Over the years, I have been asked the same question from aspiring entrepreneurs:
“When you are starting out and trying to grow your business, how do you build confidence in yourself and your business?”
I believe this is a fair question and after 15 years as a business owner, I can say that my answer hasn’t really changed. If you are able to apply the following formula to your business model and “stay the course” I am confident you will achieve the desired result.
This may seem rudimentary, but the unfortunate reality is that MANY people who start out with the goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur do so without ever developing a deep conviction in themselves or their product or service. This is a recipe for failure, and you simply cannot expect to achieve your goals if you don’t believe in yourself and your business model.
I’ve heard numerous business owners say how much they believe in themselves and what their product or service will do for others, but sometimes this is nothing more than lip service. You WILL face countless obstacles and hardships as an entrepreneur, and it is paramount to your success that you possess a true determination to succeed that is unwavering.
It all begins with a foundational belief that your product or service is valuable, and there is a real market that wants AND needs whatever you are selling. Furthermore, you must hold a level of resolve that no matter what adversity comes, you are more than capable of overcoming it. I have asked many of my clients this question: If you don’t believe in yourself and what you have to offer, how can you possibly expect anyone else to? The simple answer is you CAN’T.
As I’ve already mentioned an unwavering belief in yourself is vital to your success, but at times it will feel like a daily grind to maintain confidence and move forward. You will be vulnerable to ANY negative influence in your life and the cold hard truth is that we all have people in our lives who are really good at being the wet blanket on the fire. This doesn’t make them bad people, but it does make them incompatible with where you are at and where you are going.
Does this mean you should tell these people to take the train and get out of your life for good? I can’t answer that question with absolution because every situation is different, but I can tell you from my own personal experience that building a successful business is HARD and the last thing any of us needs in that situation is someone who will drag us down and make it harder so you would be wise to distance yourself from those negative influences.
FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT
Most have heard the phrase “fake it until you make it” and people often misinterpret this as lying or being deceptive, but I believe there’s a far more pragmatic view of the “fake it until you make it” approach. Anyone who has ever started a business knows that until you make your 1st sale you are in a pre-revenue position, and you don’t have SALES (plural) until you’ve made your 2nd sale, then your 3rd sale (and so on and so on). In other words, we’ve all been there.
So when you talk about your product or service, you might talk about your client(s) and share more than one way you helped them. You talk about meeting a certain need, or solving specific problems they had been dealing with. This allows others to learn about your level of experience and the different services you offer or the various problems your product solves.
In my first year or two in business, I shared a number of TRUE stories about the experiences I had with my first 5-10 clients including the problems I solved, the ways I was able to benefit them, and how happy they were to be working with me. I am quite confident this established my credibility, a proven track record, and the confidence prospective clients could have in my experience and the services I had to offer them.
Over time you will grow your business and your customer base, and then others will be singing your praises and referring business your way. Until then, you must represent your business with supreme confidence and never stop believing in yourself.
I get it… this seems like a no-brainer. Guess what? It is… but it can be easier said than done.
There is simply no substitute for making sales, generating revenue, and growing your business. Not only did I gain more confidence with every single sale when I was first starting out, BUT I realized that my experience was growing rapidly as well. Being exposed to different businesses, understanding the various challenges they were facing, and realizing I could actually help them only served to multiply my confidence exponentially.
It wasn’t long before my email inbox was filled by people asking questions that I knew the answers too and my phone was ringing with requests for my help in solving problems that had business owners stuck. When you get that very first phone call from someone who says, “I have a problem and [NAME] told me you are the guy who can solve it for me,” I can promise you that your confidence will soar. As an entrepreneur, there’s no better feeling.
If you are struggling to build CONFIDENCE and would like some help, I’d love to speak with you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.