Fear of the unknown

12 July 2010

I’ve had to learn a new skill set. And I didn’t make it easy on myself.

I decided to sell downloadable products of my own creation on my website. By the end of the month, I hope, I’ll have organizing guides and an e-course for sale in a new Products section of this website. (And I’ll be offering a new coaching program.)

Creating the content was not the hard part for me. I have the organizing knowledge, and I made my living as a freelance writer for ten years prior to becoming an organizer. The content was fine. (I did have to learn to make and edit videos for the e-course, but that was fun.) It was the technical side of selling stuff on my website that was making me tear my hair out.

To accomplish this e-commerce, I needed a shopping cart service and an autoresponder, which automatically sends out emails to people who sign up. And I needed the two to talk to each other.

We had both these for Declutter Happy Hour, but my DHH partner, Shannon Wilkinson, did all the technical work on that. I was clueless.

I could have hired someone to do it for me, but I wanted to learn this technical stuff, because I hope to develop future products. So I started learning about shopping carts and autoresponders. These sites seem to have their own language — I couldn’t even understand the features and benefits they were trying to sell me when I was selecting the services.

I ended up choosing the same services we used for DHH (E-junkie for the shopping cart and AWeber for the autoresponder). That way, I could ask Shannon for help. So I had to learn how to use each service and then I had to learn how to get them working together.

I found myself procrastinating like crazy on this. When I tried to work on it, I’d feel kind of dense, which I hate. I felt a little bit helpless, too. I couldn’t find the right understandable resources. So instead of diving in, I’d dip my toe in the water, find it really cold, and retreat.

The timing of my procrastination turned out to be fortuitious, because the aforementioned Shannon Wilkinson offered a telecourse with tech guru Wendy Cholbi called Love Your List all about using AWeber and getting past the negative feelings that using AWeber can sometimes bring up. (That class is over now, but it’s available as a home-study course.)

So the fog started to clear and I started to understand the AWeber part of the equation and get my questions answered. And I started to learn the E-junkie part and was able to add my products. Then I just had to tackle the E-junkie/AWeber integration. With Shannon’s help, I figured it out.

And, finally, we’re getting to the point of this long post. I discovered that once I understood what I was doing, I actually looked forward to doing the work. In fact. I actually sort of enjoyed this tech stuff. I felt empowered. And thrilled that I was making progress on getting these products up for sale. (Soon, soon.)

So why was I procrastinating so much? I think it was the fear of the unknown. I was afraid to find out what I didn’t know. Or afraid that I’d put all this work into it and then end up deciding I just couldn’t do it myself. Or afraid that once I learned how to do it, it would such a giant pain in the butt my life would be miserable.

Those are all pretty irrational fears, really. But they can be so powerful. And it’s all under the radar; I didn’t really realize that’s why I was procrastinating. If I had, I might have been able to rationalize them away. Or I might have booked an appointment with Shannon, because personal fear taming is the exact thing she does.

So what lessons have I learned? I hope that next time I’m procrastinating on something that makes me feel stupid or helpless that I’ll remember that once I get past that hump, I might even enjoy it. And that there’s little benefit to putting off the work needed to get past the hump.

I hope I’ll look back on this and remember how empowered I felt by learning something so foreign to me. And I’ll get on with the process of learning, rather than retreating in frustration.

Fear of the unknown. It’s powerful stuff. But getting past that fear is even more powerful.

Most of the links above are affiliate links, which means I get a cut of the sale if you click one of the links and end up purchasing something. I’m setting up an affiliate program for my new products. If you’re interested in being a part of it, please contact me.

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Oh, Janine, I know exactly what you mean. I’m lucky enough to have a web-savvy person on whom I can call, but the fear that bubbles up when something doesn’t come naturally can really rattle the cage. Good for you for finding a path and sticking with it. I use Aweber for my newsletter but Payloadz for my sales/autoresponder, specifically because I didn’t have the stamina (at the time) to learn something too new and scary. You’re a champion! You know what they say— learn one, do one, teach one!

Julie Bestry 07/13/2010 08:00 PM

Julie, I think you hit the nail on the head—this stuff didn’t come naturally, so I really resisted it. You and I make our living helping other people with something that comes naturally to us (organizing) and it’s really easy to stick to the easy stuff. But it can be really rewarding to take on the new and scary stuff!

Thanks so much for your kind comment.

Janine Adams 08/09/2010 07:49 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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