This isn’t going to be a whiny “I have anxiety, my life is so hard” article. So get that shit out of your head now. If there’s one thing people with anxiety hate being, it’s self-indulgent. Our brains do enough of that as it is.
Yes, I have anxiety. Yes, it fucks me up sometimes. No, it will probably never completely go away.
But that’s ok. I’ve learned to adjust. And as it turns out, my anxiety has become a phenomenal asset to my business. Even, helping me to succeed on Etsy!
Related Post: What does it REALLY take to make 6-figure sales on Etsy?
How Anxiety Helped Me Succeed On Etsy
Let’s start from the beginning.
I’m lying on the floor of a restaurant, legs in the air. Trying desperately not to faint. There are about six men standing over me, arguing over how to deal with this crazy bitch that walked into their restaurant and promptly fell over.
(Did you know restaurant owners WON’T call ambulances? Turns out food establishments and ambulances don’t make for repeat business). #ThingsAnxietyTaughtMe
That was one of many massive panic attacks I’d have that year, so it was hardly special. What made it worth remembering was the paramedic who showed up shortly after.
He used the words “panic attack”.
Bullshit. I thought. Panic attacks are about as real as alternative facts.
I firmly believed that panic attacks were “for the weak”…or “dramatic people who wanted attention”. I never thought they could happen to me.
And holy f*cking shit was I wrong.
The next seven years was a blur of panic attacks, constant health anxiety, and agoraphobia (aka this bitch got gold stars for leaving the house once a week).
Things like driving, travel, and even grocery shopping were my greatest adversaries.
When I started my business 2 years ago, my anxiety was worse than it had ever been. I was about 101lbs (aka terrified of choking on all my food), constantly worried that I was going to die, and I could turn literally anything into a full-blown panic attack.
I remember telling my therapist that I WISHED my anxiety only bothered me every hour, or every minute. Those 59 seconds of freedom would be such amazing relief from what I was actually experiencing…I’d literally cherish every second.
Yes, I started a business in that mental state.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a tad berserk.
So here I am, running a business, working a full-time job, and trying not to have a panic attack every 5 seconds.
And as time went on (and I got a bit better), I started to realize that my anxiety actually had a few redeeming qualities.
Mainly, whenever I felt anxiety about some part of my business, it served as an excellent barometer for something that needed to be fixed.
When I got my first negative review on Etsy, I realized I could just fix the problem by upgrading my supplies. My brain wouldn’t let it go until I fixed it. And once I fixed it, I never had to worry about it again. Hell yeah.
Point 1: Anxiety.
As time went on, I got better at redirecting my anxiety. I started using those pangs of anxiety to be critical of my business instead of myself. All it took was a bit of practice.
Slowly, my brain created a new habit. Whenever I felt anxiety, I would acknowledge it. Then I would unleash it on my business: what’s worth fixing today, anxiety?
Now, don’t get me wrong: this can become a runaway train REAL FAST. I use my anxiety to make a list of all the (biz) things that are bothering me. Then I take a second pass…”which of these things is a WASTE of my time, and what is actually worth doing?”
This is a very mindful process, and it helps me feel in control of my business.
It’s also the thing that drives me to improve constantly. My business grew quickly… I got slapped in the face with some seriously unexpected success just 6 months in. My anxiety was helping me to succeed on Etsy.
I attribute that success to my brain’s need to STICK with a problem until it’s solved.
Point 2: Anxiety.
For those of you who are wondering, I’m much better now. I haven’t had a panic attack in 1.5 years and I leave the house as I please. It took 12 months of mindfulness-based CBT to get me where I am now. (Leaving my horrific day job to work for myself didn’t hurt either!)
If you have anxiety too, I strongly encourage you to talk about it and find someone who can help you. I would not be sitting here, successful business and all, if it weren’t for my therapist, my husband, and all the people who were patient with me these last few years. (My therapist is here. If you’re not in the UK, have a look at https://www.talkspace.com/).
But don’t forget: even the shitty parts of life can be turned into little moments of kickass. Use your anxiety to cast a critical eye over your business, NOT yourself.
Those little moments of discomfort are an indicator that you know you can improve. Acknowledge them, make a game plan, and let go. They served a purpose, tell them thanks and send them on their way!
Thanks for Reading!
Hi there, my name is Jenni. You’re reading about the Etsy shop that freed me from the worst job I’ve ever had (and a lifetime of working for somebody else).
Find out what went down here.
Hey guess what? The exact tricks that got me 6-figures sales are waiting for you in the Ultimate Guide to Etsy. This is a 40-page, step-by-step MEGA tutorial that will help you strategize your way to more sales.