 2015 at 2:49 pm

  4. Chris, what a cool article! Yes, I have a fear - what if I can't attract clientele. I have a Bachelors in Creative Writing but my novels don't make enough in royalties to sustain me. I am applying for a Small Business loan after buying AWAI's "Six Figure Copywriting". I am very scared. I know from the program's assignments that I can write copy but the worry keeps me up at night. You made me feel better. I am jumping in fully clothed - I applied for an IRS Entity today and have more meetings with potential lenders. Do you think I have made a mistake? Thanks, Keith Wayne McCoy

    Real McCoyJuly 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm

  5. Hi Chris, your story really resonates with me because I'm recently divorced; bought a new house and had massive problems with the plumbing; and owe the IRS $10,000! I've been in fundraising (prospect research) for about 20 years and while feeling trapped, need the security of the paycheck! I CANT wait to launch my copywriting life and am studying as fast as I can, but I'm not skimming -- I'm doing it from word to word (which is how I learn best). So it takes time, and all too often, I'm too tired, etc., etc. All excuses! So your story particularly inspires me and I'm determined to keep plugging away. My biggest fear -- that I won't do something right, and will make a mistake!

    Guest (Daria J)July 13, 2015 at 4:58 pm

  6. The 'Wall'. There is this wall between me and what is possible. I catch myself adding a brick with every little setback. 75 existing control in my 'niche'? Bad niche! Co-worker not willing to read my Vietnam short story? No one wants my writing! Joshua doesn't answer my question? I'm nobody! But. Finish a chapter in the course? One brick gone! Write my profile? Another brick gone! Write intro package? Wall starting to crumble. Time either builds or destructs my wall. So: chipping away.....

    Guest (Roy K)July 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm

  7. I am eager to get started. I think my fear is more towards the future, in being able to keep the jobs flowing in. What if I just got lucky a couple of times, quit my regular job and don't get any more.
    But, I haven't got the first one yet.

    Guest (Sarah F)July 13, 2015 at 5:34 pm

  8. I fear that I will not be able to develop my new business quickly enough to support me properly.

    Guest (Neil Davidson)July 13, 2015 at 5:43 pm

  9. Good article, Chris.

    I just applied for a freelance job yesterday with Nightingale-Conant. I have zero actual copywriting for pay experience. But I felt I could do all of the requirements of the job they had posted.

    Then I went to bed and tossed and turned most of the night thinking, "Oh crap! What if I actually get the job? Can I do the work successfully? Or will I flop and everyone find out?"

    So I put it in God's hands. I have more peace about it, but I'm still a little nervous.

    Wes FahlenkampJuly 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm

  10. As a parttime employee, earning less than USD$24k/year, BootCamp, purchases , travelling, expenditures are avoided in preference for "my survival." Homelessness more than once. Not into relishing "a homeless experience." Pay rent, gas money and grind called "the American Way." Yes, is a "cycle of poverty" difficult to break from. AWAI is the goal...steps to get there are ephemeral (for the present). Thank you. I write fluently in English and Portuguese. AWAI gets a free bonus...Portuguese.

    Guest (jayme frederico)July 13, 2015 at 6:28 pm

  11. I'm like the people above in different ways. I'm working full time, the sole income for my family. I've been writing all my life and am published. But, before I began my restaurant letter I was feeling a bit of fear just starting it. But, the process of writing was empowering. And after reading the guidelines for feedback, I'm not afraid of that. I've bounced around in my life, and I'm entering this business at the age most people are retiring. But, I can't afford to think of retirement. So, your topic tomorrow will address by biggest fear and challenge. Thanks, for this advise.

    Skywalker PayneJuly 13, 2015 at 7:24 pm

  12. I agree with everyone else. My fear is not getting a client or being turned away. The voice in the back of my head keeps saying what if no one wants to work with you.

    Guest (LB)July 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm

  13. This is a great article. I feel like you are talking directly to me and my situation. Fear is definitely my biggest problem right now. I can't wait for the next article. Thank you for opening my eyes!

    Guest (sherri)July 13, 2015 at 8:35 pm

  14. I'd say the fear that is holding me back RIGHT NOW would be making the wrong decision. I graduated college last year with a major in English and I've been hesitant in taking the next step because I do not want to waste time or money or more importantly feel trapped in a job I hate.
    I am currently training with the "Six Figure Copywriting" program. I need to find the confidence in myself and not be afraid to take a chance. Great article.

    WanjikuKJuly 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

  15. I am SO glad to have read this!

    At work, I can stand and speak in front of 200 people. I can argue my case in front of coworkers. I can write pretty darn good reports.

    But when it came time for me to finish my first assignment (Restaurant Letter) in the Accelerated Program, I froze. What if it's not good enough? What if people think it's stupid?...Fear. I was afraid to fail. Thank you Chris, for giving me the gumption to move forward with confidence (or at least LESS fear)! :-)

    RockyBalladJuly 13, 2015 at 10:00 pm

  16. I too like Chris sometimes wonder how to make time when I'm working full time. But I started a nom profit business while I was working. I can start this business too.

    EmarksJuly 13, 2015 at 10:47 pm

  17. I echo Lori's comment (let me be # 457,000) in that I'm terrified I just don't know enough to actually sell someone my services. As I get closer to finishing my website and "launching" my business--starting my marketing efforts etc--the more I feel so green and inexperienced!

    EliaJuly 13, 2015 at 11:21 pm

  18. Dear,Fellow writers, I have three solid original novels, now, with 6 more, outlined, I need help to sell or market these , plus new ones I am developing now, Or do you write for others, need to know what kinds of things you do, Randel E

    Guest (Randel Erlandson)July 13, 2015 at 11:36 pm

  19. Hi Chris,

    Great article on a topic that all freelancers can identify with. I live abroad in the Netherlands and I have been looking for a way to reinvent myself. Since I started with AWAI's Accelerated Copywriting program, I feel more confident I can make my goals a reality. I would say at this moment my biggest fear is whether or not I will be able to find clients as easily living abroad. I am searching for AWAI members that live abroad to see how they have handled this situation.

    Kate EJuly 14, 2015 at 2:53 am

  20. Hey Chris, Thank you for writing this. I fear not knowing how to communicate with my first client. I don't feel like I know enough to know what I'm talking about. I'm starting to get nervous about bootcamp and worried that I won't make any progress with this in the following months-which I have saved money for to quit my job. I'm in my early 20's, have no kids, so the leap has fewer strings attached. But it's still such a huge leap that I'm starting to doubt if I can do any of this!

    Guest (Sarah S)July 14, 2015 at 10:45 am

  21. To overcome being's becoming, we, like the universe itself, need to BOTH follow AND lead. To phenomenally superimpose BOTH location (following) AND momentum (leading). Reducing uncertainty by duly invoking indivisible INCLUSIVITY over limited EXCLUSIVITY. After all, there IS a higher order, and it's not w/o a Sanity Claus[e] or two; i.e., perseverance and vision. How else to sedate the otherwise too expansive reach if sustaining our seemingly arbitrary existence has any chance of being here in becoming's plan in the first place?

    Guest (Chris Morris)July 14, 2015 at 12:09 pm

  22. Chris, Thank you for sharing. I've taken several AWAI programs (enjoyed them all - great investments) & still find myself sitting on the sidelines. The old fear-factor. My biggest fear is that what I write won't be good enough. It's hard to have the confidence to market yourself when you're unsure of yourself! So I'm getting out the journal as you suggested. I love to write so let's see if I can work it out so that it becomes not only my joy, but my career, too.

    JudyB-RaleighJuly 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm

  23. Hello Chris,

    Thank you, this title helped me to think through concerns I have before connecting with clients... the nuts and bolts of the process such as:

    * Web copy - how to access a client's site?
    * Working with various web site TYPES.
    * SEO.
    * Initiating contract set up. What to say?
    * Applying on DirectResponseJobs and getting contacted.

    It can becomes a foggy haze where you just are not sure how to proceed.

    Thanks again!

    Best wishes to all AWAI members and guests, Jennifer C.

    Jennifer CJuly 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

  24. Thanks for writing, Chris. I've just begun pursuing my writers life, so fear pops up all over the place. Your statement about being willing to find solutions is giving me more ideas on how to deal with self-doubt. I'm looking forward to your next post.

    VKLewisJuly 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm

  25. We are all more critical of our own writing than we are of others -- the reader is likely far less exacting. Clients need us and would value even the most nominal effort if we could just commit to getting started. As Jay White constantly intones, "water cooler talk" and that's the unvarnished truth. Our prospects just demand that we craft relatable conversations and convincing reasons to act. We undermine the simple task of facile persuasion by excessive soul searching and self reproach. Press on, would be writers and do not let yourself get in the way. Many thanks, Ms. Allsop, for humanizing this for us.

    Guest ( Blair Sorrel)July 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm

  26. How to Face Your Fears and Find Solutions

    Hi Chris,

    This is to tell you that I enjoyed your article with the above mentioned title. It has indeed helped me to overcome certain things I hitherto considered obstacles; they are no longer obstacles after reading your article.

    It was an eye opener.

    Many thanks.

    Guest (Victor Anya)July 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm

  27. Chris, I'd like to chime in one more time. Since reading this article I did follow the "break out the journal" advice and it worked! I've looked @ my fear(s) straight on, developed steps to overcome them - and have actually started taking action. I know it all won't happen overnight but it's a beginning. So - a big thank you once again. As Blair put it - you've humanized us ... in a positive way!

    JudyB-RaleighJuly 16, 2015 at 10:04 am

  28. Hi everyone, thank you Chris for the article on overcoming fears. I didn't see my issue, though. My life experiences and jobs have never involved any computer use, by my own choice.(I'm 44) Now that I want to do this program and improve my life, should I take a basic class (or get a book)somewhere to become familiar with how to do more than just e-mail and surf the web?(the only reason I have a pc now is because our 16 year old daughter set it up for my husband and I)

    Gail KJuly 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

  29. This was a great article and the topic of fear definitely hit home with me. Although my fear is more a reality. I have no money to pay for the program to get started. My situation is vastly different as I cannot work in a traditional sense, which is why I looked into the program. I honestly hope someday that can change. But I enjoy reading all the emails sent to me very much!

    Guest (Cindy)July 20, 2015 at 2:17 am

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