This is not a pep talk, a pat on the back or a practical guide to entrepreneurship. This is me going back to what I originally created my blog for – a semi-anonymous place for me to voice my inner thoughts, concerns and, in this case, utter terror. I mean pants-peeing, deer-in-the-headless, vomit-inducing, would-rather-jump-of-a-building-than-face it, fear.
You know, the stuff entrepreneurs are apparently made of (or so a quick google search tells me). For those of you who don’t know all about the day-to-day details of my life, my family started a business and I’ve been appointed head saleslady… or whatever fancy title you want to call me.
What does that ACTUALLY mean? It means that my parents livelihood, my brother’s happiness and my future financial security is all hinged on me being godlike in sales.
Oh… and did I mention I suck at sales?
Like seriously, I suck. at. sales. I’ve mastered my shaky voice on cold calls and have been told by my naturally salesy husband that I sound wonderful – but in reality I pray during every call that the person won’t answer. I hope that if they do, they’ve already heard of my company and – surprise! – I don’t even have to pitch them. But if none of those prayers pan out, please God, let it be a short conversation so I can just send my follow up email and move on.
Of course, I behave opposite to my prayers because the longer I’m on a call the more likely the person will remebmer me, but my god I hate it.
Then, if I do get through those calls and those emails and I finally make it to the demo stage, I have the rejection to deal with. Thankfully, we have a pretty high close rate.. but it still hurts. Bad.
Maybe it’s because I was the only kid in my house or maybe it’s because I have some faulty genes, but I need validation. You could starve me and deprive me of water for months but as long as someone sat next to me feeding me compliments (“such a smart girl!” “so independent!” “I wish I’d done that”), I’d probably live forever. Praise is my drug. I need it to survive.
Does anyone happen to know the one profession you don’t get a lot of praise in?
You guessed it. Sales!
Instead, you get people telling you they aren’t interested and they don’t want to talk to you. To make matters worse, they probably wasted a few hours of your time. And they might even be bad mouthing your product because, realistically, there’s something they decided wasn’t good enough about it and there’s nothing I can do to change their mind.
That is the opposite of praise. That has the same effect on me as kryptonite on Superman. Carrying on after a deal falls through is downright miraculous for me. Seriously, I should be getting awards here just for not jumping in front of a bus.
But I do carry on. Because that same fear will always prevent me from giving up. I hate the fact that if I fail, my family fails. I hate that I have to be amazing at something that doesn’t come easily for me. And I’m not, no matter how hard I try, I’m not amazing at this (but hopefully I’m good enough). I hate that I’m basically fighting time, our competitors and lack of resources all at once and in the end I’m not a skilled fighter.
But I would hate actually failing much more.
So for the time being, I’m going to blog out my terror and hope for the best. One foot in front of the other.
Oh, and I’ll probably drink a hell of a lot tonight.