OK so I know the title of this blog is a bit creepy.
But bare with me.
When I was a youngster the only subject I was really good at and motivated to do well with was Drama. I loved that it was creative, that it wasn’t sitting behind a desk being spoken at by a teacher…but also that it was expansive in terms of the themes and topics we would explore like energy states and power dynamics.
It was the only lesson I looked forward to each week.
And so it became a no brainer for me to stay on after school and do a BTEC in Performing Arts at the schools 6th form…my careers teacher had said A-Levels wouldn’t be for me as I wasn’t “academic”…which is weird seeing as a few years later I did indeed go off to Uni and get a First Class Degree, and later a Masters.
But let’s not go into how my teachers planted those “must do better”and “not quite good enough” seeds of doubt in my mind…instead let me tell you about one of the most important courses of my life.
A 5-day improv project called Blaggers…run by a bunch of awesome actors and comedians, one of whom has just become the first-ever Black Dr Who.
I was 17 or 18 and not as confident as you might think, but something made me want to do it…and one of our first sessions was called,
Learning How to Die
It was about being OK with running out of things to say, looking like an idiot, having to pass the baton to the next actor…and not dying of shame or embarrassment.
This was like improv 101, everything else we did that week was based on that premise…if you wasn’t willing to make a fool of yourself and risk dying, you’d probably not find your comedy gold.
Throughout the week we learned all kinds of drama and comedy games, being an expert in a made-up language, mucking about with accents, learning to make up songs on the spot…it was one of the craziest, most challenging…but most fun weeks of my life.
And so what the heck has this got to do with business?
When’s the last time you tried something in your business knowing it would possibly fail, you might look a bit silly, you would be completely out of your comfort zone?
I see so many business owners not willing to fail, not willing to make mistakes, to look like an idiot (or at least to feel like an idiot) when only 3 people turn up to their webinar or like their social media posts.
Running an online business requires fearless visibility whether what you are putting out there is gold or goes down like a lead balloon. As its that trial and error that helps you to,
A) work out what works for you
B) get rid of the fear of judgement
So what if only 3 people read your blog this week, so what if the programme you launched didn’t sell out first time, so what if theres someone in your circle who does something similar to you and they have better graphics, a better website, and better hair (seriously)
Your ability to get up on stage willing to die, over and over again, is what will ultimately be your superpower. Imagine how much time and energy you would have to work on your business if you wasn’t expelling that energy on second guessing yourself and worrying about judgement.
None of us feel ready, none of us feel good enough…you just have to get out there and do it anyway, whether your audience loves it or not, whether its a full house or just a few regulars.
Maybe I will do a one woman show one day on the trials and tribulations of being an online business owner…and I will do a whole section about asking for the sale…being willing to be told no.
And I could test it out on the streets as I try and drum up trade for the show ha ha….I mean that’s what would be going on in Edinburgh this month right? Actors, comedians, and artists touting their wares all over the city, not knowing if they will be a hit or a flop.
Being a business owner isn’t that dissimilar to being an actor (I should know I lived with a struggling one for many years), it takes
- Having a thick skin
- Being resilient AND persistent
- Having overwhelming optimism
NEVER GIVING UP!!!!
Nobody is ever an overnight success, there is always graft behind the scenes, there are always a million nos before there is ever a resounding yes, and even the most successful people will be able to regale you with embarrassing tails of rejection, mishaps, and mistakes.
So get used to dying…its part and parcel of the journey….and it makes the eventual successes even sweeter when they come.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement specialist and business mentor from East London. She helps small business owners to scale their business by building profitable communities around their venture. She uses her creative background, and 25 years in community development to inspire her clients to step up and get seen.
Join her for her popular 10 day sales challenge which teaches a simple sales and marketing process to get you out of your own way when it comes to generating online sales. A Grand in Your Hand Starts on the 11th September, and there is currently an early bird of just £97…how much money could you make if you had a proper sales process and wasn’t so afraid of people saying NO.