Life and Business Coach and Queen of Motivation and Positive Mindset, Sophie French, shares the five things you really need to nip in the bud if you want to build self-confidence and reign in that nagging voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t good enough.
Running your own business is no mean feat – and as well as making you question your decisions about a trillion times a day, it’s also a surefire way to make you feel super defensive, protective and a little bit sensitive of your precious work. And that makes perfect sense – after all, it is YOUR name above the door, and it’s your livelihood, so you have every right to feel that.
That said, if you’re smart and want a chance at staying sane in your business as well as maintaining your confidence levels and reducing your self-doubt, there are a few things it’s advisable not to do, as tempting as they might be (I know you’ve been there! me too!)
Oh, the horror when you see that little number under the ‘unsubscribes’ section of your Mailchimp reports. That bit is unavoidable, and yes, it’s important to review it to check out what worked and what didn’t. But, whatever you do, don’t click that highlighted number that allows you to see exactly WHO it was that unsubscribed. THAT is as torturous as watching your ex-boyfriends’ new girlfriends’ insta story of the cute sausage do they just bought together after he told you he didn’t like animals! There’s just zero requirement for you to know who it is that unsubscribed – because as soon as you do, you will begin to make up a gazillion stories about why they might have done it, and what it might mean, and whether they actually hate you or if you said something that offended them and GIRL – you will never actually know for sure, so don’t fret yourself over it.
There could be SO MANY REASONS that someone decided to unsubscribe from your list – perhaps they are already subscribed on another of their email addresses because they loved your content so much, maybe they are having a clear-out and moving their email inbox, maybe they are simply taking a break from content consumption and good for them for doing so, maybe they are triggered by how beautifully you write and are looking after their own comparison critters, and maybe your content just isn’t a good fit for them anymore and that is so ok too!
Whatever the reason – you cannot and will not know – so do yourself a favour and save yourself from adding fuel to your self-critical fire and do not look.
But, a note to the rebel that you are – if your finger does happen to not-so-accidentally-accidentally find itself clicking the button, just don’t make assumptions about what it may or may not mean about you – okay? Ok.
Your friends and your parents are not your customers. I repeat: your friends and your parents are not your customers.
There’s nothing quite as soul-destroying as the look of horror on your bestie-who-doesn’t-have-their-own-business and hasn’t been doing money mindset work for the best part of three years when you tell her how much you charge for your services and she follows with ‘I would never pay that!’ Or the guilt that comes when your Mum says ‘that’s more than I make in a month!” about one of your packages.
As a general rule, they just aren’t going to get it. They’ve not been doing the same work as you, they’re not in the same industry, and they have their own preconceived ideas about what is acceptable or not to pay for all kinds of things. And also: of COURSE they wouldn’t pay you because they know they can get your services for free or a great rate – so yeah, they’re right!
As tempting as it is to lean on them for advice, they just won’t be able to provide the insight that you want and need about your actual customers, the market and what you’re selling. And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you have to disown them, or go and live in the rainforest with a tribe of fellow business owners and dismiss ever knowing your friends and family (though a rainforest business tribe does sound like fun!) – but what it does mean is that your business decisions/advice/insights are just something you keep separate for conversations with fellow business friends, your customers/community, your coach, your mastermind friends, a mentor who has experienced the level of success you aspire to, or quite simply – a surprise this might be – yourself. Your sweet all-knowing self.
In the same way, you wouldn’t tell your Mum about the bedroom antics of you and your love, there’s no need to tell her about the financial ins and outs of your company, either.
If there’s a key thing that saved my sanity in the early days of working for myself, it’s having a schedule and sticking to it. While initially when I started out I assumed that working for myself meant working whenever I want, and sure it does – BUT, if we want any chance of actually getting anything done when there are a million TV shows on Netflix, the temptation to nestle down with a cuppa in front of Holly & Phil on the sofa every morning because what a treat it is to be at home in the day, and all the laundry, food shopping, cleaning you could do instead…you’ve got a recipe for distraction and procrastination central.
Setting yourself up with a schedule and learning to stick to it early on is THE KEY to discipline and staying the course around all the other temptations.
While a schedule might not sound like the freedom you have been so looking forward to, it really does give you so much freedom – because once you’ve done the things on your schedule your time is then your own – no more guilty evenings on the sofa thinking about all the things you should have done and not actually enjoying your free-time ever.
Scheduling will save your life and your sanity, and that is a promise.
When you first let people know that you’re going self-employed and to work for yourself – do you know what they will tell you? A story about someone that they knew that went self-employed and found it SO hard, and didn’t make any money and really struggled and had to close down the whole thing!
No, that person isn’t trying to put the fear of God into you, they genuinely do think they’re being helpful, so don’t shoot the messenger. But DO shoot the message. One person’s story of their struggle has literally zero effect on how your plan is going to work out – you have no idea of their background, their input, their effort, the circumstances or what they actually wanted or enjoyed – so no, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. It means you’ve got to find better stories.
Your mind looks for more of what you feed it, so read about all the people who have made it, who did make it works, and who have experienced the success that you would also love to experience – these are the people to listen to and learn from, not Aunty Sandra who has been at the County Council for 33 years and has complained about it every day since.
Not only does feeling like you have to have everything figured output a whole lot of pressure on your fine self, but not feeling able to tell anyone when you’re struggling? That in itself is a sharp-left into exhaustion-ville. From my own experience and through speaking with fellow business owners, there’s a definite stigma to telling people that actually: it’s really fucking hard.
Because ‘you are so lucky that you get to choose your own hours’ and ‘you can just take a holiday whenever you want’ and all of the other glamorous expectations that come of working for yourself, may not be cultivated for at least the first one-three (or seven) years and so feeling like you have to pretend that it’s all going swimmingly for that long is going to be pretty tiring.
Granted, choose the people you tell wisely – your Mum might get worried and not be helpful at all, and your clients might not be the best people to offload your financial fears too – but make it your absolute mission to find people that you can tell your doubts to and importantly, work through them with. That might be finding other friends that are business owners as a matter of urgency, joining mastermind groups or retreats where you’ll meet like-minded people, or hiring a coach or mentor to keep you afloat and on track.
Most importantly though – know that it’s OK to be afraid and be finding it hard – if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Surround yourself with those that get you and find ways to speak about the struggles – there is so much strength to be found there.
And there you have it! Some hot not-to-do’s to reign in your self-doubt and keep your ‘can’t’ gremlins at bay. Let’s face it – running your own business can take a lot sometimes, and the self-doubt struggles are real – looking after your mind and being really conscious of what you’re letting in is key.
Sophie is a Life Coach & Business Mentor supporting women in business to ‘crush the can’t’ in their head, own their superpowers and share them with the world. To date, she’s helped hundreds of women ignite confidence in themselves. Her clients have quit soul-sucking jobs, launched businesses, tripled their monthly income, launched workshops, become fully booked and much more because they’ve learned how to bust through their limits and pursue their dreams.