Everyone is afraid of something. From Fear to Flourish, a bi-monthly series, will share true life stories of people who did something that scared them ... and how it changed their lives for the better.
Our first in the Fear to Flourish series is mother, writer, and athlete, Alexis Dubief, who runs the hugely popular blog, Troublesome Tots.
Ready? Let's begin!
Q: One time I was scared of:
Public Humiliation. Failure. The end of my dream.
Last summer I launched a Kickstarter campaign. I also did the Spartan Beast World Championship (see picture) but that’s another terrifying story, so for today we’re going to talk about Kickstarter.
The background is that I was offered and turned down a publishing contract (I still have huge fears about this being an enormous mistake but that also is a different terrifying story). As I got more embedded in the writing and publishing process I realized that getting the book out was going to be far more expensive than I had initially realized. A Kickstarter campaign seemed like a reasonable solution to the money issue.
Q: What was that like?
Here’s the thing about Kickstarter:
So financially, personally, and emotionally, I put a lot on the line with my Kickstarter campaign. I bet the farm. The prospect of failure was terrifying.
When it was time to launch my campaign I felt nauseous and had flop sweats. Not just for like, a few minutes, I’m talking days. I felt sick to my stomach for a full week.
Q: Why did you decide to tackle this particular fear?
I realized it was going to take money to put out the book that I wanted to put out. There was no other way around it. Yes Kickstarter was a do or die bet for me. But the alternative was quitting. Terrifying was better than quitting.
Q: How did you do that?
I don’t know if there is a method to tackling fear. For me it’s about 100% commitment.
I also consider the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario was public humiliation and the end of my dream of a book. Would I die? No. Would my family be harmed in any way? No. It would suck, but I would get through it. Eventually I could laugh about it. (There is very little you can’t laugh about if you try hard enough).
But I’ve never been a half-way sort of person. No dipping a toe in the pond. Go big or go home. So I committed to putting together the best Kickstarter campaign I could - I hired somebody to help me with video, graphic design, copyediting. (The campaign is long ended but you can see what I’m talking about here.)
I risked my own money, spent months NOT writing so I could work on it, spent an additional month promoting it (and not writing). It was a huge risk, a huge commitment, and a huge amount of money and time. If you’re going to do something DO IT. Do the best you can, commit as much as possible to making it a success. Scary or no.
Q: Was there a particular person and/or resource that helped you in the process?
Not really. Friends were amazingly and surprisingly supportive. My neighbor is an artist and takes a much more relaxed approach to things like this - his feedback was really helpful.
Q: What was the result?
My goal amount was $10K (note: you don’t actually get $10K in this scenario - there are tons of costs associated with Kickstarter including rewards for backers so I needed a big enough number to cover all those costs AND leave me with enough to make the book) and I ended up with over $17K. It was thrilling AND enormously validating. I’m full of self-doubt about this book (I’m not a writer, at best I’m a well-intended hack) and I don’t have the words for how much this validation meant and still means to me. It’s like a hug, and whenever I feel low I go back to Kickstarter and look at it. An Internet hug.
Any wise or encouraging words you'd like to share that I haven't asked you about?
This (see picture above). All the best things come from taking risks. This is how we grow as people. Even if you fail, you’ll be a better person for having tried. Just do it!
Thanks so much, Alexis, for not only sharing your inspiring story, but also for being our first guest in this series! Alexis's hugely popular blog, Troublesome Tots, provides insight into sleep issues for kids and funny, personable advice for parents. Want to reach Alexis directly? Reach out via Twitter or Facebook.
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