My second home based business was a great freelance graphic design business. I ran it for 4 years from home, never took on any debt, and made money every year (until the end… but that’s another story). There were several times in which I tried to figure out how to grow the company without taking on more clients - and the obvious solution was to subcontract some of my work out to other freelancers.
This worked for a while, but I found that I was a
little lot outside of my comfort zone to delegate work - especially work that had “my name on it”. I wanted to run the show - wanted to maintain control. At the time, I knew I was dealing with an internal struggle - and deducted that I was just afraid of failing :: that if I didn’t control all of the pieces of the puzzle, something would go terribly wrong.
So I eventually stopped trying.
It wasn’t until few years later that I realized that perhaps it wasn’t fear of failure at all. In fact, I was damn good at failing :: I failed to follow up on a ton of leads, failed to grow my business to the level I wanted, failed to manage my time efficiently, and in the end the burnout got to me and I ended up closing my doors (which may or may not be considered a failure - for me, it truly was the right time to move on).
It was a dear friend who helped me to see that failing was indeed comfortable for me. What I was actually afraid of was becoming a success. Megan over at eBay Selling for eParents wrote a heartfelt post about this yesterday. And instead of buttoning up her article, she left it open ended and asked for some input from others.
So here’s what I have found. Becoming successful has a whole slew of perceived baggage that comes with it: I feared that if I became hugely successful…
- Friendships and relationships would change because I would become more successful than the people I loved
- That success would go to my head and I would become a raving bi*ch (hahaha)
- That I would become materialistic and spend a lot of money on things that I didn’t need
- That I would teach my children that success is more important than relationships
- That once I became successful I was going to have to be perfect all of the time, because that’s what people would expect of me
When it came right down to it, being super-successful was so darn foreign to me that the uncertainty that it caused was more frightening than just staying in my ho-hum business and never getting anywhere.