There’s no right way to become an entrepreneur. Some people have a passion they pursue even if it might kill them, others have an idea, sit down and draw up a blueprint, create a business plan, find investment, create a company.
Many more people fall in to starting up a business; they get frustrated with corporate life and set up on their own, have a lightning-bolt moment that opens their eyes and changes their life, have a sideline that starts to snowball, or do something they quite enjoy and before you know it there they are, running a business.
As an entrepreneur we can assume you have an idea you believe in. Unfortunately having belief in something does not mean you naturally have confidence in putting it (and therefore yourself) out there.
Fear not, Judith Quin, founder of Your Whole Voice, multi-award winning vocal confidence specialist, international public speaker, author and member of The Association of Transformational Leaders of Europe, is here to share why confidence is important, and more importantly how to find some.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of confidence is: “self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” In reality, most people focus on worrying about attributes that others have previously picked holes in or attacked, what might go wrong, or how they might be negatively judged.
Even the most confident people have times when they wobble. Why? Because the human brain is hard-wired to protect us by looking out for what might be dangerous. In a social context this is anything where we are afraid that we stand out, don’t measure up, or are different to ‘the tribe’. For an entrepreneur it is vital that you stand out, and to the subconscious brain this means having to overcome the ‘danger’ of being different. One of the challenges with confidence is that it is both subjective and situational.
- Confidence is subjective: there are some things that you are supremely confident at but someone else isn’t. You might think coming up with new designs is easy but the idea makes your accountant crumble.
- Confidence is situational: there are some situations you are happy to speak about your business and others where you fall apart (often when the stakes increase, usually either financially or socially.) For example, you could have a presentation about the excellence of your business that you deliver and always get clients, but as soon as you think of putting that in front of investors (financially & socially ‘more important’) you might go weak at the knees.
- You might be confident speaking one-to-one but not to a group, or love the anonymity of a large room and hate one-to-one. The truth is that as an entrepreneur, you need to create a level of comfort in all situations, so that people can say ‘Yes’ to you, and so that you can say ‘No’ to those who aren’t right for you.
- You don’t have to be fully 100% confident in and of yourself to be successful – however your potential clients, customers, or investors have to have confidence in you. How do you give them that confidence?
Here are some top tips:
Let go of wanting everyone to like or agree with you.
You don’t have to ‘fit in’ your need to stand out! You don’t like or agree with everyone you’ve ever met or seen speak, so why should everyone like or agree with you?
Remember what you’re good at
Your qualities and abilities make you attractive, focus on them.
Be confident in the results you offer
Trust your testimonials. If you can’t find confidence in yourself, have confidence in how your product or services benefit your customers or clients, because that is what people want to see and hear.
Have a ‘higher purpose’
Connect to the passion behind your purpose, something you care about more than what you worry those you’re in front of might think or judge about you.
Clarity is key
You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be clear. Clarity of thought creates clarity of words, clarity of intention creates clarity of tone, clarity of request creates clear action; and you want your audience to take action!