It was scary. But I did it anyway.

Taking bold steps sounds good, but it’s terrifying to actually take them. For years I’d talked about shifting our business to focusing on just women entrepreneurs. I knew they were our best customer. I knew it was a growing, in fact, booming, marketplace. But I couldn’t pull the trigger.

What if I guessed wrong? What if I drove the business in the wrong direction? What if I was being rash?

That second-guessing monster can really take over. Even though your gut knows the answer, your head can get swamped with fears of past mistakes leading to that swampy, boggy feeling of paralysis.

That sense of “ugh, I shouldn’t do it” can get in the way of doing business.

So, how did I get through it?

I got help.
When you’re facing a tough business decision and you start to think yourself into a never-ending circle, get some help. Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Ask them what they think. Then see how their answer resonates from inside. Make sure you don’t let one opinion sway you. Instead, ask lots of people and see if a general consensus bubbles up from it.

I researched.
I looked at trends in the marketplace, which told me that women were opening new businesses at 3x the rate of men. I studied demographics, which showed that women business owners are a $6.2B marketplace.

I picked a project.
I decided to focus on the launch of a new website. Having that project kept me focused and kept the wolves of self-doubt at bay.

I allowed for failure.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the I-have-to-make-this-work trap. By giving myself permission to muck things up, I felt freer and more able to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I celebrated the small stuff.
I gave myself treats along the way: a perfectly brewed cup of coffee with raw sugar and a dollop of half and half, a slightly dirty Kettle One martini (at the end of the day usually), a late breakfast at Tasty ‘N Alder, my favorite downtown spot that serves up maple-roasted sweet potatoes that are the perfect combination of crispiness on the outside and gooey hot deliciousness on the inside.

I shouted from the rooftop.
Once I did it, I told everyone I knew. I’m no stranger to the need for reassurance, so I fed that urge by showing everyone the new home page, sending out links, and even posting on Facebook. (Yes. I’m still coming to grips with the idea of tooting your own horn on social media.)

Are you struggling with a decision? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email and share your story of how you got through the agony and into a place of clarity. I’m sure I could learn some new tricks!