Podcast Club // Episode One
What is your danger zone?
Read Time: 6 minutes
One thing I struggle finding the time for is learning. It’s always been such a hard thing to pencil in on the calendar. With other tasks or projects, there are deadlines, goals, a client waiting, etc. These things HAVE to get done. With learning, there isn’t a deadline, you aren’t forced to finish, or even start. At the beginning of the year, I decided that it was time to end that and asked the entire team here at AFF to take part in this new goal “of learning” with me. And the best part is that you, my dear readers, also get to reap the benefits with us. Today we are launching a new series; the Podcast Club. It’s kind of like a book club… but for podcasts. Each month we are going to take turns choosing a podcast episode that we will all listen to and it can be on any topic. We’ll each listen on our own and take notes. The notes are meant to track whatever we take away from the episode, whether it be something for our personal life, work life, or both. At the end of each month, we’ll come together and chat about our takeaways from the episode.
For our first month, we listened to an episode from The Accidental Creative, Staying Out Of The "Danger Zone". You can listen here.
Overall, it prompted a conversation about our “fears” at work, why we think that we feel that way, and how we can help each other to break out of those thought patterns and get more done.
As a team, the point that resonated the deepest amongst us was; understanding the fears that hold us back from accomplishing our very best (read: your danger zone). What is a danger zone? It’s something in your work or personal life that constantly is a road block. To outsiders, it may not even seem like it’s something that bothers you because you create stories around those things to make yourself feel like how you are acting is justified. Here are a few examples our team shared with each other:
Danger Zone No. 1
trouble meeting deadlines because there is a fear of asking others for their time.
Whether that means asking a question that would help one of us complete a project faster, or nudging someone to finish tasks that directly affect how well we can do our own job. I think we’ve all been there, you are waiting on someone to do something so that you can move forward. It can get awkward when you might feel like you are ALWAYS asking them where they are on a task and hovering over their shoulder waiting for them to complete it.
How did we fix this?
We decided to put weekly/bi-weekly touch bases on the calendar with necessary teammates to clarify on project statuses, get all of our pressing questions/concerns out on the table at one time, and make sure all of our priorities were aligned for the week. For me personally this was really important as in a lot of cases I am the decision maker. And since there are now several of us in the office at once, it can get overwhelming (and distracting) to have to stop often throughout the day and change my focus from question to question. And as a team I want everyone to feel comfortable prioritizing their own needs. So now that we are all clear that we CAN take time each week to ensure we are working efficiently and smartly, I’m hoping this helps us all focus more on our own tasks and be more efficient.
Danger Zone No. 2
ESPECIALLY in cases of offering new services to clients. The first time someone wants to pay you for your work, it can be scary. Can you meet their expectations? Will they think you’re a fraud when you send over your quote? Will they think you’re charging too much? The list of questions that runs through our heads can go on and on.
Let’s address the biggest issue here first.
If a client is asking you for something, and you are excited and into it, chances are you are a match and they already trust you. Are you also worried about HOW you are going to do this “thing” they want you to do? We are ALL worried about that our first time. Everyone who started a business had to put themselves out there for their first client. The good news is, is that after you do it one time, you learn, and you tweak your process and you make it better. My best advice is to take the time to write down your process. This is the step I always get stuck on, but when I set aside time to focus on it, it comes pretty naturally and quickly. I will be 100% honest and tell you that I have lost clients because of this. When I’m scared of something, I procrastinate. And when I procrastinate, people lose patience and trust in you and typically find someone else.
Sound familiar? Here’s what I (try) to do when I hit this road block.
Set aside an hour and write down exactly what you think it will take. Estimate what you think it will cost (and double it… it always costs more than you think!) and add those dollars into your quote. Do a bit of research in your market to make sure you are within reason of others in your field. If you are scared to press send on that email back, good. It probably means you’re doing something right and growing while you’re at it.
Let’s say NO ONE is asking you for that “thing” though… ask your friends or your family to be pretend clients. Create work for them and market it as you were working for paying clients. It doesn’t matter who you are doing the work for, it’s the work you are doing and the fact that you are putting it out into the world. Once you do, tell people what to do… sign up for your workshop, buy your art or sign up for your newsletter. You know the sayings-Practice makes perfect? Fake it til you make it? These kind of go hand in hand. Practice by doing work for non-paying clients, market it like they are real clients and if you continue to do this, you will attract your ideal paying client.
It was funny, I expected a lot of the convo to be directly related to points he made in the podcast. But they ended up just being really great conversation starters. It was a super useful excercise to get us all talking about things that don’t normally come up. If you’re looking to do something similar, think about gathering a few friends, asking your significant other, or maybe even a few coworkers in your office.
Have you ever listened to The Accidental Creative? What did you think?