Business marketing

Fear of marketing and how to fix it

- August 21, 2017 4 MIN READ

Been dilly-dallying or making excuses rather than marketing your business? Let’s figure out what you’re really avoiding, and get you past your fear of marketing.

Fear of marketing your business can take many forms, from procrastination and time wasting to feeble excuses and half-hearted efforts.

In my experience, you won’t get past any of them until you explore why you’re holding yourself (and your business) back.

Resistance has a single-minded purpose: to keep you safe from harm. In fact it’s often referred to as being an aspect of our ‘lizard brain’ because it’s a facet of human nature that’s seen as harking back to that stage in human evolution when safety and survival were the ONLY things that mattered.

This resistance denies you exciting adventures, but as far as your subconscious is concerned, that’s a small price to pay for safety, security and predictability.

So, it’s only natural that activities aimed at changing the status quo by growing your business or putting it in the spotlight may make some aspects of your psyche want to put the brakes on.

However, you really do need to put yourself out there if your business is going to thrive – and that means seeing your resistance for what it is, and deciding that it’s not going to stop you from getting on with your marketing.

Everyone’s demons are different, and resistance is a master at disguising itself, so you’re likely to need to dig deep to work out exactly what’s going on for you.

Below are three of the most common ways I’ve seen fear of marketing manifest. As you make your way through the list, pay attention to your responses to each of them; if something makes you squirmy or triggers the urge to click away, we may just have touched a nerve!

Push through and be rewarded with new insights, plus tips on training your lizard brain to be a force for good rather than a party pooper. (Spoiler alert: We’ll do that by respecting its safety-seeking mission and using it to help formulate your marketing strategy).

Fear of being shamed

Shame is one of our most feared emotions, and something we’ll go well and truly out of our way to avoid.

When it comes to marketing, many soloists I’ve worked with have been held back by fearing that they’ll end up looking foolish, coming across as up themselves, or being exposed as not knowing what they’re doing (so-called imposter syndrome).

When all’s said and done, each of these boils down to a fear of being shamed – and that can result in issues like chronic procrastination, analysis-paralysis and lack of commitment and follow through.

Antidote: Make a promise to yourself and your lizard brain that you’ll only ever market with integrity and in a way that you can be proud of. Reassure your resistant self that he or she is more than welcome to speak up if you ever step over the line that you draw in the sand, and that you’ll be deeply grateful if they would act as that safeguard for you. For practical tips on what to do next, check out my article on marketing your business without feeling like a jerk.

Fear of success

What does success look like for you? Many soloists have goals that encompass ambitions around their income, profile in their industry and contribution to the world.

Deep down though, big dreams are often seen as only being achievable when we’re prepared to swallow some kind of bitter pill, whether that’s working long hours, spending time away from your kids, or having to be ‘perfect’ all the time.

When there’s an internal tug-of-war going on about whether succeeding is actually a good thing, your inner lizard is likely to choose maintaining the status quo over pushing forward towards an outcome that seems risky, leaving you somewhat reluctant to knuckle down and get on with the marketing that will help you reach your targets.

Antidote: Take time out to consider what success looks like for you from all angles, perhaps involving your partner and kids if that feels appropriate. Adjust your goals to ones that feel entirely positive rather than tainted by trade-offs, and you’ll soon start to feel more compelled to move towards them. And take a few moments to thank your lizard for preventing you from going too far down a path that wasn’t right for you after all.

Fear of wasting limited resources

The lizard in your brain lives in a constant state of anxiety that you won’t survive, and consequently hoards every resource s/he has, just in case times in the future are (even) worse than they are now.

This mentality of desperation often results in reluctance to spend time or money without a certain return – and we all know there are no guarantees when it comes to marketing!

Antidote: Take an honest look at the amount of time and money you have available, and decide how much of it you can invest in marketing right now without making yourself, your business or your resistance uncomfortable regardless of the outcome. Then decide to invest even less than that, and treat your marketing forays as a series of experiments in which you learn what works and what doesn’t with the goal of equipping yourself to set a slow and steady course for growth over the long-term. Once you’re more confident, reconsider your budget and ask yourself and your lizard brain whether you’re ready to step things up a notch. (TIP: This approach works best when used with forms of marketing like social media advertising that allow you to start with a very small budget and then quickly and consistently track both your activity and your results).

Have you been resisting marketing your business? Tell us about your experience and how you pushed through your fear of marketing.