If you’re stuck somewhere along the way on your product creation journey then you’ve arrived at the right place.
Emma Jefferys, AKA Action Woman is a qualified coach, NLP practitioner and Emotional Intelligence expert. Her speciality is helping you get out of your own way.
We’re going to cover some of the most common reasons for not following through with product creation and how you can overcome them.
Why would anyone even buy my product? Why should I even bother?
This is such a great example of a limiting belief.
We all have a belief system that we’ve developed over the years and it guides us on a daily basis. We have to remind ourselves those beliefs aren’t truths or facts, they’re just stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world around us and to keep us safe. Yet, as adults, sometimes those stories don’t keep us safe anymore, they just hold us back.
The great news about beliefs is we can challenge them, question them and change them. I would encourage you to step outside of your own head space and just look more objectively. Quite quickly you can see how ‘why would anyone buy my product” is a ridiculous question to hold in your head.
Do people buy products? Yes. Do people buy products like yours (assuming that you haven’t invented something completely groundbreaking)? Yes. Why do people buy products like this? Well is it useful, does it make you look good, does it make you feel good, what’s the benefit of the product? Starting to look more objectively, does the product offer something to the world? (Even if it’s something that feels fairly small.) Starting to put some of the evidence down starts to break down the story you’ve created in your head.
If you’ve got a really good product idea and let’s imagine that product is going to make thousands of people’s life easier then I would encourage you to say who are you to stand in the way of that product going to market?
Or, have you actually got genuine concerns? Is this a really helpful warning bell? Maybe there are some product kinks that need ironing out before it’s good enough? In which case, get them out, get them onto paper and then you can do something about it.
My advice to people always is to just get started. If you’re not sure whether you’ve got a good idea or not, the best thing you can do is actually go out and ask people. Find people who are your likely customers and say to them, “I’m thinking of creating this, what do you think?” (Here’s a helpful blog post on this topic.)
The other thing I’d say, what’s the worst thing that could happen? If you put a product onto Amazon and you get bad reviews, surely that’s a chance to apply a growth mindset – what can I learn from this, what can I do better next time, what’s the next iteration of this product?
You can’t go out and sell something that you don’t believe in so this is a really important thought to overcome.
What will people think when I tell them I’m doing this? I’m worried my friends, family or colleagues will judge me or put me down
This one comes up so much, in so many different ways, and it is the most liberating concept that you can get your head around if you can accept that what other people think of you and what you are doing is absolutely none of your business.
That can be a really hard concept, but it’s so true. The only person that needs to be happy with what you’re doing is you. Most of us spend too much time worrying that other people think things about us and actually most people are too busy wrapped up in their own stuff.
It just matters that you stay authentic to yourself, that you do what feels right for you. If it’s good advice you might want to take it onboard, but if it’s someone just casting doubt over your venture then stay true to yourself. Don’t give your power away.
People will always have lots of thoughts about lots of things and they’re actually irrelevant to your choices and your decisions. When speaking with clients, I listen very carefully for the word ‘should’. Listen to what’s going on in your head. If you’re constantly thinking I should do this or I should do that, then just be aware that that word is often about meeting the expectations of others.
So why should you do it? Is it because your competitors are? Is it because your Mum thinks you should? Is it because it looks like that’s what everybody else is doing? That’s the time to kind of come back to what do I want to do? Connect with yourself, be true to yourself and own your own journey. I think you can lose the fear of telling other people when you realise that their reaction to it doesn’t change anything
If you’re someone who does find it difficult to shake off other people’s reactions, irrespective of the fact that that’s about them and not about you, then you can do what I refer to as the Shawshank model.
The Shawshank Model
You can secretly and diligently crack on with your business and then when you’re ready you pop up the other side and there’s a big kind of ta dah moment as you’ve tunneled underneath everybody. If you’re someone struggles with the energy from other people and might get derailed, you don’t have to tell people. You can work on it, keep focused, keep your circle small and then actually surprise everyone when you come out the other side. You find out what works for you. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops before you’re ready
I’m a big fan of talking to people about your product before you launch it but your friends and your family might not be the best people to talk to anyway. One because they might not be your ideal customer, but also if you feel they’re not going to be supportive they’re not the best people to talk to.
I don’t have the right experience. I’ve never worked in retail or product development and don’t have the right background
I [Vicki] didn’t either. I’ve never worked in retail before, I’d worked a variety of jobs but none of them were obvious fits to doing what I do now. However I do believe that whatever you’ve done, there’s going to be elements of your experience or your personality that will mean that you can absolutely succeed at this. In my example, I did a lot of writing in my previous life that really helps when it comes to things like writing product descriptions, because I’ve got a lot of writing experience. Some things I’m not so good at but you learn as you go.
Whatever you’ve done up until this point you have experience, you have knowledge, you have skills and you have attributes that will help you succeed.
This is another limiting belief. If you tell yourself you don’t have the right experience, you’ve just closed the box down before you’ve even started.
There’s something really interesting about this because this is a belief that gets worse the older you get. So if you can think about being 19 again, you didn’t go “oh well I can’t get a job and I can’t get promoted and I can’t buy a house and I can’t have kids and I can’t get married because I’ve never done any of that stuff before”. You dreamed of that life, whatever that life was, and you went out, you made it happen and you figured it out on the way. You trusted that you’d have all the resources (either your own or drawing on those of others) to make that happen.
Neurologically, from about 30, we then start doing this really weird thing where we start drawing on our past as proof of our future. So we go “what have we done already because that will define what I can and can’t do now.” That suddenly limits us right? Because if you’re only just drawing from what you’ve done before, suddenly you’re back in that box.
This is an element of this is imposter syndrome. There’s kind of an expert persona in imposter syndrome where people think unless I know absolutely everything on the subject I’m not qualified to start. This makes no sense when you say it out loud (which is why it’s good to say things out loud!) that you have to have proven you can do it before you’ve even started. This clearly makes no sense because everybody is inexperienced until they’ve done it.
I would encourage you to look more creatively and broadly at your skills. What have you got that you could draw on? Are you creative and really good at problem solving? Are you really patient and determined? Are you great at communicating? Maybe you’re a book worm right, you love research and that’s your thing. You’ve already got skills that can help you, you’re just not seeing them in the right light
I have three tips to add here:
1. Get specific. Face it head on.
When you say I don’t have the right experience, or I don’t know what I’m doing, what do you need to know? Break it down. What do you need to know, who do you need to speak to, where could you get that information? If you can get action orientated about that then quite quickly that fear goes away.
2. Break it down
Perhaps this whole new venture feels really overwhelming and scary, but if you chunk it down then you can just do one thing. What’s the smallest, tiniest step that you can do?
What’s the one action that could take you forward? Do that, and when you’re done you look at the next step.
Focus only on the next step ahead of you and don’t worry too much about the big picture
3. Engage your curiosity
One of the most powerful things you can do is to suspend the disbelief. I don’t know if you can do it or not, and actually you don’t know if you can do it or not because you haven’t done it. Rather than tell yourself you can’t, how about introducing a sense of wonder? I love the question “I wonder if I can do this?” “I wonder if I can create a best selling product by Christmas?” Suddenly that changes the energy.
Finally, remember, you don’t need to be an inventor; you don’t need special qualifications to create a product. If you look at the founders of any products out there, they’ve all come from such varied backgrounds. There’s no specific skillset that you need to have because anything that you don’t know you can learn, or you can draw upon other people to help you.
I don’t have the time right now, or I’m not ready yet.
Good old procrastination at its best right? People procrastinate for so many reasons but in this case, this is a staying safe thing. This is, if I fill my life with all the little things, particularly little things that don’t really matter to me, I will be able to avoid the big thing that does really matter to me but scares me.
You keep yourself safe, you keep yourself busy and you don’t drop the dream, but you just put it slightly out of reach so that you don’t have to deal with the difficult emotions and feelings right now. If you really want to do something you’ll make time and if you don’t you’ll make excuses.
Get creative with your time
I think it’s recognising that if you do make a decision to start now, I suggest you think creatively about your time. What time have you got? Have you got 10 minutes? Have you got half an hour? Could you get up earlier? Could you use Sunday afternoon?
You can get creative about how you can show up for your dreams once you’ve decided you’re going to make them happen. In order to decide to go for it, you’ve got to believe in yourself, you’ve got to not worry about whether it works first time, or whether you need to have some iterations. You’ve got to not worry about what people think, you’ve got to trust that you’ll figure everything out on the way, but I think you’ve also got to connect with why this matters to you in the first place and why you want to do this.
There’s a really good coaching exercise that connects you with your intrinsic motivation. It paints a picture of what have you got to lose by going for it, and what have you got to gain? Actually you’ve normally got more to lose by staying where you are than you have for going for this thing and figuring it out on the way.
If you bring the focus back to just showing up and doing one thing and being able to tick that off and then you get up the next day and you tick off the next thing, even if that’s 10 minutes when the kettle’s boiling, one day you wake up and your product’s listed on Amazon. I think that’s a really helpful way to look at it which is just bringing it down to showing up and doing something and taking the thoughts away from the final goal
A massive part of coaching is an accountability partner – who could keep you accountable? Who could you confide in and check in with and use to help keep you on track? Once you put this out there and commit to it, how do you make sure you show up for yourself? If you have that person who can just check in that can be really helpful so maybe think about who your team around you are.
Emma and I really hope this helped you. Our challenge to you is can you do one small thing, in the next 24 hours, to move forward? Comment below with what you’ve done, so we can celebrate with you!