Leveling Up Gives Me Hives, But I Don't Mind The Itching

Written by Cathy Tilton

When I started my business almost six years ago, there was no business plan or lofty goals. I started (what is now) Cathy360 because I loved social media, and I didn’t love being an employee. My only goal at that time was to support myself (and my very needy cat) and make my own schedule.

Fast forward to now, and things are the same, yet totally different. I still want to support myself, I still make my own schedule, and my cat is still needy. But I’ve amassed a wide variety of skills, branching out from social media into all aspects of digital marketing. My skills have grown, my expertise has expanded, and that means that it’s time for my business to grow. So why is that so terrifying?

I’ll level with you; I’m not great at accepting the good things about me. I can listen to criticism all day and say YUP, THAT’S ME. But give me a compliment or tell me something I’m good at? I’ll laugh it off, or say you are just being nice, or assume that everyone has that skill. But that’s just not going to cut it anymore. It’s time for me to step into my knowledge, and own my skills and talents in my work. Because, let’s be real, who wants to work with someone that doesn’t even believe in themselves?

The process of rebranding my business to encompass my personal writings and my professional work was an arduous labor of love. I lost my mentor at the start of the process, and ended up putting the project off for months. But eventually I knew it was time to grow. I had outgrown both my blog brand and my work brand, and I felt like I was wearing a coat that was too small.Growth needed to happen, and no one could make me do it. I had to be the one to take that first step forward.

I can’t lie; I’m finding the entire process terrifying. Because as scared as I am to fail, I’m a thousand times more afraid to succeed. Failure is awful but it’s comfortable, it’s familiar, and it never forces me out of my comfort zone. But success? That is completely uncharted territory, and it triggers my anxiety, my Imposter Syndrome, and all of my self-doubts. In fact, it’s literally giving me hives. I’m typing this while covered in steroid cream due to the incessant itching.

While I don’t like the itching, I do like what it represents, which is growth. My body and brain are sort of rebelling, and I know that it’s because we’re in a totally new realm. I’m going to push through the itches and insecurity, not because I am brave or strong, but because I am so freaking excited to see what happens next. I can go anywhere with my work and my writing. I can choose any direction and any project. And I’m going to open my arms to the possibility. Because at this point, I’ve already won. I’ve overcome the fear of change and growth, and I’m stepping forward into the great unknown. And I have the itch to prove it.


Cathy is a digitally creative marketer in her professional life, and a style and life blogger in her personal life. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and her ridiculously fluffy cat. She started freelancing as a social media manager in December 2012, which has since grown into a full digital marketing business, Cathy360. She loves talking about creating connections online, plus size style, body image, mental health, and her cat’s Instagram page. Her favorite snack is string cheese and beef jerky, and she’s always down to get a tattoo.

Chelsea Francis