The life of an entrepreneur is filled with ups and downs. Some days, you’ll ride the crest of a wave and everything you touch will turn to gold. On others, the stresses and strains of calling the shots can weigh heavy. What will you do when your fledgling business hits a rough patch? When a difficult client causes issues? Or, you lose out on a contract to a competitor? The single most effective weapon you’ll wield in these tough times is your own self-belief. But, how do you keep the faith when self-doubt creeps in?
Self-confidence is something we all must nurture. If you struggle with it, you’re not alone. None of us are born with bulletproof belief in ourselves. Luckily, it is something you can acquire. Following these five tips to stay confident as a first-time entrepreneur will give you a head start.
Seek Out Mentorship
One of the biggest thrills in entrepreneurship is becoming your own boss. You no longer answer to anyone and your business will rise or fall on your decisions. While this is usually a positive, it’s nice to have someone to use as a sounding board for big decisions; Mentorship fills this gap. A mentor should be someone with experience in the business world; A person who can point to the pitfalls so you can avoid them. Knowing you have this experience to turn to, should you need it, will allow you to move forward with confidence.
Learn from Setbacks
Before turning Apple into the all-conquering corporate giant of modern times, Steve Jobs found himself on the scrapheap, fired from his role at the company over a clash of personalities.
“What had been the focus of my entire adult life, was gone. It was devastating,” he said at the time.
This setback inspired Jobs to better himself. He founded NeXT and helmed animation studio Pixar through the company’s ascent in the entertainment world. He took the lessons learned during this time and returned to Apple ready to take on the world.
Every entrepreneur, no matter how dedicated or prodigiously talented, will face setbacks on the road. How you react to these setbacks will define you and your business. In life, you win or you learn – you never lose.
No matter what, you’re going to have to tackle issues as an entrepreneur you’ve never faced before. This feeling of discomfort is perfectly normal and not something that should get in your way. Responding to these challenges successfully will show your ability to handle anything life throws at you. Every milestone you reach proves you can do this, and that success is within your grasp. The more discomfort you tackle head on, the less you will fear new challenges. Allow discomfort to become an ally.
Embrace the Word ‘No’
If your default answer to business questions is ‘yes’, you’re leaving yourself open to stretching yourself too thin. Our natural inclination is to keep people happy. This feeling can be amplified when you’re trying to build business relationships and take those first tentative steps. Saying ‘yes’ first, and thinking about it later, has an all too realistic chance of burning you out as you attempt to cover more ground than you can. Failures you suffer as a result of being too eager to please can contribute to eroding your self-belief. Respect your own time, mental health and resources by learning to say ‘no’ when it’s appropriate.
Celebrate Every Win
It’s important to take the time to acknowledge your victories as an entrepreneur, no matter how small. Whether it’s a sale, a contract or even a bit of good news, allow yourself a little celebration to validate your hard work. Celebrating has the powerful effect of creating a positive feeling you associate with your small business. The more victories you savour, the more you’ll be motivated to keep working hard.
Remember, you’ve got this!