Here's the thing: Holding your nerve

hold your nerveEvery Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.

It’s official less than three months (less than 90 days!) until the Big Day. The upcoming days and nights are likely to be the biggest you’ll see all year. They have the potential to launch you into a different level of business. They could change your destiny. They’re the days that have the biggest risk and biggest reward.

Right now, today, this week, and for about the next month, is a crunch point. It’s like the calm before the storm, and it can be incredibly unnerving.

You’ve spent all your cash on stock. You need to order more stock, if you’re going to have enough. But you worry that those forecasts you’ve worked on, or your hopes and dreams, are too big. The orders aren’t really going to match it. The stock you’re ordering – twice, thrice, or more times what you normally order – is still going to be here in six months to a year, because it isn’t really going to sell.

You’ve found staff, you’ve committed to paying staff, but soon they’re going to have done all the prep they can possibly do, and then they’re going to be sat around, costing you money, with tumbleweeds all around waiting for the orders to roll in.

These are the conversations I’ve had with clients this week, and things I’ve seen and heard over the past six years. Maybe you’re not quite there yet, maybe you have enough *stuff* to do before you get to this point. Come back next week, or the week after. Because you’ll feel it. That scary tipping point of commitment before you can be sure it’ll pay off.

This moment, right now, is kind of an act of faith. That you’ve created products, services, websites, product pages that are going to draw people in and generate sales. That you’ve invested in the “right” things.

It’s a moment where doubt creeps in, and fear can grab a nasty hold.

Let’s do a little sense check to calm the doubt and fear:

  • Do you have a brand that customers have connected with, even a little bit, over the past months/years?
  • Are your products the best you have to offer? Not perfect, but good, interesting, different?
  • Have you shown them off as best you can? Clear photos, thorough and interesting product descriptions?
  • Have you got yourself a little marketing plan? Newsletters to your subscribers, features in press or online, social media plans?
  • Do the numbers make some kind of sense? Do you have forecasts that allow you to re-think as we get through the next couple of months?
  • Have you been clear with staff that you might need more from them if it gets busy? You don’t have to get them in at maximum capacity straight away.

Now, when you read through that list, I want you think about the perfectly imperfect, the progress not perfection attitude. Your products and photos may have flaws. If you’ve done everything else, and there’s still a photography niggle, then have another go. But if you go into a fear-based flurry to organise a reshoot of everything in your shop, please pause. Prioritise.

So here’s the thing:

The key distinction you need to make at this point is the difference between paranoia, fear, doubt and legitimate tasks to complete, improvements to make. And that requires you to tune into what the reality of the task is. So deep breath, make a list, review the list.

(And if you need a second opinion, email me.)

It’s about holding your nerve. Believing you’ve done your best, checking you’ve covered all bases. Committing to yourself, to your products, to your customers.

It’s not easy to do it all by yourself. I know! If this post resonates, I can assure you: you’re not alone.

And it feels a little bit weird to be offering something up when I know cash flow can be a little tight, but this time next month, I’ll be starting the journey of sending out three emails a week to my lovely Progress not perfection people. These emails, this course, is a whole load of reassuring, practical, supportive advice and reminders. It won’t break the bank (promise!) but it will give you something to lean on when things are busy.

Pop over here to read about the full course and sign up. I’m even offering the option to get a weekly care package of nice stuff in the post. I’m so excited about this course, and about supporting you during the busiest weeks of the year.

And if you have any questions, just ask!

Jx

 

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