Is This What You’re Afraid Of?

Calendar with circled text Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Future

Let’s talk about fear.

Not fear in general. I have a very specific fear in mind.

It’s one I don’t hear anyone talking about …

Yet it’s a fear I sense in many new copywriters.

The problem is, it’s under the surface, so if you have it, you may not even be aware of it. But I’m sure you’ll recognize it when I describe it.

Are you perpetually getting your “ducks in a row?” (How many ducks are there, anyway?)

Or are you very busy preparing (over-preparing?), but never feel ready to start your business, especially to start finding clients?

Or maybe you bring yourself to do a little bit of marketing, but you give up or change tactics right away, before any of your marketing efforts has a chance to work its magic? (Because that’s the funny thing about marketing — it really does work!)

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone — not by a long shot!

And no, I’m not talking about the fear of failure — that’s too obvious — and a bit cliché.

I’m talking about the fear of actually getting a client.

Are you afraid of landing a client?

Because if you land a client, you know what happens next …

You have to write some real copy.

That’s when the rubber hits the road (speaking of clichés).

That’s when you’d really be on the spot to perform.

And that’s when the “truth” about your copywriting skills would be revealed.

What if you’re no good?

What if what you write doesn’t work?

What if you can’t write for anyone but yourself?

You see, if you never actually land a client, you never have to deal with any of that.

You never have to really put your work out there.

You never have to worry about how your copy will perform.

Yet you’ll also never really know if you’re any good.

In fact, I think the real fear — the fear that burrows even deeper than the fear of landing a client — is the fear that you can’t write after all — even though you really, really love to write.

So you tell yourself that if you just keep learning and preparing, one day, eventually, you will feel confident enough about your writing that you will feel ready to do the marketing that you know it takes to land the clients.

Is that you?

If so, there is something I want you to know: there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with staying on this path. Nothing at all wrong with learning to write for the rest of your life and never landing a client.

If that’s what you want, there’s no problem with that. Writing for yourself is a beautiful thing and you will live a happy life writing to your heart’s content. And I have no doubt that you will get better and better at it, the more you do it.

But if you really want to be a copywriter, and if you want to make money as a copywriter, then you have to build a business. That’s a fact.

Now, here’s the trick: To build a business, you don’t actually have to get over the fear. You can keep it.

But you do have to stop letting the fear win.

Because there are two ways you can respond to fear: positively, or negatively. And you get to choose.

For reasons I don’t understand, most people choose to respond negatively, by letting the fear hold them back, by letting the fear win.

But if you choose to approach it a different way, you may find that fear is a fantastic motivator.

In life, it guides our “fight or flight” responses and helps keep us safe and alive. It heightens our senses and awareness. It keeps us alert and helps us to better prepare for the future.

That applies in business too.

Your natural fear response to flee can in fact stretch you, and may actually push you further than you thought you could ever go, especially if you have support and encouragement.

So from my point of view, fear is a good thing. It means you’re passionate about what you want to do.

It means you know that the marketing will actually work, if you do it. That’s why you haven’t — yet.

So here’s another cliché: I highly recommend that you “embrace the fear.” Face it head-on! Stare it down!

Because starting something new is indeed a scary process — especially if you’re used to being good at what you do and have become accustomed to the confidence that goes along with competence.

Starting from scratch is tricky. It takes guts. And it takes practice.

The good news is, you have plenty of time to practice, to make your mistakes, and to learn from them. And the more mistakes you make, the more you’ll learn.

Plus, you don’t have to do it alone. There are plenty of people in the AWAI community to support you. And with our help, you can definitely do this.

So, why not give it a try?

Embrace the fear and start moving forward. The payoff will make it worth your while.

Do you have any questions about moving past fears? Please share with us in the comments so we can help.

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Published: August 8, 2019

8 Responses to “Is This What You’re Afraid Of?”

  1. I understand now what has been going on inside of me. Talk about an inside job🙁. Thank you for helping me to chill out from self sabotage🙂.

    Guest (Ponica Matrice)August 8, 2019 at 1:59 pm

  2. This post is 100% me. I keep telling myself that when I have _ done I will start finding clients. I'm always putting something in my way. But today I looked at the job board and found some hope! I noticed some companies only want people with some experience/specific education. How do you approach a potential client when you don't fit those qualifications? One even said they will not reply if it doesn't meet requirements. That is very discouraging to a newbie to even reach out to anyone!

    JulieMAugust 8, 2019 at 2:11 pm

  3. Yes, to every word of this post! And that's exactly why after 10 years of "getting ready to get ready" I'm in your 21 Day Prospecting Challenge. All that getting ready has gotten me to the point where the fear of NOT getting a client outweighs the fear of getting a client -- and now I'm TRULY ready!!

    Jennifer WenzelAugust 8, 2019 at 4:53 pm

  4. Sometimes it feels as if there's a tiny person sitting on each shoulder, taking turns whispering in my ears. On one side I hear a whisper in my ear: Just because you love to write, and have an over-active imagination, these things do not a freelance copywriter make. Get a grip!!
    The other "shoulder sitter" says: Go ahead, you can do it. Remember what you wrote in 2015 about someone and was not allowed to include it in your AARP column, due to membership diversity. What you wrote about that person proved to be quite accurate... I really want to get rid of this "Doubting Thomas" persona, and do what I love to do: Write. Wholeheartedly and confidently, already.
    Louise (chicken) Brown

    WeezieBAugust 9, 2019 at 8:38 am

  5. This is so me. Especially,"what if I can't do copywriting?" I feel like I'm pretending. I was a magazine article writer, technical writer, and technical proposal writer, but what if I can't do copywriting?

    I remind myself I spent the first 3 months in my tech-writer job scared to death they would find out I didn't know what I was doing, but I learned. Why is copywriting so intimidating?

    Because in the old jobs, work was assigned. Prospecting is 1-1,scary!

    Jane RobertsonAugust 9, 2019 at 3:12 pm

  6. Actuallly,I love to write. My writings never seem to get completed;because, I continue to add, subtract and store. Paralysis analysis is the name of my continued procrastination. Reason stated.
    Now, I must move on.
    Thank you for the opportunity, Lahala

    LahalaAugust 10, 2019 at 10:25 pm

  7. Fear certainly applies to me. I feel like I do not know enough about writing. One of these days everyone is going to figure me out. The only thing I know to do is what Susan Jeffries said, "Feel the fear and do it any way".

    Sheridan NiobraraAugust 13, 2019 at 8:37 pm

  8. The fear of meeting up to the challenge pertains to when I miss deadlines and find out how far behind I am to catch up. The gap always seems insurmountable. Even though I may try to start, I end up looking at how far behind I'd gotten and that leads to despair and discouragement.

    Jamie SaxAugust 14, 2019 at 11:04 pm


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