the "but I'm only from Cape Breton" excuse

I was listening to a podcast on my walk this evening and the host was answering a question from a listener. The question was about whether or not this lady should blog about money, and she said, "I'm afraid to, because people don't want to hear about money." And the podcast host said, "That's horseshit."

She said it in a nice way, but she said, "If you want to talk about money, don't use the excuse that people don't want to hear about it. You may lose the people that don't want to hear about it, but you will gain two people that DO want to hear about it, for every one that doesn't."

It got me thinking about the excuses we tell ourselves for why we don't do something our heart really wants to do. For me, these days, my heart is telling me, "Start a business, start a business, start a business." And I come up with all KINDS of excuses. I mean, all kinds. There are many excuses available to me in any given moment. "I might fail," "I don't have the skills," et cetera, ad nauseam.

But one excuse I was thinking about on my walk tonight, that I've been giving a lot of power lately, is a surprising one, especially for someone who (you would think) was super-Cape-Breton-positive, given that I wrote a blog called "Dream Big Cape Breton" for nearly three bloody years. And it is, the excuse that "I'm only from an economically-depressed, declining island that no-one cares about, so how could I possibly create and sustain a thriving business both locally and online?"

You see, I've found that since I stopped focusing all my creative energy on the "Dream Big" blog and group on Facebook, and started putting that energy into promoting myself as a designer and writer, that suddenly I'm competing on a much bigger stage: the whole world.

I didn't have any competition in the category of "positive blogs about life on Cape Breton" because there weren't any others. (There are other Cape Breton bloggers, for sure, but none with my specific angle.) So locally I got well-known, and fairly quickly. That was awesome. I was unique, and that uniqueness drew people to me. But now, I feel like in my new category, that of graphic designers/writers, we're a dime a dozen. So what's my angle now? What makes me unique now?

I'm still figuring that out, but it was interesting to shine a light on this whispering gremlin that was saying, "But you're only from Cape Breton, why should people in San Diego or Calgary or Zurich be interested in hiring you?" Hearing this excuse, and choosing not to believe it but just to hear it,  shows me that I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into an arena where I want to do better work (so I can compete with all the other fantastic designers), and yet also do work that's unique to me, because that's what my people, my potential dream clients, are going to be attracted to.

And that's damn scary! But also really exciting.

Welcome to the emotional roller coaster of starting a business! Ha..

Also, I think I'll blog a bit more on here. More off-the-cuff thoughts, more often. Because that's what makes me happy, not just restricting myself to once-a-week.

Whee! And have a good weekend.

xo Leah