Release the Pressure by Lowering the Stakes

The stakes tend to be pretty high nowadays for a lot of things. If you’ve thought about trying to run a business or start your own blog, they could be enough to scare you away. The pressure to be amazing is daunting… and is the root cause of a lot of our procrastination. We are afraid to start something because we’re afraid it won’t end up as good as we want it to be.

How to lower the stakes:
That thing you want to do but feel like you have to do it really well?

Do it.

Do it so often that it no longer becomes such a big deal. If you can, do it a little bit everyday until it becomes a habit and who cares if you’re as amazing at it every time as you initially thought you should be.

Think about how nervous you were that first time you stood up to belt out your favorite karaoke song in front of everyone. Talk about SCARY, regardless of how many apple martinis you may have downed. NOW: think about the 100th time you’ve stood on that stage to sing the same song. Not as scary anymore, right? You may have even gotten a little better at singing. But even if you haven’t, the pressure to be as amazing as you thought you needed to be has loosened, if not disappeared completely.

Now about that business and/or blog. Same technique applies.

If you’ve been hanging around here awhile, you’ve probably noticed that I blog a lot. I generally schedule a new post to go up 6 out of 7 days of the week. I haven’t been around that long (about 2 years), but I’ve already published well over 400 posts, along with a scattering of guest posts on other blogs to boot. Not every post is amazing. Some of them turn out to be downright duds. But that’s okay, because I’ll be posting a new one shortly afterwards.

Same applies for your business. Not every item I list is amazing, but by listing as many as I do I don’t feel the pressure that each one has to be. Not every craft show is going to be a smashing success, but if you do enough of them every year one single show won’t have as much pressure for you to make it one. Not every Facebook update is going to go viral, but if you update on a daily basis, you’ll start to get a better handle on which ones grant a larger reach.

I know what you’re thinking: Quantity does not beat quality. Maybe not, but it sure beats doing nothing. And, dare I suggest, that the great quantities you produce will give you the room and practice to create better quality right along with them. It’s simple, really. The more you do it, the less pressure you’ll feel each time.


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16 thoughts on “Release the Pressure by Lowering the Stakes

  1. Sally-Ann February 13, 2013 at 7:12 am Reply

    Reassuring and supportive as usual, Megan! My shop will have been open a year tomorrow and the learning curve has been near vertical, so finding your straight talking and informative blog has been a real gift, thankyou. I always look forward to your posts :)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns February 13, 2013 at 8:34 am Reply

      Awww, thank you Sally-Ann! Readers like you make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

  2. Ki'ihele West February 13, 2013 at 11:41 am Reply

    I can relate to Sally-Ann having an Etsy shop for only a year and a blog only about six months. It IS a vertical climb, so thank you Megan for the encouragement to just keep climbing. As I do I realize it does get easier, if not better.

  3. Kira February 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm Reply

    It definitely beats doing nothing, great advice!

  4. Kim @2justByou February 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm Reply

    I really like this post! Sometimes we just have to take a plunge without over-thinking it or doubting it. I used to not list an item in our Etsy shop because the photos weren’t right…But you know what? We can edit those later! Because you’re right, it sure beats doing nothing!

  5. Perle February 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm Reply

    Great advice! I’d only get depressed if I didn’t do anything anyway.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns February 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm Reply

      I think a lot of people are the same way, they just blame their excuses for not doing what they want to do instead of themselves for not getting started on their dreams. Keep up the good work Perle!

  6. sueswordfitlyspoken February 14, 2013 at 6:23 am Reply

    That’s good advice, Megan, and I think that some of us can see how that has worked for us already, as well as having the time to hone down to the real time-well-spent aspects and capitalize on them.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns February 14, 2013 at 8:31 am Reply

      That’s true too Sue. One can only identify what works -and what doesn’t- after some experimentation and later observation.

  7. Jody Lanham February 14, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

    Hi Megan I enjoyed your comments, I think all of what you are saying is true and I have experienced similar feelings – I now know that every show is not going to be great but as long as I do a lot of them and some of them are great, its ok if some of them aren’t. And the quantity/quality thing also seems to be true – the more you have, the more you have that is great even if some of it isn’t. And anyway, there is something for everyone and eventually the creations that don’t seem to be as “great” as some, will be just what someone out there is looking for! I have a blog and post to it now and then, and Facebook gets my attention on occasion. Just like anything else the more you do it the more you do it and the less tedious it becomes. I just wish I could organize my time better so I could really devote properly and put something worth reading out there! Thanks again, Jody

    • MegansBeadedDesigns February 14, 2013 at 8:59 am Reply

      Ain’t that the truth Jody! Sometimes I make something and think, yeah, this probably won’t sell. And someone buys it almost immediately after I list it. You never can tell sometimes…

  8. Sherri February 14, 2013 at 9:27 am Reply

    So true! A year ago I started my website and got so bogged down and freaked about about SEO that I completely stopped making anything for about 2 months. Result – I wasn’t getting anything at all accomplished except to put myself into a nasty funk. My thinking was along the lines of “If I don’t eat my veggies (SEO), I can’t have dessert (making stuff)” Crazy Crazy Crazy. I started making stuff again figuring that at least I would have something to show for my time and be in a mentally healthier state to tackle the other. Still not doing very well with the SEO and its still frustrating since I have always been able to teach myself from books but I do have some very nice pieces that I’m very happy with and I feel better since I have stopped beating up on myself. Thank you so much for your blog. I have found it and the comments so encouraging and grounding (in a very positive way).

    • MegansBeadedDesigns February 14, 2013 at 10:18 am Reply

      Thanks for sharing Sherri! I am so glad you got back to making things!

      SEO can be a confusing bugger! I’ve discovered awhile ago, however, that as long as you are titling and tagging your items with the words that people would use when searching for your kind of item, the rest (mostly) takes care of itself.

      Good luck!

  9. Karen Vincer February 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply

    Hi Megan,
    Three years ago I started my own small craft business. Two years ago my website was complete and up and running. At that time I also joined Etsy. One year ago I joined Facebook and created a business page, my 1st shot at social media. 6 months ago I joined Pinterest. 2 weeks ago I joined Linkedin and investigated what a Team is. Now I’m part of International Arts & Crafts and TODAY I found your most informative blog, just the encouragement that I was lacking. The world of social media is daunting and I was very ambivalent in the beginning. Now I’m learning to jump right in and hope for the best. I can’t wait to read your book about keeping my day job and having a business at the same time.

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