What To Do When You’re Too Down To Market

Recently, I had a MYOB friend tell me how my specialty of anxiety in counseling crossed over to my work with MYOB. She said, “Your specialty is helping anxious people, whether anxious in the clinical sense or anxious about their businesses.” It startled me, because I had never thought of it that way, but she was right! I focus on this myself in my business and marketing training because I understand how fear of failure can paralyze your efforts in your business. I often tell the tale of how it was when I first started my practice – when I struggled to make ends meet and would wake up at night staring at the ceiling, just picturing all the ways my failures could lead us to financial ruin. When you feel down and anxious, it’s hard to have the emotional energy for marketing. Unfortunately, that’s also usually when you most need to do it. worried-girl-413690_1280 So what do you do when you need to market yourself, but you feel:
  • Worried
  • Preoccupied
  • Distracted
  • Lost
  • Confused
  • Disappointed
  • Frustrated
  • Depressed
  • Tired
  • Anxious
  • And more?
First, give yourself a little grace. It’s hard running a private practice – especially if you’ve recently started, come back after a break, changed specialties or locations, or undergone another change. It’s natural to be stressed at change, and though you don’t want it to control you, having a little moment of letting yourself feel what you’re feeling can allow you to move forward. Second, take stock of the nature of your worries. What’s the root fear or cause? If you feel you’ve been more anxious about your business (restless thoughts, racing heart, alternating forgetfulness/hyperfocus, insomnia, etc.) you’re dealing with a root fear. Fear of failure, fear of financial losses, fear of not being good enough, and the like. If you have been feeling more depressed about your business (as an extension of having clinical depression yourself, or if you’re feeling more tired, sad, distracted, emotional, etc.) you are more likely dealing with feeling helpless, overwhelmed, or inadequate. Third, practice a little cognitive-behavioral therapy on yourself based on what you just learned about the nature of your stress. If you have a root fear, look at what that fear is about, and ask yourself some questions:
  • Is this fear based on a realistic appraisal of the situation? It’s perfectly understandable to fear that your business won’t grow and that you’ll be out on the streets, but is it realistic in your situation? What would you say about any other business owner in a similar situation?
  • If you’re fearful about money, have you decided whether or not you’re willing to do any other job over having your own business? Because if you are, you might not be the best fit for private practice, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be right for everyone. But if you do want the dream of having your own business then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make the money work. Even if you need to take another job, but still work on the private practice, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find out how to make ends meet with time and strategy. It doesn’t come without work – but you can get there!
  • If you’re fearful of not being good enough, remind yourself that you have a degree, a state license, you’ve been through supervision, and you care. Everyone has to start somewhere, and even when you make mistakes – because you will – you can still do this!!!! You have what it takes.
If you’ve been feeling down or depressed, try these things to help encourage you:
  • Get an accountability partner who you can make plans with and check in with, who will help you laugh and get things done when you’re feeling discouraged.
  • Get organized. Make a list of what you feel you need to do for your business. Afterwards, look at it critically and cross off anything that you’re imposing on yourself that really doesn’t need to get done. (Hint: At this critical stage, if it doesn’t lay groundwork for earning income or directly contribute to earning income, you may want to lose it! You can always pick it back up later on when emotional energy isn’t so scarce.) Then, number the things on your list based on either (a) importance or (b) difficulty of implementation. Start with the the most important or the easiest to complete, and take on a little bit at a time to make it all happen.
  • Plan self-care activities once a day, every day. Without renewal, you won’t keep going.
woman-634450_1280 Fourth, let yourself get the appropriate help you need.
  • Find your own counselor to help deal with what you’re going through. I think all counselors should get counseling themselves at one point or another, and I know many of you agree. 
  • Work with a business coach. We trained with licensed counselors to become counselors ourselves, why would we not seek out business experts to help us when we’re stuck in business?
  • Take a business class or update the tools and resources you use for your business to make it run more easily. A practice management system can save you time making phone calls and organizing your notes. A class on blogging or writing copy can improve the quality of your website, leading to more clients calling in for appointments.
  • Tell your friends or family you’re feeling discouraged and you’re in need of some positive words. Some of us will never want to do this. But your family and friends want to be there for you – they want to help! Let them. 
  • And of course, lean on MYOB for advice, ideas and inspiration! Our Facebook group is private and members must be approved so that you can safely share your needs and get help from the community. While we’re not a substitute for legal advice, professional coaching or counseling, we are here to help each other, so that none of you have to go it alone. Take advantage of it!!
  It’s normal to feel down sometimes. It’s a big job, what you do. You’re performing the job of a full-time counselor…a full-time business owner…a full-time marketing department…and a lot more! You can do it…and you don’t have to do to it alone. When you feel “too down to market,” we’re here to help. 

Comments on What To Do When You’re Too Down To Market

  1. Liza says:

    Great article. Perfect timing for me. I opened my own private practice last month and I get moments when I get scared. I’ve already started seeing clients and I’m focusing on letting people know I’m here to help through networking, online marketing, etc. I’ve done all of your suggestions and they really work. I’ve also been using a lot of affirmations to remind myself that I got this! We already teach our clients how to do this, and during times of uncertainty, we have to do as we preach.
    Thank you.

  2. Kathie says:

    Awesomeness Stephanie!! I’ll be printing this one out…

  3. Thanks for posting this! It’s things I know and circle back to but just knowing that others in private practice go through this is reassuring. I’m always putting on my happy face when talking about my practice and sometimes that’s so hard!

Comments are Closed