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

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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