Having the confidence to launch your business(12 Posts)
Hi all. Hoping to hear a few other stories from people who felt like I currently do prior to launching their business. For health reasons, I have been out of work and supported by my lovely DH for 4 years. However, I'm now in a position to get back to the working world and we decided that the best way for me to do this would be to do it as a business owner. This will allow me the flexibility I need to attend various medical appointments. Something small, sole trader. I'm massively experienced in my field, know the demand is very much out there, have business plan in place, certs, website and social media etc and yet.....I can't quite bring myself to have the confidence to just launch the damn thing! My confidence has dwindled hugely while I've been ill so I know this is the cause of it. I don't know what the hell I'm scared of. The start up costs are low so it's not like we'd be out of pocket if, god forbid, it went tits up. Honestly, I think I have some ridiculous fear that I'll fuck up and my new lack of confidence in myself will be proven.
Did anyone else really have to take a leap of faith and silence their inner demons when they started up?
I started my first business about 25 years ago. I was the least likely person you can imagine, very introverted and academic/bookish. My motivator was that I was a single parent with no money and the dc need winter coats/shoes (and it kind of grew from there into something huge). At the time, I had one friend who was very successful in business and he was so 'ordinary'- just like me, if that makes sense - I just kept telling myself that if he could do it, I could. And like you, I had a lot of experience and already knew I was an 'expert' in my field. (Remind yourself of that often!)
I think part of it is also finding someone who inspires you, who can give you the extra boost when you need it. I really like Tony Robbins, for example (not everyone's favourite, I know). When I went through a really tough patch in the business, I'd just read Richard Branson's book, 'Screw it. Let's Do It'. At the time I was having to step out of my comfort zone almost every day. I got through it by thinking, 'Ok, what would Richard Branson do in this situation?' It sounds a bit daft, but it really worked.
There have been some very tough times (e.g. following the 2008 crash and then my exh, who was also a director, walking out just as we were getting back on an even keel) and it can be difficult to pick yourself up and go on afterwards. I had to completely start again in 2013. (Interestingly, it never occurred to me that I shouldn't do so.) It helps to take the position that even if the 'worst' happens and the business fails, so what? You've learned something and you'll do it better the next time. It's the business that has failed, not you.
It will also help if you can find a way of detaching yourself from other people's opinions, because they are not always as supportive as you might hope. Sometimes the people closest to you are the worst, and the more successful you are the worse they can be. I've had to ignore a lot of people over the years.
In other words, I think it's about learning what/who motivates and inspires you. Also becoming comfortable with the idea of 'failure' and 'setbacks'. Ask yourself, 'what's the worst that can happen' - usually, it's not that bad. And once you have faced it, you can put together a plan for what you would do if that did happen.
P.s. Richard Branson wouldn't have done that. I don't think the possibility of failure ever occurred to him when he first started his business.
lizzyj4 thank you for replying, that's actually been really helpful. Congratulations for starting again as well and for just jumping straight in and doing it. I've never heard of that Richard Branson Book so I'll give it a go. I'm not normally one for motivational post-its or anything like that but I have a whiteboard on which I have logos of business owners who either started up when they were older (like me) or made a complete career change and succeeded. I think I just really need to hammer it into my head that the worst that could happen isn't actually that bad at all. Because I am effectively the product, there aren't any outgoings for materials, premises etc.
Well done for providing for your kids in the way that you did and for picking yourself back up. Of course, you had no choice but it's a great achievement regardless.
I had a failed business in 2008 and it took every ounce of courage to launch my current business in 2013. I deliberately took baby steps, and it was risky as DH runs his own business too and we have dd and mortgage to there was a lot at stake. But I did it, and so far it's been the best decision I've ever made. And actually there have been so many bigger and scarier business decisions that have been made since that actually make the initial starting out seem tiny now. Running a business takes balls, no doubt about it. But like my dad always says, life isn't a rehearsal and you're the master of your own destiny and all those other clichés - so be bold and brave and go for it.
Rockspin I think that's good for me to hear actually, it's made me feel a bit better about taking baby steps instead of feeling like I'm starting something small and pointless. The reality is, growth requires money but you need to be trading to earn it! It takes massive balls, doesn't it? That's why I've posted here because as much as friends and family say, "Wow, definitely do it!" it can be quite hard for that to mean anything coming from someone who's never done it themselves.
How much contact do you have with others in your field who are a few years down the line from setting up? I found it enormously helpful to chat to other people doing what I wanted to do (some were, and remain, funny buggers about it, but just move on from them). Had some really helpful advice and support.
Saucery it's interesting that you say that because I know a good few but I've learned to stick to speaking to the only two who have been genuinely helpful about it ie. when I was having bother trying to find out how to obtain particular certs. Others have been very discouraging without doing so in a massively obvious manner. So I'm just staying clear of them.
I think it depends on how competitive your field is and whether they see you as direct competition. In my field, I'd worked for many of the other companies who were about to become my competitors, so they wouldn't have been keen to give advice. They completely dismissed/ignored me at first, thankfully - it's a good thing to be a bit 'under the radar' until you find your feet, especially in a competitive field.
lizzyj4 it's a funny one because what I'm going to be doing is very much a one man band sort of an industry where there is an excess of business available and people are having to be turned away because there just aren't the hours in the day. I've been lucky to find a couple of helpful people and as for the rest, like the saying goes : "There's nowt stranger than folk." Thank you for all your advice
You're welcome It sounds like a good field for a start-up! Agree, people can be ver..r...y strange. Perhaps it's possible to come to some agreement with the two helpful people that they will refer any excess work to you (and vice versa), if they're not too far away? It might help you get started.
That's a good idea lizzyj4, I'll ask them as I already send a lot of business their way so I'm sure they'll do the same.
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