If you are like many new consultants, after the initial buzz of starting out in your own business, there comes a point when suddenly; you might start to feel a little less confident. The time is drawing near when you have to put yourself in front of prospective clients and start pitching proposals. While you might not recognise it, the trepidation that you are feeling can put you into what I call perpetual preparation mode.
The Signs of PPM
Perpetual preparation mode is basically a form of procrastination. You begin to feel that you need to prepare a bit more before interacting with potential customers.
The website needs a bit more tweaking. You need to do some more marketing.
This is a symptom of trepidation at work; it’s the fear of rejection and it’s stopping you from practicing the most effective marketing available to you—getting out there in front of your revenue sources.
Even after you have established yourself and have a few projects under your belt, perpetual preparation mode can still set in on occasion. It’s perfectly normal to experience these symptoms of fear and trepidation in consulting; an exciting business where there is no real comfort zone and every project brings new and sometimes unexpected challenges.
How to Combat Perpetual Preparation Mode
It’s easy to overlook the reality; the fact that fear and trepidation are holding you back. You rationalise your nervousness by filling your time with indirect activities which might be beneficial to your business, but will not help you meet your ultimate goal—to reach out directly to prospects and to land projects.
There is no magic cure for perpetual preparation mode, but recognising it for what it is will help you no end.
The solution is this: Simply consider the worst that can happen. Yes, you may get rejected by a potential customer. You may get rejected by more than one. However, that doesn’t mean the door is closed forever. Rejections often result from the prospect’s belief that conditions aren’t right just now. By having the opening conversation though, you begin a relationship with that prospect which, if nurtured, could well result in a later engagement.
The result of a few rejections can never be worse than the result of perpetual preparation, which is highly unlikely to land you any projects at all.
Here’s the very best advice I can give you: If the website’s nearly finished and the brochures are in print, get out there in front of your ideal customers and cut your teeth on some positive, direct marketing. Trust me; this is one situation where a lack of preparation may actually do more good than harm.