Fear and loathing

It’s back. It’s been gone for a while, but this week the “f” word came back with a vengeance.

Yes folks, I’ve got The Fear.

This is The Fear that comes when the diary is looking a wee bit blank, when the work has slowed down to a trickle after the raging torrent it’s been for the last few months. This is The Fear which comes with the territory (of being a microbiz sole trader). The Fear of not knowing what work’s coming in, and when. And believe me, when there’s no pay packet coming in on a monthly basis from the boss, and you’ve only yourself to rely on for food on the table, The Fear has a way of gripping you around the guts with its icy cold fingers of dread.

Frankly my dears, feeling The Fear is largely unfounded for me, and I’m a bit of a Fear fraud. Work is steady and there are irons in fires, and pipelines which will soon start flowing. There’s even actual, real live work booked in on the calendar. And yes, I know, after the recent whirlwind of Word Up activity, I should be careful what I wish for and all that. But there’s nothing rational about The Fear – for the sole traders amongst us, it’s an occupational hazard. It might even be a necessary evil to keep us on our trading toes, a visceral reminder to get out there and fly our wares fearlessly up the flagpole when business is slow.

We’ve all been there. But admitting to feeling The Fear is, I fear, slightly frowned upon. It’s a bit of a taboo topic in the relentless optimism of enterprise. It’s also hard to understand unless you’ve actually felt the icy grip gnawing at your innards. All the more reason then, to ‘fess up when entrepreneurial anxiety strikes. There’s safety in small biz numbers, and for this specific sole trader and worrywort, it’s good to know that I’m not alone in fear and loathing.

Look, my logical head knows that this will pass. If recent evidence is anything to go by, it will pass sooner rather than later. Probably as soon as I crack on with next week’s copywriting job. It’s not like there’s nothing on the horizon – no doubt I’ll be going like the clappers again in jig time, and wishing I’d never even mentioned the effing “f”word.

I know fine well that there’s not much of a happy medium in small business. It’s either being caught in the eye of the storm, or waiting for the next storm to blow in. And yes, thank you, I’m well aware that the calm between the storm is when we captains of industry catch up on paperwork and the epic backlog of correspondence. It’s during the occasional hiatus of plate-spinning that small biz is supposed to get back on the networking circuit, and hatch grand plans for the future of our glittering careers in commerce.

Basically, it’s all about learning to live with The Fear. I try not to get immobilised by it’s loathsome grip, but look for ways to use the adrenalin it produces to get up off my arse and take on the world. Or a networking meeting, at least.

So, begone foul fear! I’m away out to strut my sole trader stuff to anyone who’ll lend me an ear (or a fiver).