“What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work? What if I lose money?”
These are the questions that haunt the thoughts of countless entrepreneurs.
I like to believe that I’m a person who isn’t afraid to fail, to take action, to try something new.
But I recently found myself back in that place where I am consumed with doubt and let that fear of failure creep back in.
It led me to a vulnerable realization that I’m sharing in today’s episode of The Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast, because other entrepreneurs need to know that they are not alone in this.
Tune in for my challenge to you to not let the fear of failure continue to hold you back from the success your business is destined to achieve.
If this episode resonated with you and gave you the encouragement you needed to try something new, send me a DM on Instagram (@emilyhirsh).
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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Hello everybody. I hope you guys are having an incredible week, an incredible start to Q4. I can’t believe we’re close to the end of this year. I know I’ve said that recently, but it’s just wild and I have been so busy. I’ve been posting on my stories a little bit, and I shared last week I’m doing one of the 75 hard phases challenges. It is so much stuff every day. I feel like the most productive person ever. On top of that, I have way too many meetings on my calendar. I’ve kind of gotten to this place where I need to re-evaluate what’s getting put on my calendar, because it’s too much. I think I have 18 hours of meetings this week, which is way too much. I only work about 30 hours a week because of all my other commitments with my kids and my workouts and my health, so to only have 12 hours for other things for actually working is just not enough.
So I’m feeling a little burned too right now and have to push through. There’s been days where I was like, “I just don’t want to do this challenge. I don’t want to do these workouts. I don’t have time for this. I don’t have time to go talk to a stranger every day,” and all these things. But I’m halfway through, I just finished day 15 and I am going to finish it out. So I’ve been feeling busy and I don’t like feeling like every single second is busy. I used to like that. When I started my company, I used to thrive off that, but I’ve really gotten to this place where I value doing nothing at least for a little bit of the week and having that time to just chill. I have not had that at all between our remodel, and how busy I am in the business, and I’m building a second company, and have this challenge going on. Something’s got to give at some point. So I’ve got to re-look at my calendar.
Anyways, I am excited for today’s episode. I’m always excited for the episode though. This one is going to be a little bit, like I’m a little uncomfortable with this one, but I think you guys are going to get value out of it. It’s a little bit more of a personal share and vulnerable episode, which is always like, when you do it, you’re like, “oh these people are going to hate this. Are they going to receive this well? Are they going to think I’m dumb?” You guys know the feelings as a creator, if you do create content, where you doubt yourself. So I think this will be really valuable for you guys, though.
What I want to talk about is something that I think is in the back of so many of our minds, without even realizing it as entrepreneurs. I have been really in a cool place where I have a multimillion dollar successful company, and five, six months ago, I made the decision to start a new company. I’m building a software. I have a partner in that. It launches in January of this coming year and I already have a really successful company. So I’ve already gone through a lot of hoops, and learning experiences, and things that I learned how, what not to do, what worked, what didn’t work. Now I get to take that into building this new company and start things off on the right foot and have our processes in place. Having the knowledge I have now is so beneficial going into building this second company.
But I’m also back in this place where I haven’t been in a really long time where you start to have those thoughts of, “what if this completely fails? What if this doesn’t work? What if I’m making a mistake? What if I’m investing this money and I lose it all?” I haven’t been in that place in a long time because I’ve had a successful company for years. I don’t really have to make big investments. I mean, obviously I make decisions. I make choices. I rolled the dice a little bit, but it’s always backed by we’ve got savings, and we’re profitable, and I have a really solid team with solid delivery and process in place. Of course things happen, but I’ve not been in that place of what if this completely fails?
So it’s been really interesting, and I thought that I’ve been doing a little bit of work on that and I thought this would benefit you guys, because maybe you are in that place where your business hasn’t taken off to the multi-millions yet, or you are starting something new, or you’re launching a new offer and you have that feeling. One thing that has been coming up and part of my challenge for the 75 hard phase, you have to do eight critical power tasks. I made one of mine you have to journal every day. So I’ve been having to do that every day and it’s been good for me.
One thing that came up was the fear of failure that I’m feeling again and in the back of my mind, this is where it’s so vulnerable for me but I think you guys will resonate with this. In the back of my mind, I can hear my parents, parents of friends as a child, saying to me just go the safe route. Don’t take risks. That might not work out. Why do you have those crazy ideas? I’m sure you guys can relate as an entrepreneur. Personally growing up, that was the noise constantly being told to me. What I forgot about was after I created the success, that noise went away. People stopped saying that to me once I had the multi-million dollar business and they’re not saying it to me now. I don’t have my parents saying this to me now.
I love my parents. We have a super great relationship. They just did it out of wanting what’s best for me. It’s unusual for someone to drop out of college, to have a child at 20 and still be successful. So I had a lot of the soundtrack, but even before that, before I started my business, before I was in college, when I was like 10 the noise I constantly heard if it wasn’t for my parents, it was friends. It was people around me of like, “just play it safe. Why are you going outside of the box? That’s weird. You know that that’s not going to work. That’s not normal. You have to follow the rules before you can break them.”
I forgot about that noise until I’m now back here, building this software, taking a bunch of risks. I mean, investing more money than I’ve ever invested. I’m trying to do this without getting an investor, and building a software without having an investor takes a significant amount of capital that I’m fronting with my current company. So I noticed that voice coming up again, where it was like, “what if this completely doesn’t work?” And it was almost stopping myself from believing in this working. It was like, in the back of my mind there was, “well this could completely not work. You are being a little crazy investing this money.” It was definitely the voice that I used to hear as a kid. But because I’ve been successful for the last four years, that voice went away because it was like, “you made it, you were successful,” and it started to come back.
So I was journaling and I don’t even know. I didn’t start out with this journal. I wasn’t writing about this, but it just came up where I was like, I just need to recognize I believe in myself and it does feel hard right now. The people around me, like even employees, my husband, my family, I tell them about the software, but I can tell when you talk about it, they’re like, “okay, I’m sure it’s going to be great,” but they don’t really see the vision. I know you guys probably relate to this. Whereas as entrepreneurs, as visionaries, we have to get so far outside of what’s a normal, average person’s comfort zone that they can completely not relate. When I talked to friends about starting this new company, and my vision, and my idea, like, they’re very nice about it, but they don’t understand. The only people who understand are really other visionaries and entrepreneurs.
That can be really lonely, because my other friends who are visionaries and entrepreneurs, they don’t have time to sit there and be like, “you got this,” and be my little support system. They will, if I called them up and needed them. But I noticed I hadn’t had a conversation around that in a long time, around am I making the right choice? Is this going to be great? And I know it is. I believe with every part of my body that this is the right choice and I can feel it’s like that gut instinct. I believe in the product we’re creating. I’m so excited for it. It can’t come fast enough. But I just noticed this started to seat been where I was having old visions of, “maybe I should play it safe. Maybe I shouldn’t invest in all of this because I could lose all this money.”
So I sat down and I journaled when I basically got to where I was saying to myself, “I believe in you, and you’re not going to fail to the point of no return.” I think that’s the message, at least I got sometimes as a kid was if you don’t get that college degree, or if you don’t follow the rules before you break them, there is no going back. That’s the message I got. And that’s not true. Like, yes, you’re going to make mistakes. I don’t think making mistakes and doing something that doesn’t work out equals really fully failing because you will never, even if you make a mistake, even if you lose money, even if you launch something that doesn’t work, even if you do any of those things, it’s not going to be the point where you can’t recover. You can recover.
So what I started thinking about was this subtle fear of failing, like what else is this holding me back from? Where am I still putting myself in this box of you need to follow the rules, you need to think inside of this box that society says you should, or other people say you should, or the people that your family, or even your partner? I love my husband and he’s so supportive of me, and he believes in this software, but not to the point where he understands what I’m going through in terms of the investment, the decisions, the vision. He just believes in me, but he doesn’t get it because it’s not his vision. That’s where it’s really hard.
And so I started thinking by having this constantly surrounding me and having this voice behind my head, like, where else is the fear of failure holding me back? I just kind of challenged that for myself. I sat down with that and I think on the surface, I don’t think I’m afraid of failure. I think that I am willing to try new things, to take action. I’m a pretty good implementer. I don’t really take a lot of time to be like, “let me think that through and overthink this.” I’m not really afraid of making mistakes.
However, in the back of my mind, I think there is a consistent voice entertaining the what if this doesn’t work out, especially around starting this new software and being willing to take that risk. I can hear the voices from my childhood telling me, “play it safe. This is too big of a dream. You need to slow it down. Spend less. Be more careful or prove it first,” all those things. So I think I take action, and of course I do. I’m building the software. I hired the developers. I’m paying it. I’m doing it, but what’s possibly holding me back is that voice saying, “well, what if you completely fail?”
And you know what? Let’s just say I build this software, I launch it. It doesn’t work out. That’s where the concept comes in of marketing always works. You will have a successful business if you never give up, if you have the grit. So if I were to launch this software and it completely failed, I would adjust the product until it was exactly what people wanted. Which I believe I already have that, but then I would fix the marketing until it worked, and I would commit to that.
So instead of putting energy into that, what if I fully want to step in, and this is where I’m hoping go inspire you guys to question is this in the back of your mind? Choosing to believe in myself, choosing to risk failure, because that is what brings success and you don’t have to always play it safe. That’s what the world is going to tell you, that’s what the world told us as kids, that is what we have in our mind because that is what 95% of the population wants to do and needs to do. But I think that you can step into that what if, and who cares? What if you fail? There is no guarantees. So choosing that I think is essential.
Ultimately what I came to, and this is the part that I’m like I’m not like a super like woo person and that’s not what this podcast is about, but ultimately it’s choosing to believe in myself. And that’s hard when the noise sometimes overcomes that around you, or you have the voices from when you were a child that were like telling you basically you’re going the wrong way. You need to follow the rules. You need to stay in the box. You need to stop thinking different. Why are you so weird trying to start a business when you’re in seventh grade? Just do your homework and do it like all the other kids, right? That at least for me, and I know that was a lot of your experience.
The question to challenge is where is this coming up for you? Where is this holding you back in your business? My guess is that this comes up and holds you back in moving forward and making decisions, and that can come up in a lot of ways. That could be your decision to start making content that makes you a little bit uncomfortable, to step up and start making reels. What if one doesn’t get enough views or enough engagement, and now you look like you failed online? What if you do a launch that completely flops, so you’re just not going to do that launch anyways. You’re not going to up your budget. You’re not going to do that because you’re afraid that it’s not going to go well. What if you launch this new offer that you have envisioned and it doesn’t sell and it doesn’t do well, so you’re going to keep playing it safe. You’re going to keep doing what you know is working. What if you hire that team member and then you can’t make payroll. Those are all the things that we say in our mind that I think hold us back.
So now I want you to just question and say, what if I do that launch and it completely fails? Then what? Well, then you’re going to get back up. You’re going to figure out what happened and you’re going to do it again. What if you put content out there and it gets one like, zero likes? Well, then at least you put the content out there and you’re going to continue to get better and continue to do that and you will improve. What if you launch the product that completely flops and doesn’t work? Well, that’s fine because then you’re going to figure out why it didn’t work and you’re going to go relaunch it.
That’s how I feel about this software. I’m choosing to go all in. I’m choosing to believe in myself and my vision and how strongly I feel about this, and remove that what if. Because what if, who cares? What if it doesn’t work? Then I’ll learn. There is no such thing as failing to the point of no return. I think you can fail, you can make mistakes and if you’re failing, that’s good. That means you’re trying new things. That means you’re putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. That means you’re taking those risks that everybody tells you not to take.
So I really challenge you guys to look at your own business and ask yourself where is that fear coming up for me? Is it content? Is it launching something new? Is it doing a bigger launch? Is it increasing my ad spend? Is it hiring some sort of support? Is it hiring an agency? Is it hiring a VA? Am I afraid if I make that decision? But the thing is, if you never make that decision, of course, as long as it’s a strategic decision. I fully believe, like I said, with every part of my being that I’m going to freaking crush it with this software, and this is my hundred million dollar company. But if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be investing tens of thousands of dollars into it. But if I believe that, then I don’t want to stop myself from doing it. So of course you want it to be the right decision, but then don’t let that message come in and stop you or slow you down.
It’s been interesting. We did this promotion a couple of weeks ago where we launched our new offer, our new complete done for you offer. We launched it just to you guys, our warm audience. We had our last special pricing, and before we raised the price. Now as our full highest level done for you partners, clients, we used to call you clients and now call you partners, they get a lot more. So it’s not just ads management, it’s not just a strategy, it’s also the funnels built for them, the content ideas created for them, and all of that.
But one interesting thing that was shared with me throughout this process is we did have a couple people who booked calls with us that we’ve talked to before. One interesting thing about these business owners is it seemed that they had talked to us maybe like a year ago, right? They had considered working with us and now this promotion pushed them back. In a few cases, it was like they’re in the exact same place. They had the exact same problems. They have the exact same results. They were in this exact same place with their business. They had not made progress in a year. If you’re listening to this and you’re like, “oh shoot, was this me?” I say this with the utmost love and care for whoever this is for.
And this might be you, and you might not even have talked to our team, but you have to evaluate am I in the exact same place I was a year ago as a business owner, as a person, because I’ve been too afraid to take risk because I’ve been too afraid to make decisions, to change my reality, to grow my business, to grow myself, to grow my team, to get to the next level? That famous saying of what got you here is not going to get you there, that is so true. You have to continually evolve and become the leader, and the entrepreneur, and the business owner of the future of your company to get to that level. Which a lot of times means basically living outside of your comfort zone.
So this is my challenge to you. I’m going through this myself, and I just thought this might be helpful for those of you guys who are potentially playing, and maybe it’s subconsciously. I didn’t realize that I had this going on until I sat down and was writing. I basically wrote a letter to myself, and what came out of that was I was writing, “I believe in you.I believe in the decisions you are making to build the software, to invest in this company.” The thing is, it can be lonely here, right? Because nobody else really gets it. I get it.
If you were to tell me, I get it. But I don’t know your business as deep as you do, right? So I understand that it sometimes feels like, “oh my gosh, am I making a complete mistake by making XYZ decision or investment? Or is this going to be the best thing ever?” And you may not know as a fact, and you don’t know it’s a fact, but there is no such thing as failing to the point of no return. That’s what you’ve got to remind yourself. So what are you holding yourself back on? What are you holding back your success with your marketing?
I think this comes up so much with marketing, because I think people hold back both in the content and how loud they’re willing to be in their marketing, and then also in the investment because marketing is an investment that’s never guaranteed, right? You could invest in marketing and there is no way to guarantee that it will be successful, but every single time you’re learning. You’re learning about what worked, what didn’t work, what messaging did people respond to, what angles worked, what offers worked, what do people want, what do they not want. That’s where the value lies. If you do that enough and you are willing to make the mistakes and the failures enough, you will create the next level of success time and time again, because you can fail, but you can’t fail to the point of no return. So I will launch a successful software company. Will it be my first iteration? I hope so. I think so. I believe so. But it might not be, and that’s okay because I’m not going to let that what if completely stop me from doing that thing.
So I hope this was helpful for you guys today. Like I said, this is a little more on the vulnerable side for me, but it was a huge realization to me where I was like, wow, I’ve not been back in this place because I’ve had a successful company for so many years. I haven’t had to make these large decisions before. I definitely did when I started my company, but not to this level because I didn’t have capital to invest. So it was more just investing time when I first started my company. Now I actually have capital to invest and I have to make these decisions. There’s always going to be risk with that, and I choose to fully be all in and to believe in myself and believe in the vision and understand that everything is a process of refinement until you get to the level of success that you are aiming to be at. Then you just go to the next level and it’s a never ending process. Thanks so much for listening today guys. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll talk to you next week.