After holding exactly two “normal” retail jobs in college, I decided that I got around zero satisfaction from working for a corporation, and that my real professional ambition in life was to call my own shots, work on my own terms, and start my own business.
This decision absolutely thrilled me.
For about 2 days.
Then reality hit.
I had some major roadblocks to get around: I was only 20, had no real business experience to speak of, and didn’t have a clue how to create, market, and actually sell a product or service.
What I didn’t realize then was that none of those issues were really my problem. The number one thing actually holding me back from starting my own business was that fact that I had zero confidence in my entrepreneurial abilities and rights.
Who was I to pretend I was a business owner; I had only recently stopped qualifying as a right-off on my parent’s taxes.
Who would take me seriously?
What did I have to offer that hundreds of people couldn’t already do better?
I’ve learned that confidence in your ideas and abilities is the most important ingredient to self-employment success.
Here is my three-step plan for breaking through self-doubt and inhibition, and starting the business you’ve been dreaming about.
Take Life-Long Education Seriously
One of the biggest confidence-boosters in business is feeling like you know your stuff. So invest in some good online courses, some classes at your local community college, or even a business coach. Read lots of books on business and your industry. Subscribe to blogs written by the experts in your niche.
Stay on top of trends, techniques, and the good ol’ basics and I promise your confidence will start to increase big time.
Invest In a Professional Image
Have you ever bought some new clothes that just made your look and feel great? When you put them on, you felt confident.
The same sort of thing happens when you have a snazzy, professional online presence. When you have a great website, some beautiful businesses cards, and a polished LinkedIn profile, your business starts to feel real. Your entrepreneurial ambitions grow some true roots.
Even if you haven’t gotten a single paying client or customer yet – even if the only one you’ve told your business idea to so far is your cat – invest in a professional image.
Build (or have someone build for you) a nice website. Put some professional, credibility boosting copy on it, and make yourself some business accounts on social media platforms.
A professional image will make you feel 100x more legit. If you wait until your business is a success to invest in it then, well…you might never have a reason to invest.
Take a deep breath – now, go
Back when I started out, I spent endless hours tweaking my website, completing online courses, and reading every business book in the entire local library system.
And it really helped.
But I was still stuck. I had done all I needed to prepare myself and my business, but I still wondered in the back of my mind “do I really have what it takes to do this?”
In fact, I never stopped wondering that until I did something crazy: I sent out a letter and landed my first client.
Was I terrified? Yes.
Was it the best thing I ever did for my business? Absolutely.
The truth is you’ll never know if you’re cut out for the solo-business life until you actually try it. Nothing in the world will convince you that you have what it takes more than selling a product to a satisfied customer or finishing a project for a grateful client.
So no matter how nervous you are, the most important step in gaining confidence as an entrepreneur is putting yourself out there and actually running your business.
You might feel like a fraud the first time you tell a client “Yes, I can have this done by next Monday!” or answer the “what do you do question” with “I run my own business”.
But just remember: you’ve done your homework, you’re good at what you do, and everybody starts at the beginning.
In a short time, you’ll look back and wonder why it took you so long to do this in the first place.
Starting your own business and setting out on your own can be a daunting and scary task. If you need some motivation be sure you read this article that will help you Persevere Through The Tough Times and Setbacks.
|Written on 9/16/2013 by Sonja Jobson. Sonja Jobson helps entrepreneurs and small business owners become incredible on the internet. She shares her best marketing advice in her free weekly email tips.|
Photo Credit: Kigali Wire