I work in a field that is rather niche – writing and editing business books for entrepreneurs, as well as coaching people through writing a book. I care about the end product which always creates a certain amount of insecurity—is my writing strong enough? Did I capture the client’s voice? Is this good enough? (And for me, is this better than good enough?)
There are a lot of ghostwriters and freelancers out there, more and more every day. Some are better than I am, some have more credentials. Some are worse than I am with few to no credentials. Some charge much more, some less.
I spend a lot of time trying to become better at what I do. I read, of course. I listen to a lot of online webinars from others in my niche, seeing what they offer, what the price points are, what they think people want, and what their products include.
I also look at their marketing. Who has a podcast? How many videos does so-and-so have? Should I start a Facebook community. (No, I really shouldn’t. Trust me.)
And then, there is “moving the free line.” There’s nothing quite so frustrating as working on building a comprehensive course for people and then seeing someone else is giving away a course on the same topic for free. It doesn’t matter if it is shorter or longer, more comprehensive or less, there it sits. Free. (And seriously, if you had the option of paying for a course or getting it free, wouldn’t you choose the free? At least to see what your level of interest is? I would. And often do.)
I would bet that you can find just about everything I teach online somewhere, possibly for free. And let’s get the arguments for why you buy something that you could possibly get for free out of the way. You buy it because you don’t have the time to spend hours/weeks/months tracking down all the information, vetting it (incredibly necessary on the web), and then assembling it into an orderly, usable, sequence. I can find out how to bake a cake online. I’d rather go buy a cake that’s ready to eat.
So what makes me different? Why should someone pay for my course or coaching rather than someone else’s?
Cancel Your Insecurity Right Now
Part of the difference is my own experience. I have run into writing blocks and publishing glitches and looked up every conceivable punctuation variation (numerous times) and all that is stored somewhere in my brain.
But the deciding factor is simply that our personalities mesh. All my clients are smart and have a great sense of humor. They are busy and successful, but they have balanced lives. And something about the way I put things together directly matches the way they want things put together.
What does all this have to do with you?
Not a damn thing. It’s all about me.
I talk to people every week who want to write a book but they say, “There’s already a book (or many books) about this topic.” Or “I have xx number of years of experience in the field but I don’t have an advanced degree in this. Why would anyone listen to me?” Or just, “I’m not an expert.”
You bring your own experiences and unique perspective to your field. No one has the knowledge that you have in your brain. They may have some of it, or something similar to it, but they don’t have it from your perspective. You brought yourself to your field. That means all the experiences you had from childhood on up to the point where you made the decision to go into your field brought you to that point. You are a unique collection of your life experiences.
We all have our own entry points into our respective fields. And we also have our own filters. Maybe some of these filters are bad. But some of the filters allow us to see things that others will miss. The kid who got bullied throughout school can spot a bully as an adult and predict his behavior. The person who has lost someone close to them has the knowledge that they can survive great loss and they can help others do that, too. They may have more of a long view that they carry forward into their business. Someone who played team sports can bring the perspective of team cooperation to a niche that had been previously thought of as a solo venture.
You can hear the same lesson from various teachers and not quite “get” it, especially if it’s something technical being explained by an expert. Then someone tells you basically the same information but this time it all clicks in your brain. You get it. Why? That person either explained it in a way that you related to or they added a piece of information that the “experts” overlooked because it was basic to them but key for their students. There are experts in every field and there will always be someone smarter than you are. Take heart in the fact that you are the only person who can relate the information in your unique way.
I talk about “Imposter Syndrome” in the second video of my free mini-course. It’s real and probably the only people who don’t have it either lack self-awareness or had super-parents. (Or maybe they’re just that good.) But once you realize that most people are walking around, secretly afraid they’ll be “found out” and lose their jobs, you can chalk up your insecurity to the human condition and carry forth.
Which leaves us with that other bugaboo: fear.
Fear and Loathing
It has taken me years to figure out why it is easier to market someone else or something else and so hard to market ourselves. It finally clicked. (And then I wondered why it took me so long to figure it out – or maybe just to admit it.)
It is so much easier on your ego to have someone say they’re not interested in your company’s Super-Widget than it is to have someone say they’re not interested in your book or course or coaching. What we hear when we get a no, is “I’m not interested in you. You have nothing of value to offer. Go and live in a deep dark hole; you’re not worthy of breathing our air.” (What? Just me?)
It’s the rejection that we can’t handle. If you’re selling someone else’s thing, they’re not rejecting you. When you sell yourself, it’s very, very personal. It doesn’t matter if you completed the “100 Nos Challenge” in your company sales training. You can take a million Nos if people are saying no to something other than you. But when someone says no to you, OUCH!
We are afraid of rejection. We’re afraid of putting ourselves out there. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking dating, starting our own business, writing a book, or getting up to sing Karaoke. Until you’ve done them (sometimes numerous times), you’re afraid.
Fear is what stops us from applying for that job, or taking that exotic trip, or marketing our company. It is fear of rejection. It is fear of failure. It is the fact that you have pinned your hopes on this one thing and if you don’t put it out there, it won’t fail. It will just be untried.
But that is a failure. I once read that the worst thing that could happen to a completed manuscript was not that it would be rejected. It was that it would never be submitted. It would be locked away in a drawer.
Courage is taking action in the face of fear. In that regard, I have been fortunate enough to meet many, many brave people. The small business owner who hangs in there, even though they are worried that the lights could be shut off at any minute. The artist who puts her paintings up for sale at the local arts and crafts fair. The eight year old boy who looks at another kid in his class and asks, “Will you be my friend?”
I can’t take away your fear. I can’t guarantee that you will be a resounding success. But I know if you do not answer the call to follow your dream, you will have wasted your time here on this planet. And you should be more afraid of that than any petty rejections or setbacks along the way.