Having belief in yourself as an entrepreneur sets you apart from those who will thrive in business and those who will fail. Quite a stark way to begin a blog post I’ll admit, but I believe that confidence in your abilities when running your own business will make a huge difference to the outcome.
Self-doubt is toxic and will cripple your efforts to succeed. If you lack conviction then people will struggle to take you or your business seriously.
It’s therefore crucial to make sure you move forward with the right mindset. But how can you make sure that you banish those entrepreneurial anxieties and maintain a winning attitude?
It’s easier than you might think.
What is self-doubt and how can I tell if I doubt myself?
Running a business as a solo-preneur can be tough as you have to take care of every aspect yourself. It’s what sets us apart from a conventional business with employees who carry out set tasks within the organisation. As an entrepreneur, all the responsibility for product and content generation, marketing, finance and much, much more land on our shoulders.
It can be a huge learning curve to tackle some of these skills, especially if you’re not familiar with them. The beginning of any entrepreneur’s journey is therefore exciting and scary.
Mindset can have a lasting affect on the success of your business. If you doubt yourself, your abilities and your ideas then you will inevitably fail at the end. Why? Because you’ll never be truly committed.
If you lack conviction in your ideas then you won’t invest time, money and enough of yourself into your project.
Does what I’m talking about sound a little bit familiar? Perhaps you are in the place that I once was at the start of my entrepreneurial endeavours. Let me share my story with you and tips on how to overcome anxiety at the beginning of your business.
The beginning of my entrepreneurial journey
I’m writing about self-doubt because it’s a topic that is close to my heart. As an entrepreneur and business owner myself, I will hold my hands up and admit that I’ve had times of self-doubt.
At first, the thrill of quitting my corporate job and going independent was so exciting. I felt like I was realising my dreams to become an entrepreneur.
However, self-doubt was quick to ride in on the coattails of my euphoria.
Along came the first difficulties, which had my head in a spin. Then more difficulties showed up and they just didn’t stop landing at my doorstep.
It felt like nothing was going my way. I knew it was going to be difficult to quit my stable job and start a fresh path running my own business, but damn, it was way harder than I could have expected!
Everything was failing and I felt like my confidence was crumbling. Negativity began to creep in and the only thing I was thinking was how much of a failure I was. I kept telling myself that my ideas must be worthless.
It was a difficult period for me that lasted around a year.
Making progress in my business
Luckily, I began to turn things around. My business gradually built from strength to strength as I pushed aside my fears and put the work in.
Now I am in a much happier, stable place where I am watching my business grow from my efforts. This is incredibly motivating, however, I don’t forget the dark place I was once in. It keeps me determined to stay focused and keep on track.
I wanted to share my story with you so that you know you are not alone. I want to help make things better for you, too, if you are struggling through a period of anxiety as a first-time business owner.
Below I share my 8 tips for overcoming anxiety as I do not want my fellow female entrepreneurs to be doubting their ability to rock their business goals.
How to fight self doubt:
1. Start celebrating
When we are caught up obsessing about our failures, we are quick to ignore the small wins. These small wins may not feel like much but they add up to build a bigger success story and are proof that you are heading in the right direction.
Got a reply from a pitch you’ve sent out? Designed a new product? Written a blog post? Take time to celebrate everything and anything positive that happens to you.
2. Don’t dwell on your failures
With each success story there may be at least one or two failures lurking. It may be the most difficult thing to do, but you have to learn to forgive yourself and see these as a lesson learned. It’s better to make mistakes early on in your business than later down the line when you have more at stake.
Cut yourself some slack; you’re still learning.
3. Be proud of what you achieve and shout about it
Give one hundred percent in everything you do and don’t forget to showcase your hard work. There are a lot of entrepreneur groups on Facebook where you’ll be able to share what you’ve achieved with a community of like-minded people who will be proud and supportive.
It’s crucial to get the balance right here. You’re not looking to sell to your fellow entrepreneurs, but share your wins. Engage in these forums and you’ll soon receive positive feedback that will make you feel great.
4. Ask for help
The road to self-employment is a huge learning curve. You cannot be expected to know everything there is about running your own business. When you don’t know something there is no shame in asking for help.
Once again, seek out the support from an entrepreneurial group on Facebook and ask your questions. The community here will be ready to help you without any judgement. It will make you feel better and more confident about your decisions
Tip: Not sure what I mean about Facebook groups? Just enter in search terms relevant to your niche e.g. blogging, female entrepreneurs, creative and you will find plenty of private groups and pages dedicated to helping people in your field.
5. Help other entrepreneurs
Go out there and talk to people. Nothing builds confidence more than realising that you’re not alone. Take a look at co-working spaces in your area and check out whether they are hosting any networking or social events you can join.
Use your social media network to make connections with like minded entrepreneurs who you can share knowledge with. Lending a helping hand to other people on a similar journey to you will help you realise how much you already know.
6. Don’t believe the hype
The internet can be a great learning resource for someone starting out in business, and you are not the only one who looks online for advice and guidance. If you see a business person who is claiming to have raked in over six figures in a short space of time, it all sounds too good to be true.
I will admit that I’m the kind of cynic who puts her hand up to say that if sounds too good to be true then it probably is. I’m not saying there are not legitimate six figure coaches out there; I personally know of some great women who have made it. What sets them apart is that they’re not bragging about it.
Stop believing all these fake six figure wannabe gurus. I don’t believe they can all be making six figures, and, if they are, 80% of their money goes back into the expensive Facebook ads that clutter up your newsfeed. Ask yourself: if this in-your-face marketing didn’t exist, would you come to their business and want to buy their product or service organically?
7. Motivational mantras
This one is a very personal tip, but I love starting my day with quote to motivate me.
Here’s my logic behind this one: I don’t want to feel down so I have to start looking for positive things to cheer me up; I want to always feel good so that I will never be down.
Instagram and Pinterest are great for pulling in inspiring quotes to brighten your mood.
8. Appreciate what you’ve got
If all else fails, I love to have a quick read of Client from Hell. This amusing website reminds me of how lucky I am to be following my dreams and working on the things that I love. I feel grateful that my customers are amazing and I’m not in any of the situations I read about on this page!
Sometimes, laughter really is the best medicine and it helps me to keep a positive perspective whenever I’m dwelling on a problem.
Overcoming Entrepreneur Anxiety
Anxiety and doubt are part of life; everyone experiences them at some stage.
The road to entrepreneurship can be a very stressful one. It is also a period in your life where you are learning new things almost daily: from creating your products or services to getting to grips with the financial side to running a business.
Being repeatedly faced by all these challenges can exacerbate the feeling that you are failing. In my opinion, we need to learn how to recognise when we are learning new skills and accept that these periods of growth are necessary for our businesses. You may not be perfect, but you are striving for progress.
How you choose to react to doubt will have an enormous impact on not only your health but that of your business. Do you let doubts get the best of you or do you face them and fight?
I hope my tips will help you cope with the challenges you may face on your solo-preneur journey.
Do you have any other personal tips you’d like to share? I’d love to know how you deal with self doubt and anxiety. Leave a comment!