Why the fear of failure never really goes away… even after 17 years of self employment

Posted on , by Sarah Townsend in Blog, Freelance work no comments
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Everyone in business has at least one task they KNOW they should be doing but they just get stuck, right? For me, it was launching my own newsletter.

C’mon – a copywriter who can’t write a newsletter? You’re kidding, right?

Don’t get me wrong – of course I can write a newsletter. I’ve been writing them for over 25 years, yet somehow writing my own was too big, too scary a prospect, too much of a commitment… so many excuses, so little time.

I came up with the idea of the Clever Copy Club at the start of 2016. I knew I wanted to share helpful tips that anyone could use to improve their writing, rather than hammering home the benefits of working with a copywriter (that’s a whole other blog post).

Mail what now?!

Hell, I’d even designed and written the first issue as long ago as April. I didn’t have the first clue how MailChimp worked so I had to sweet talk my way to some training (thanks, www.hellopippin.co.uk) and start pulling together a database of contacts I’d built up over 17 years as a freelance copywriter. That in itself was a gargantuan task.

Yet even having got that far, there was never the right time… I’m just too busy – I can’t deal with all the work a newsletter is going to bring in. I’m away for a week… and then two. And what if… yadda yadda.

You get it, don’t you? I was frozen in perfectionist agony. Nothing more, nothing less than good old paralyzing fear. A copywriter with perfectionist tendencies: great from the point of view of my clients. From my perspective, not so much.

Issue one: done

Long story short – and an unfeasible amount of procrastination later – I finally hit the SEND button this week. Out went issue one, winging its electronic way to over 650 people. I can’t even begin to describe the fear… what if everyone HATES it? What if I become known as the copywriter with the rubbish newsletter? What if they all unsubscribe?! How will I live with myself?!?

Within an hour of hitting send, my heart was racing, my chest was tight… and I was on a mission to buy Rescue Remedy. I kid you not.

But you know what? I survived. In fact, I think I can even say I feel good. I wasn’t expecting miracles – the miracle was just getting it done.

Two days on, I have:

  • a 48.6 per cent open rate
  • a 8.2 per cent click rate
  • six meetings booked
  • two confirmed pieces of work
  • no less than 24 “well done – love it!” emails and tweets

After baring my soul – and my insecurities – to the world, I guess the moral of the story is this: just do it*. Whatever you’re stuck on, remember – it doesn’t have to be perfect, or life-changing, or revolutionary. Sometimes good enough really is good enough.

*thanks, Nike.

You knew I’d sign off with a plug, right?! How could I not. For monthly tips and language love direct to your inbox, sign up for the Clever Copy Club. “Once a month: no more, no less” the strapline says. God knows *someone* needs to hold me accountable to that 🙂

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