They’re ALL Emotional Decisions (or, The Fine Art of Trusting Your Instincts)

Woman making decisionBuying decisions are emotional decisions.

If you’ve ever read anything about marketing, or copywriting, you’ve heard that you need to address the needs and wants, the emotions, of your potential customers. That while people may ask you about the bells and whistles, the functions and features, of your products and services, even the most level-headed, logical, left-brainer plunks down their credit card when your appeal to their emotions is powerful and personal.

When I work with clients on their marketing copy, we create “pull” questions that lead their customers through that buying process.  The idea is to write a series of questions to which they answer, “Yes. YES! Yes, of course yes, when can I start working with you and here’s my credit card”.  (Well, as you can imagine it’s not really quite that straightforward and immediate, but that’s the general idea.)

But what about other decisions?  You know, deciding whether or not to take on a particular client, or even whether to schedule an event on this date or that date?

I’m here to tell you that they’re ALL emotional decisions.

The “is this client a fit” scenario is pretty obvious, if you think about it.  Which emotion rules the day may change depending on at what stage your business is, though.  When you first start your business, and your practice isn’t full (you need LOTS of new clients), you’ll take on almost everyone, even if your instincts warn you that it might be a less-than-ideal fit.  The fear of an empty bank account or a maxed-out credit card overrides the discomfort of dealing with a difficult client.

As your business and your client list grows, you can afford to be a bit more choosy.  You start really narrowing down your niche, your ideal client description, because you know that your finances are strong enough to survive turning some people away.  The emotional teeter-totter has tipped the other way.

The “schedule an event” scenario is perhaps a little harder to see clearly, but trust me: it’s still an emotional decision.  Let me tell you about a recent experience of mine.

I have a system, a process, one that I’ve been using for a while, that I want to launch as an information product.  It comes directly out of all the branding and strategy work I’ve done with my web development clients for the last 12 years; I created it to use with them, to get all their information out of their heads and onto paper in order to create the appropriate website for their business.  I used it myself when I rebranded and refocused my own business.  And I’ve been offering it in one-on-one coaching sessions since 2011.

It’s a mature enough piece to turn into something that I can offer as a stand-alone DIY system and an online group workshop as well as the individual program.  So I spent a few weeks polishing it up, reorganizing it into modules (for group delivery) and creating the PDF (for the DIY ebook version).

I told my business coach on one of our calls in May that I wanted to launch it at the end of June.  I even picked a specific date.  After all, I had the content done, and I was ready to start selling it.  I’m ready, right?

I then proceeded to have two sleepless nights in a row.

Now, I almost never have sleepless nights.  As a “woman of a certain age”, I do occasionally have temperature control issues, and have to get up for 45 minutes or an hour to cool off in the middle of the night.  (Just don’t talk to my husband; he’ll tell you it’s more than occasionally lately. What does he know? And give me back the remote for the ceiling fan!)

So for me to have two sleepless nights in a row meant there was something up.

Something was bothering me.

Something was keeping me awake, preying on my mind.

I was so sure that scheduling the launch for June was do-able when I set the date.  The content was ready to go, and I can certainly talk about this topic on a telecall or on a webinar.  So what was the problem?

The problem was that I hadn’t put in place all the systems and processes to support that launch.  How was I going to put registrants on a specific autoresponder list, when I hadn’t created the list yet?  And what was I going to send them, what pre-launch marketing messages was I going to send?  I hadn’t written any of them yet.

And what if they buy?  Sure, I’ve got the PDF ready to go.  But do I have a way to market to those folks – and only to those folks after purchase?  What would I offer as an upsell?

I hadn’t gone through all the resource material I have on hand about product launches.  So the first night was spent trying to think about all the bits and pieces that needed to get done.  I was mentally mindmapping the process and trying to see what I didn’t have in place — all the WHAT stuff.

I spent the next day actually creating those mindmaps (and getting lost in the process a little, as I tend to be a very linear thinker and mindmaps are anything but linear!).  But by the end of the day I figured I had the big pieces mapped out.  The rest would be details and logistics.

Woman at crossroadsAnd the details and logistics kept me up the SECOND night.  How was I going to get this all done by my projected launch date?  What if the support systems — the autoresponder system and shopping cart — that I had just spent the last couple of months figuring out and implementing aren’t able to work together to make happen what I needed to make happen?

And then the self-doubt kicks in.  I could MAYBE get this all done — if I changed some of my processes and systems (stopped trying to cobble together free and cheap bits and pieces and spending inordinate amounts of time trying to make them play nicely, and bit the bullet and signed up for the “pro” versions) and then hired someone right now to do it all.  And before that product launches and starts generating income, can I justify the additional expenses?

By the time I crawled out of bed the second morning, I was pretty much an emotional basket case.  Fear can paralyze me; it also makes me quite grumpy.  Which isn’t fair to those around me.  And certainly doesn’t help in the decision making process.

Something had to give.  Fortunately in this instance, the fix was easy to make and fairly low risk: I rescheduled the launch date to early September, which happens to be the 20th anniversary month of when I left corporate to start my own business: a fortuitous date!

Am I worried that pushing that date out is me “waiting for ready”?  Yes, a little.  It’s a bad habit of mine, needing to have every single little detail perfect before moving forward.  But since making the decision, I’ve signed up for 1ShoppingCart (the upgraded autoresponder/shopping cart system), registered the domain name for the launch, installed OptimizePress (a WordPress theme specifically for squeeze pages, sales pages, and launches), and started building the launch sequence and writing the marketing content.  I’ve also found a virtual assistant proficient in 1ShoppingCart to help me Get It All Done; we’ve had our first “getting to know you” call yesterday  and will connect again tomorrow for the more in-depth task and retainer fee discussion.

So even though I have almost two weeks of business travel in July and a week of personal travel in early August, the product WILL launch on September 5.  Stay tuned to this blog for more details!

Moving from paralysis, even self-inflicted paralysis, into action is SUCH a good feeling!  The emotions are back on track and I’m sleeping well again.

Puzzled heartTen years ago, I would never have been able to make the change based on my emotions, my instincts.  I would have half-killed myself to get done what I said I would get done rather than make the course correction necessary, that minor schedule change, to get back on track.

In the last few years, I have been fortunate to work with some amazing coaches and mentors, people who can get me out of my head and into my heart, who encourage me to follow my instincts and emotions even when making hard-core business decisions.

It works.

Do you believe that intuition plays a role in making business decisions?  How much weight do you put on your “gut feeling” about a decision?  Have you ever had to make a course correction as I did, one that puts you on the path you would have been on if you HAD trusted your instincts?

Let’s talk!


  1. Win- excellent article! I could relate with you on many fronts-even the personal vacations to the tropics that can occur at any time, day or night. Amazing how long it takes some of us to realize we have options outside corporate America.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful team which is vital in carrying out your dreams, goals, and desires.

    Say Yes and figure it out! You can do it, don’t stop, don’t listen to the gremlin and keep focused!

    Yes! Energy Coach

    • Thanks, Melody! The team is coming together slowly, as I figure out how to let go of things. I think one of the reasons many of us become entrepreneurs is for the control; needing that control can make it hard to delegate, sometimes!

      Options are important. Even when choosing to stay in a corporate environment, we have options. I used to know a tech writer whose email signature read “Life One pays for Life Two”. She had, for her, the perfect job-job: paid enough to allow her to do what she wanted, wasn’t toxic, and was the sort of position she could leave at 6 pm M-F and go and do her thing (which was shaped note singing, actually!).

      For me, one way to work through the emotional side, the “trust your gut” side, of decision making is to journal. A lot. I write my way through stuff. I rarely go back and read what I wrote, but doing a stream-of-consciousness dump in my journal gets the nonsense out of my head and out of my way.

      Do you have a favourite strategy?