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How to Deal with "What If" feelings in your Handmade Business

How to Deal with "What If" feelings in your Handmade Business

I have a special message for you, handmade seller.

You are worthy of being successful in your business.


What you do is unique and special because it is done by YOU.


You are strong, creative, talented, and amazing.


If you can do something once, you can do it again.


Overwhelming tasks get easier the more times you do them.


Everything you want is already yours.


This episode is for all of you who have ever felt like you would eventually fail in your business. That it’s only a matter of time. It’s also the episode for you if you’ve ever felt like your work isn’t good enough, that no one will want to buy it, or you experience anxiety about even selling it in the first place.


Listen here, or keep reading the show notes below:


So, here’s the thing:

The “what if” about what might happen is always worse than what actually does happen.

We’ve all experienced some or all of these at different times and even now. And, you guys, even when your business is large and busy like our own Etsy shop, we still feel overwhelmed or anxious. So, we don’t want this to be an episode where we say “learn from us and you’ll never feel anxious again once you “make it”’ because that isn’t what happens.


Instead, we’re sharing some of our best tips for dealing with the “what ifs” and feelings of anxiety in your small business.


If you feel overwhelmed with “Too much to do” or “where to start”...

Katie has talked about this in a previous episode but break your list up into smaller tasks, and identify what your next step is. Just identify your very next action you need to take just one step forward.


Every morning or evening, whenever you sit down to work, identify your top 1-2 things you need to do and only work on those.


Do not let yourself do anything else until those two things are done, and when they are? Celebrate them. Give yourself a positive vibe, tell yourself you are amazing for what you accomplished. And if that’s all you do that day, that is okay! Or, if you do those things, then allow yourself to do something just for fun, or just because you love it. As working artists, I know it can be a struggle to create art only for yourself, because you’re always working on paid pieces, or work for your Etsy shop. So after you have completed your goals each day, do something just for yourself.


If you feel anxiety spending money to invest in your business...

This has been a hard one for me (Katie), because of all of those “what if” thoughts in my head. What if it fails, what if no one likes my art, what if this isn’t a good printer, etc.


I hated the thought of putting money into my business and then wasting it.


...but I just told myself that it is worth it. Because yes, it could fail, but it will be okay because you’ll learn what works or what doesn’t.


I think that mindset shift helps so much with anxious thoughts.


If you feel anxiety talking about your business to your IRL friends & family...


Being the introvert that I am (Katie), I actually rarely talk about my job and my art in person, and if that’s you too, that’s totally cool!

So, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t need to or have to talk about your business if you don’t want to. If it’s stressful to you or you know your in real life people don’t understand it or support it, you are not obligated to share it.

If you do want to talk about it, also cool! Start with your best friend, who isn’t going to judge you, or tell you that you won’t succeed, because you can succeed, so start by talking with those positive people in your life who will cheer you on.


If you feel anxious that you’re not growing fast enough...


Small growth is still growth. I don’t think we can say that enough! Slow progress is still progress! Everyone and every business will grow at different rates, so please don’t compare yourself with other people.


Find a grounding or centering quote or mantra you love, print it out and hang it where you can see it when you are working on your business. Or, make it your phone lock screen background so every time you pick up your phone to scroll, and before you start comparing yourself to others, you see this reminder.


Remind yourself that Instagram followers aren’t everything. It’s better to have 100 followers who really love your work than it is to have 10k that rarely see your posts. So it’s okay to be small.


If you feel anxiety about taking time away from your business...


It’s okay to take time off! So many small businesses work 24/7, but that’s not always a good thing.


The best part about running your Etsy shop is that it gives you a flexible schedule. So if you want to batch work all of your SEO work, scheduling out Instagram posts, or taking photos of your new handmade products over 2-3 days, you can then totally take other days off to spend the time how you’d like!

Pro tip: remember that if you’re going on a trip, or need a week off from your Etsy shop, don’t turn on Etsy vacation mode feature. This will negatively impact all of your listings' rankings in the SEO algorithm.

So instead, just increase your shipping time out to 1-2 weeks or however long you need. This way your Etsy shop is still continuing to make money for you even while you’re away! Then, when you get back you can shop out those orders!


We really hope this has been helpful to you guys! I was just thinking about it and I don’t think a few years ago I would have ever heard a small business coach someone like that talk about how to practice mindset shifts and what you can do about feeling the “what ifs” in your business.


It’s totally normal, so we wanted to share that 1) we definitely experience this, and 2) it’s possible to address it in ways that are helpful so you can focus on the best version of yourself and your business and build your creative dream life.

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