We’ve all been there. You come across a job, deal or offer that is just what you need, at the right time, and the right price. But then, the doubts begin to set in – is now really the right time? Can you really afford it? Should you take the plunge? And before you know it, the job’s gone, the offer’s expired or the deal has finished.

It can be like that when you work for yourself too.

A client whom you’ve been wanting to approach for a while, gets in touch. They’ve heard good things about you. They’re enthusiastic to work with you. They have a job for you. Brilliant news.

Then you find out that the job entails using a certain skill. It’s a skill that you have, but you don’t offer as one of your services. Perhaps this is something you do as a hobby, or that you used to do when you were employed.

You um and arh as you decide whether to take on the job. You don’t offer this skill so should you break your current skill-set just this once? Or would you then have to offer this skill to all your clients? Could you cope? What if they all want it? What if you’re not good enough at it? What if? What if? What if?

By the time you get back to the client, they’ve found someone else.

Or perhaps a fellow VA, whom you’ve worked with before, rings you. They’ve a spare ticket for a networking event and they’re offering it to you for free. All they want in return is some money towards the petrol for the journey. Free ticket, almost free transport and a familiar companion – what more could you ask for? You’ve looked into this networking event before and it would be ideal for you.
Then the doubt demon gets his claws out. “Sound too good to be true,” it says. “What’s in it for her? Nobody gives something away for free.” Suddenly this wonderful offer seems scary. You thank her but say no. You find out weeks down the line that a new major player in your industry was at the event. Your doubts have stolen a valuable opportunity to introduce yourself to a perfect, potential client.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Not to be confused with caution, which can be a wise and useful tool when making decisions, doubt obstructs our path and chips away at our confidence.

So how do you deal with doubt?

• Be informed. Check your facts and do your calculations so that you can make a SMART decision. Just make sure that you’re not using this fact check to put off making up your mind.
• If it’s a job, work out whether you have the skills and time, and whether the job would be of benefit to you? The benefit might not be completely financial. It could be the contacts you would make or experience gained. Only you know the answer.
• If it feels right, it most likely is, especially if you’ve carried out point number one above and checked all your facts.

So, next time that doubt demon raises its ugly head, smack it down as the informed, confident VA you are.