Are you suffering from Psych-Yourself-Out-itis? : The Maker's Business Toolkit

Are you suffering from Psych-Yourself-Out-itis?

I am a longtime sufferer of Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis.

What is Psych-Yourself-Out-itis?

I’m so glad you asked.

Picture the scene. It’s January. You’re full of fire and excitement about all of your new goals for the year. This is the year it’s all going to happen.

You’re ready to start taking your business seriously. Maybe this means getting your own online shop up and running. Maybe it means expanding your customer base to other countries. Maybe it means plucking up your courage and approaching some shops and galleries to stock your work. Maybe you’re going to get started with wholesale.

You’re giddy with excitement about finally getting your business moving in the right direction.

You start to imagine all of those lovely orders coming in and you start to feel a bit uneasy.

What if you can’t pack and ship them all?
What if you’ve miscalculated your postage costs and you lose a ton of money?
What if you run out of packaging supplies?

What if you let people down?

What if your wholesale campaign is so successful that the orders just keep piling in and your lead times get massive? You don’t know if you could handle the workload.

Maybe you should spend a day searching for options on real time shipping, even though you currently only ship a couple of orders a month. Or maybe you should buy in a big stock of mailing envelopes and not pay yourself this month. Or maybe you should really look into the distance selling regulations and then spend a couple of hours bitching in Facebook Groups about how unfair they are.

Welcome, my friend, to the land of Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis.

You get yourself all excited about a new venture and, before you’ve even had a chance to get started, you begin to worry about the things that could go wrong, the mistakes you could make, the money you could lose. You start to think about what your husband or your mother or your judgmental aunt will think when it all goes wrong.

And it ends with a big act of self sabotage. You spend thousands of pounds on a trade fair and get so caught up in your stand design that you don’t have time to invite any stores you’d like to stock your work. You set up your online store but you don’t get around to promoting it.

You worry so much about what you should write in your newsletter that you don’t even bother asking your customers for their email addresses. After all, why bother until you’re ready to send something?

Your big new venture flops because you forgot to focus on the most important thing…getting started. And it’s almost a relief because you can go back to a place where you’re more comfortable, a place where there’s not the constant threat of something you don’t even know about messing it all up.

Sound familiar? I’ve been there…many, many times.

But there is another way.

I’m currently in recovery and here is my advice for dealing with Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis.

Just give it a go. Just get started.

One of the biggest problems of Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis is that you worry so much about what might happen that you don’t actually take much action. By the time you get started you’re so exhausted from all this “research” that you give it a half hearted try and then give up. You rob yourself of the energy you need to spend on actually getting the thing done by worrying about it so much.

The antidote to this is to just see what happens.

You’re a beginner at this. You’ll get it wrong. You’ll learn from it. It won’t matter. Don’t worry and just get started.

Treat everything as a learning experience.

One of the key features of Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis is perfectionism. And not just wanting everything to be as good as possible.

I mean that dread that forms in the pit of your stomach when you think about all of the terrible things that might happen if you get it wrong. That feeling that you might do something that has irrevocable consequences, something that will ruin it all.

There are definitely things that can happen to you that really suck.

 — Losing your life savings
— Giving up control of your brand and losing the right to sell under your own name

But they’re few and far between. And there’s usually a way back, even if it’s not ideal.

You’ll make mistakes. Some of them will hurt. Some might even hurt a lot. But very few of them will be truly drastic.

Put another way, it’s all just feedback. If you go to a trade show and you get no orders, it’s feedback. You may not like it but the feedback is that you and your products didn’t hit the mark and now it’s up to you to figure out why. Maybe it was your prices, maybe it was your stand design, maybe it was your product, maybe it was your terms and conditions. Maybe it wasn’t even anything to do with your work. Maybe it was feedback that this particular trade show is in decline.

Start listening and analysing the feedback that you get from all around you, all the time. And don’t take it personally. Because if you look at it objectively and try to figure out the logical next step, you have somewhere to go….somewhere other than a dark room with a bottle of tequila.

Don’t give in to distraction

Suddenly find yourself spending hours and hours researching what to do in a very specific situation which might impact 0.01% of your customers?

You’ve got Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis and you’ve got it bad.

This happened to me recently while creating an online course for my business. You may or may not know that businesses are required to add VAT to orders of digital products placed by customers within the EU and that the rules just recently changed so that VAT has to be applied at the rate in the country in which the customer is based. This means that there are potentially 28 different tax rates that need to be applied to customers from different EU member states.

Understandably I was confused and irritated by this. I didn’t really have a good idea about how I was going to deal with it and it seemed pretty complicated.

So what did I do? I dove headfirst into the rabbit hole of Google and Facebook Groups dedicated to complaining about this particular ruling. I signed petitions. I read accountants’ blogs. I researched whether webinars or a Facebook Group would exempt me. Then I researched webinars and Facebook Groups.

This nice little trip to distraction-town turned into an extended stay. And while I was there do you know what I wasn’t doing?

Yep, I wasn’t writing my course content.

And how many students did I expect from other EU countries? Maybe 1. Maybe 2.

So you see why this kind of thing isn’t helpful. And it’s a classic sign of Psych-Yourself-Out-itis.

Figure it out when it matters. Don’t get distracted by it and definitely do not spend any time in Facebook Groups complaining about things you can’t change.

So what do you think?

Are you suffering from Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis?

Got it bad? Yep, me too.

Just remember that this behaviour is entirely self sabotaging and entirely preventable.

Whenever you feel yourself getting into a “what if [enter appropriate disaster here]” mindset or getting “stuck” on something that stops you from being able to move forward with your project, stop and ask yourself if you could be suffering from Psych-Yourself-Out-Itis.

And then take a deep breath and stop it. Seriously.

I'm Nicola Taylor

I’m the founder of Maker’s Business Toolkit and I help artists, makers, and handmade business owners to make more money with less stress.

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