As an entrepreneur, you likely have many dreams and plans to back them. But just because you’re willing to pursue a business idea doesn’t mean you’re 100% confident and free of self doubt — you are human, after all.
It doesn’t help to have multiple people in your ear, explaining what could go wrong (as if it hasn’t occurred to you already). Whether it’s your parents’ warning you of the risk of running a business, your friend’s frustration over your busy schedule, or your partner’s hesitant support of your leap into entrepreneurship — there are many people who will plant seeds of doubt in your mind. And when they begin to sprout, it can be intimidating to continue pursuing your passion.
However, as the quote goes… “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott. Don’t let fear hold you back. Here are five tips to help you overcome self doubt as a new business owner or freelancer.
Take others’ opinions with a grain of salt
Sure, your family and friends only want what’s best for you; but they are not you. You can listen to their concerns and even take them into consideration without completely giving up on your decision.
For instance, maybe your dad recommends starting your business as a side hustle while working to build your savings, and only diving in once you’re financially stable. This is sound advice that comes from a rational place. However, if he tried to talk you out of pursuing your dreams because of the risk of failure, you can identify that this, instead, comes from a place an emotional place.
Additionally, don’t take them to heart or as a personal hit. People often project their own insecurities or relay their own fears. Just because your mom doesn’t think it’s a good idea to start your business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t persist.
Get involved in a local entrepreneurial community
Entrepreneurship can be an isolating and intimidating career path. While you’re strong and persistent enough to achieve your dreams on your own, it helps to have others who support you.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are — or have been — in the same boat as you will help you gain confidence and feel inspired to chase your goals. By joining your local entrepreneurial community, you’ll also increase your networking and gain access to resources in your area, both of which will make you feel more capable of success. Within your group, consider finding a mentor or a few solid supporters who you can turn to without judgement. They’ll become invaluable as you grow.
Often, our own doubts about ourselves are derived from the opinions and insecurities of others. If we want to overcome self doubt, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we’re so afraid of failing. When we do this, we quickly learn that we tend to view success in the way others view us, which ultimately has everything to do with the way they view themselves.
Instead of listening to the noise around you, turn inward and seek guidance and comfort from yourself, or else you’ll struggle at every level of your business. There will always be decisions to make and trials to work through. Remind yourself why you’re pursuing entrepreneurship: because you’re passionate about your product/service, and you are qualified to be your own boss. If no one else will offer you that support, at least offer it to yourself.
Understand — and accept — the risks
When you’re trying to overcome self doubt, remind yourself that the only person’s opinion that matters in this equation is your own. Yes, there are risks associated with starting your own business. Once you can admit and accept that, you can move forward rather than allowing it to hold you back.
So what if you fail? So what if you fall short of perfection? Don’t be so hard on yourself, or else you’ll never step out of your comfort zone. There are no mistakes in entrepreneurship — only lessons learned. Wouldn’t you rather take the risk and grow — not only as a person, but also as a business owner — than never know what might have been?
5. Create a thorough plan
Don’t go into your business endeavor without a sense of direction. You want your business to be a (secure) leap of faith, not a shot in the dark.
Mapping out the details and setting realistic goals and deadlines will help you feel more organized and competent. Create a plan that outlines steps to take to create and build your business, like securing funding, creating a website and social media profiles, developing a marketing strategy, etc.
If you want your business — and, in turn, your confidence — to grow, you must focus on targeting a relevant audience and recruiting a loyal following.
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