It’s 6pm the night before I’m due to send my new book, Brand Brilliance, to print and I’m having something of a crisis of confidence. I’ve just started to add up the final costs for producing this book and the fear has properly kicked in. I must’ve been over those figures a dozen times. I have several spreadsheets with costs, cashflow and sales projections but I’m still having a proper freak-out.
272 edited, designed and finished pages from the book are printed out and taped to my wall. The book has been proofread by more than seven friends and family members and the whole project has taken around 7-8 solid months spread out over a two year period. I’m pretty invested in this: emotionally and financially but I’m still freaking out.
I decide to can the whole thing. If I don’t send the book to print I’ll save all that money that I’ve set aside for the print (a hefty five figure sum). Sure, I’ll still need to pay for the two editors, the photography, the location hire and the props I’ve invested in. But I will be safe. That money I’ve saved to print the books can remain in my account. Goodness, we could take a family holiday to the Caribbean, maybe two! And I won’t need to take the calculated risk that up until an hour or two ago I was perfectly happy to take.
Just to give you a little perspective: I’m a seasoned entrepreneur. I’ve founded, grown and sold a successful design business and built several more highly successful companies. I know what it takes to make a commercial success of something. I’m financially savvy (my husband might disagree here) and I’m a firm believer in following your vision and making things happen. I really shouldn’t be freaking out. And it really doesn’t make sense to abandon a project I’ve worked so hard to make happen. But at this point in time it seems to be the only thing that makes sense. Nuts, hey?
Finding the courage to take risks
Someone asked me recently on Instagram how you find the courage to take the risks and follow through on your dreams. Here’s my answer.
About an hour after my ridiculous freak out I realised I was being crazy. Of course it didn’t make sense to not publish Brand Brilliance. I thought of all the encouragement I’d had from readers of How to Style your Brand. I thought of all the anticipation surrounding this book, how so many people were really looking forward to this book. How they’ve been on this journey with me. And how this was about more than just me. This was a book that people wanted, more than that, this was a book people needed.
I reminded myself of why I was doing this in the first place. I thought about the inspiration that had kicked off this whole project. The desire to help people with more than styling their brands: a desire to help people think bigger about their businesses, to value their offering and get their customers to do the same. I thought about the impact this book would have on my readers. I imagined the stories I’d hear about the changes the book had inspired and I started to get over myself. In fact, I became more certain than ever that this was a good idea.
I imagine that my clever friend Elizabeth Cairns, editor of Brand Brilliance and amazing business-mentor will have a rational and very perceptive insight into this whole thing. Something to do with resistance challenging you to work out what you really want. I don’t know about any of that. All I know is that we all feel that fear sometimes. We all worry about following through on something we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We all worry about failure. If you’re not worrying about any of those things ever, there’s an argument that you probably aren’t pushing yourself out of your comfort zone enough or fulfilling your true potential.
So whatever it is that’s freaking you out right now, remind yourself of why you started in the first place. Find your inspiration. Be gentle with yourself. You’re totally going to nail this.