From solo pro to business owner: How I'm overcoming my fear of failure

Posted by Corie Farnsley on November 18, 2016

2016-11-18-fear-of-failure-800px.jpgI often find myself daydreaming about the future of CorComm Creative, only to stop myself short as my mind wanders back to the familiar question, “But what if…?”

Admittedly, until September 2015, I didn’t think much about the future of my little company, about how today’s actions would affect tomorrow’s or what would happen if I made a bad decision. It was just me, after all, and I was content in my workload, my work-life balance and my clients. 

Ultimately, the worst that could happen was that I would have to close my little business. I would have to (gasp!) go back to working a “real” job. I could make the worst of mistakes, business-wise, and the consequences weren’t that dire.

Then I hired someone. Less than a year after that, I hired another. And those “someones” had names: Melissa and Kirsten. They had families: Thomas, Millie, Lance, Ty, Julia, Adele. They had real lives to lead, with real bills to pay and real mouths to feed.

They were dependent on me. Suddenly, the consequences, if I were to fail, would be drastic.


From solo pro to business owner

Before I realized the full breadth of what was happening, I had launched myself away from being a solo practitioner and into full-fledged business owner. I knew I had enough on my plate to keep a small team busy. But somewhere in the depths of my subconscious, there buzzed this little gnat that wouldn’t leave me alone: “What if you fail, Corie? What if you lose a major client? What if you can’t make payroll? What if you have to close? What if…?”

It’s scary. I won’t lie. But I’ve decided to approach this new reality as business owner as I have approached just about everything that has captured my passion in the past: I’m arming myself (and my staff) with the tools and education we need.

We'll also be blogging regularly, partly because we want to share what we know with our clients and other organizations and businesses who might be interested in communications, and partly because we know that by writing out what we learn and have picked up along the road of our professional lives, we organize, digest and reinforce it in our own minds.

In short, here's what we're doing, and what you can expect from our blog.

Step 1: Attend a live conference.

And blog about it.

Last week, I attended INBOUND 2016, an extensive conference for marketing and communications professionals. Being in a facility with 19,000 other people who do the same or similar work as I do was both inspiring and motivating. I returned home ready to tackle the world. I plan to share some of the key messages in a future blog post (or two).

Step 2: Keep the inspiration flowing.

And blog about it.

I didn’t want that energy to come to a screeching halt when I arrived back in Indy after INBOUND. So I picked up a few books at the conference to keep the juices flowing:

I’m starting with Traction, a book that is chock-full of practical advise, tools and worksheets to help all of us at CorComm Creative get a handle on our vision, our values and our future. Stick with us as I blog our way through the book, sharing how our staff is approaching each section and milestone. It’s my hope that, after we finish the exercises in the book, we will have some successes to share with our readers and clients.

As a staff, Melissa, Kirsten and I are (re-)committing ourselves to active, ongoing learning. We have always understood the importance of making time each week to learn about something that is close to our hearts, but the reality is, when workloads are heavy, our study halls get pushed to the back burner. We’re bringing them back to the forefront. And I’m hopeful we will all blog about what we’re learning along the way.

Step 3: Stay true to yourself.

And blog about it.

It has been our goal from the beginning to create a workplace that doesn't require our staff to be tied to their desks, unable to enjoy our families. We put a premium on working flexible hours, and two-thirds of us are working part-time. We have lives outside the office, and what we do during those hours away from the desk is important. We truly do put our families first.

Our blog will be a reflection of who we are as a team. We're communicators, professionals, moms, wives, friends and members of active communities. There are many roles that define who we are, and our blog posts will be as varied as we are. So we plan to blog not only about communications-related topics (writing, graphic design, social media, photography), our client work and running a small business, we will also blog about finding balance in our lives, what we're learning about life and parenthood, and just about anything we find interesting and helpful as we walk through our lives.   

So, what if…?

So what if things don’t go as smoothly as we planned? Well, we’re pretty much counting on that. We’ll blog about the things that go wrong, too. We’ll blog about the things we are working hard to fix. We’ll blog about the resources that we have discovered that are making a difference for our team. 

And we’ll put everything we learn into practice—or at least we’ll give it a shot.

And what if we are not blogging as regularly as maybe we should? Well, we’ll just ask you to extend us some grace. We’re probably home with our families. Or supporting our clients — who are working hard to make your children and families stronger.

Topics: business, staff, blogging

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