If you want to make a meaningful impact online, you’ll have to do uncomfortable stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re a creator, solopreneur, or entrepreneur. You’re in for a bumpy ride. That’s all there is to it.
Therein lies a problem.
Most people (me included) aren’t good at pushing out of our comfort zones.
Our comfort zone is where we feel completely in control and safe from the unknown. It’s where routine and predictable blossom. Land of the bland.
We stay tucked in the comfort zone because it can be hell on the other side. The other side of comfort is fear, and we know how fear poisons the mind. What if I fail? What if people ridicule me? What if someone points me out, specifically, as awful?
Can you imagine? The target of people’s mockery, scorn and taunts?
Welcome to the internet of the creator.
But it’s not all that bad.
If you can get past your fear zone and into your learning zone, you acquire significant knowledge and skills. If you can harness those effectively, it’s only a matter of time until you’re in the growth zone. And once you reach the growth zone, your ability to take action accelerates as your confidence compounds.
That’s where the exciting stuff happens.
Here are 3 common questions I’m asked about getting started online and how I think about them. I hope my answers will shine some light on the reality of building online, and the benefits of overcoming your fears.
Will anyone care about the content I produce?
When you begin to put yourself out there, nobody will care. Nobody will pay attention, and very few people will show interest in what you’re doing or creating. It’s the same beginning for nearly all of us.
Here's a post from me on LinkedIn from October 9th, 2018. I got three reactions. No clue what I was doing.
Fast forward to 2021, and I've built a digital course on growing from 0 to 75k+ followers on LinkedIn, and now average 59k views and 740+ engagements per piece of content I create.
Time and learning truly changes everything.
You have to keep in mind that building online is hard and takes time. Consistency and patience are your best friends.
And if you want to increase the likelihood that people pay attention, pick a niche. Then pick a deeper niche. Start there, get good results by producing content every day. Expand later.
After some time, people will reach out to you and ask questions. Jump on Zoom calls. Pay attention to what people want to learn more about. Look for commonalities in their questions. Create content based on your learnings, and watch the number of interested people start to increase.
Will anyone ridicule me?
Probably. Someone, whether it’s your family, friends, or co-workers, will tease you the first time you begin to create content. People will see you overcoming the same insecurity they have inside, and their natural reaction is often to drag you back down. Nobody likes to be left behind.
Once you’re well established, these will be the same people that ask for your advice when they suddenly realize they’ve missed out. Instead of ridicule, it will transform into admiration. Rather than saying “Did you see what Justin is doing? LOL.”, it will turn into “I’ve known Justin forever, we’re super close…”
I’m speaking from experience.
Will someone troll me?
Definitely. No matter what you create or talk about, 10% of people will find a way to dislike what you do. Of those, another 10% are what are commonly referred to as “trolls”. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about puppies or rainbows. They will find something nasty to say.
Here’s a charming email I received after writing a simple piece of content encouraging people to keep their heads up during COVID:
So how do I handle these people? Simple. I don’t take the bait. But I do block them, without engaging at all. I treat them as they deserve to be treated - like they don’t exist.
But, on the bright side, there’s some good news that comes with attracting trolls. If you’ve built a following online, these trolls actually help push your audience closer to you. Think of how the Beyhive, Swifties, and BTS armies act when someone treats their favorite singers poorly. This will happen to you too (albeit on a micro level).
It’s an unintended positive reaction that comes from someone else’s negativity.
Getting started online is difficult. It comes with an array of challenges and self-doubts. If you’re considering putting yourself out there, here are four simple things to remember:
- In order to succeed, you must take some action. It’s either you do or do not. Binary.
- People will hurt your feelings, but in the end they will often be your greatest admirers.
- Action and growth compound, but so does fear and comfort. You’re either compounding forward or digging deeper into your comfort zone. You choose.
- The bravest people are playing the game. They are the ones putting themselves out there every single day. There is zero shame in that.
Best of luck to you out there.
P.S. I build products that help people grow on LinkedIn and create online products they can sell. And I'm on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my thoughts. To get an alert when I write a new article, you can subscribe below ↓