A few months ago we were chatting with a fellow founder when she expressed an all-too-familiar concern: “I want to grow my online presence but I’m scared”.
What was she scared of? Being judged. What other people might think. What if she said something people didn’t like?! The list goes on…
This fear is - unfortunately - all too common. Many talented people shy away from building an audience because of it. We know because we have felt it too.
However, this fear isn’t real. It exists only in our heads. It’s self-sabotaging at its finest: you’re too afraid to post because you don’t want to be judged, which prevents you from accessing the opportunities and social capital you need to achieve your goals. Meanwhile, you watch people just like you taking their careers to the next level, all because they were able to silence the little voice in their heads and get started…
It doesn’t sound fair. And it isn’t. But guess what? You can do this too. There’s no reason you cannot be the next Harry Stebbings, Packy McCormick or Amanda Natividad. All you need to do is shush the negative voice and start building an audience.
Easier said than done? Here are some tips to help you overcome your fear:
Pretend you’re talking to a friend
It's understandable to feel nervous about sharing your thoughts online, as it can be a vulnerable experience to share them with a wide audience. We’ve all experienced the sneaking feeling of fear related to it. However, there’s a way around it.
If you’re just getting started, chances are you don’t have much of an audience. This can be a good thing, as it means that few people will see your content. This will allow you to experiment until you find your own voice.
To overcome the initial hurdle of getting started, write each post as if you’re talking to a friend. What advice would you give them? What knowledge will they find interesting? Share that as if you would only with someone you know well. You can even restrict who sees your posts in the beginning and get feedback from your friends until you gain confidence to go public with your thoughts. This will also allow you to build the creative muscle needed to generate content day after day :)
Imagine the worst case scenario
Contrary to what you might think, the worst case scenario for sharing your thoughts online is not an uproar that gets you canceled. It’s silence.
The worst thing that can happen is that nobody sees or engages with your content. This may sound discouraging, but it’s also empowering. If there’s a strong chance that no one sees your content, why would you care of anyone judging you?!
This means you’re free to share your knowledge, interests and expertise without worrying what people might think. And if they do see it? All the better. Any reaction is better than no reaction at all. As long as people are talking about you and your content - whether they agree or disagree - you are attracting attention your way, which means a higher likelihood of meeting like-minded people and accessing opportunities you never dreamed of.
Find or create a community
A lot of things in life are better when shared. Ideas are just one example.
If you’re new to the content game, it’s good to remember there’s strength in numbers. You can create a group with friends who are also interested in building audiences to keep each other accountable and engage with each other’s content. This way you get two birds with one stone: you get started with your content creation journey and your content gets engagement.
And if creating your own group seems like too much effort, you can always join existing communities that help propel you into action. Such communities will help you build the habit of creating content over time, while equipping you with a group of people to hype you up and keep you going when you want to give up.
Or - if you want to add an in-person twist to your content game - Salley might be just what you’re looking for ;)
Now that you have the tools, it’s time to tell that voice to keep quiet. Creativity leaves no place for self-doubt.