I have aviophobia, in other words I have a crippling fear of flying.

Most of us have a phobia of something. My brother is scared of heights, my sister cries when she sees a spider and my partner is scared of the vacuum cleaner (okay that one isn’t exactly true, but he might as well be as he’s managed to avoid ever using one!)

When I was younger, the excitement of going on holiday masked my worries about being trapped in a big metal box rocketing through thin air. However, as I’ve got older, I’ve managed to find more excuses to just travel in the UK and avoid any form of aircraft.

This has been my seemingly-successful coping strategy, until recently. My partner booked a surprise trip to New York (he might not vacuum the house but he makes up for it in other ways!) The thought of the trip filled me with happiness and excitement… and dread.

An 8-hour flight. I don’t think I can do this.

This feeling of panic has made me think about how I handle fear in other areas of my life. When I first set up my business, my excitement and positivity about how it was going to grow overwhelmed any fears of what may go wrong. Now that I have been a business owner for several years, I find myself shying away from anything that appears daunting and just sticking with what I am comfortable with.

But in the same way that avoiding flying only limits you and the experiences you can have in your life, avoiding those scary business opportunities will hold back your business!

So here are some things we can do in the next month to push ourselves and grow our businesses:

Visit a new networking group

Networking is something we all know helps our business. We make contacts, meet potential clients, share advice and get tips on running a business in our local area. Once you have settled into one particular group it can be impossible to persuade yourself to visit a different group and relive that role as a newbie.

Face that fear: set yourself the goal of going to one new networking group as a visitor and you will come away with fresh contacts and new knowledge.

Need some advice on networking? Read Networking Associate Anna Botsford’s fantastic tips!

Branch out

As entrepreneurs, many of us regularly have new business ideas. Some ideas are wacky and some have the potential to be great; however, we are comfortable with what we do. We know what we are doing, and we know that it works so we tend not to persist with our new ideas.

Take that leap of faith and invest in your ideas. You did it once and now have a successful business; who knows what could happen next!

Get your name out there

During the first year of running my business I did everything I could think of to get my name known. Social media marketing plans, flyers, business expos, branded merchandise, networking lunches, sponsoring events, guest blogging, and so on. Some of these ideas worked and some didn’t, but it all led to the loyal client base that I have today.

Don’t worry about putting your business in front of people- use your experience of what marketing techniques work for your business to avoid wasting time and money. For me, flyers didn’t bring me any leads, but every time that I went and met people face-to-face I would add a new client to my books. Have confidence in what works for your business and you will reap the rewards.

 

So, I am changing my mindset around fear. It is time to stop putting off the things that scare us, and instead prioritise the feeling of excitement about trying something new.

Now that I am focusing on what can go right, I can’t wait to be running around New York as an English tourist, and when I get home I can’t wait to network, branch out and get my name out there and see where it takes my business!