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You’ve got an idea for a creative business that you’re excited about and has you dreaming about leaving your corporate 9-5 so you can spend your days building your business, but something stops you.

Every. Single. Time.

What if it doesn’t work?

Can I make money doing this?

Sound familiar?

Call it what you want…your inner critic, devil’s advocate, gremlin, or any other pet name you’ve got for it. This is the voice that stops you in your tracks and keeps you stuck where you are. It shows up in all shapes and forms, but the message you receive is clear and concise.  

YOU’RE. NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH.

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These thoughts are extremely difficult to ignore, but when you pay attention to them, you are fueling their impact and letting them influence your outcome. The voice prevents you from taking a step toward your dream goals unless you can find a way to push past it and silence the narrative. 

And all of us have one. Honestly. Regardless of how pulled together someone appears to be, I promise you that gremlins live in every single one of us. And they are smart. They know exactly what to say to knock you down and take the wind right out of your sails.  

They know because you made them. You created them as a form of self-preservation. They act as a tool to keep you from taking risks that could result in embarrassment, humiliation, or worse, failure. 

The first step to minimizing the message your gremlin sends you is to face it head-on and identify what your gremlin is saying. 

You’re not smart enough?  You’re not talented enough?  You’re not experienced enough? 

What is it saying?  

Because whatever it’s saying is coming from an extremely emotionally charged part of you. A part of you that is blocking your progress. A part of you that is trying to keep you ‘safe’.   

Next, build clarity around the message. Start to take note of when it speaks up. For example, is it related to a specific activity that seems completely out of your comfort zone…something that makes you think ‘I could never pull that off!’  

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Pay attention to the feelings you are having when these thoughts come up. Based on my best guess, I’d say they are associated with self-doubt, insecurity, and lack of confidence.  

The important thing here to remember is you created this voice. This voice exists because, at some point or another, you felt you needed it to keep you safe. And in order to keep you safe, it is trying to prevent you from doing whatever it is you’re thinking about doing.  

You might be asking yourself ‘But, how do I push back and stay inspired to get after my goal?’

Talk back to it. Figure out what to say that will keep you moving forward. Maybe it’s ‘Thanks for the warning, but I’ve got this…’ or ‘Who says I can’t? At least I can try, and when I do, I’ll be fine.’ 

Positive self-talk is more than just saying ‘I’m strong enough…’ or ‘I’m smart enough…’ 

It’s finding something that makes you feel good when you say it. Something that sparks initiative and gets you excited to move towards the dream you have for your creative business. 

It’s believing in yourself that you have what it takes to move forward, and if you falter at first, you will survive regardless. 

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It’s valuing your dreams enough to take tangible steps towards them. 

It’s showing yourself through your words and your actions that you deserve to create your best life, and by extension, take appropriate risks that support your ideal vision.  

Thank your gremlin for being there like you would an overly cautious friend, but reassure them that you have the power to bring your vision to life, and the resiliency to keep your head up if things don’t go exactly as planned. 

Doing this is a great way to bolster your confidence, reinforce your ability, and reaffirm your personal worth. It also sends a strong message to the self-sabotaging bestie that lives in your brain that you’re done with their Negative Nancy messages and are ready to take a step off of the wet cement that is creating a permanent footprint in the grey walkway you know as your career path.   

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Believe it or not, being aware of your gremlin and addressing it makes it less powerful. It becomes a smaller part of the bigger picture of your life and stops being an all-encompassing thing that controls your actions and outcomes. Yes, your gremlin is and will always be a part of you, but it’s not all of you. And just like you can’t expect your eyes to taste your food, you can’t expect your gremlin to determine your success. 

So, the question remains… Can you make money doing this? The answer is yes, you can. But you have to take action regardless of your gremlin. Make a plan that respects your finances, your motivations, and your mindset (and if you’re looking for specific information on how to build a plan that supports your transition, check out this article). But you also have to take action with respect to your fears.  

Fear keeps us up at night. It stops us from pursuing opportunities, or even worse, prevents us from even seeing opportunity when it crosses our path. 

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And fear is legitimate. It protects us from danger. It is a form of self-preservation and protection.

With regard to starting a creative business, fear likely comes up not because you’re worried the business won’t work, but because you’re afraid of what you will lose if it doesn’t.  

Your gremlin takes hold of this fear and keeps you from playing all out, significantly blocking the energy you invest into your new business idea. And guess what happens if you don’t invest energy and belief into your business? You won’t get the potential payoff. Minimal results come from fear-based action.  

Remember that the common message here is ‘I’m not good enough.’ You desperately want to feel good enough and have the confidence to move forward, but your mind is telling you otherwise. 

Contradict the message.  

Align your head with your heart. 

Make a plan and gather resources to help you take action from a place of empowerment rather than a place of fear.  

Thank your gremlin for coming out and promptly show it the door. There are only so many seats at the table, and your gremlin isn’t invited to the party this time. 

You can make money doing this. But first, you need to believe it.

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