I started my first business in 2008. It started out well with a good client base (the company I had been working for went into liquidation so I started with an existing client base). Five years down the line it was a very different story for a number of reasons but the main one was lack of business development i.e. sales! When I started my next business in 2016, with no existing client base, I had a similar problem and business development became an issue. Why?
I found myself seriously procrastinating when it came to sales. I couldn’t understand why. I’m generally not a procrastinator without good reason. I’m very extroverted. Meeting and connecting with people is easy for me. So what was the problem? After much introspection, I discovered the reason: a lack of confidence in myself and my abilities. As a consultant, I was selling me! And it was hard. So hard that I avoided it completely. This hit my business hard financially, as it would any business.
What got to me was no one told me about this. So I’m going to tell you now: selling yourself or your product takes guts. It takes confidence, belief in yourself and your abilities.
But now what? How do you overcome a lack of confidence? Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way. And some of the things I do to help me.
Do you believe with all your heart and soul in what you are trying to achieve? Do you believe that what you are doing will impact or change people (or the environment) for the better? If your answer these questions is no it might be time to re-think things. Having a cause or purpose that you believe in helps boost your confidence. It’s very difficult to sell something you don’t believe in. Doing it simply to earn money is not enough.
As businesses (or even individuals) we can lose our way. We all get caught up in the daily grind and forget why we started something. Put your purpose in a place where you can see it. Use it as a lock screen on your phone. Put a picture on your desktop. Anything to remind yourself.
Growing A Business: Embrace vulnerability and failure
Not every interaction is going to go the way you want it to. Potential clients will turn you down. You might even look silly in the process. It’s ok!! Failure is a stepping stone, it means you tried. I know this might sound very cheesy but it’s true. I regularly read books and listen to podcasts dealing with issues of vulnerability and failure and how we can learn, grow and improve ourselves because of it. By surrounding myself with this type of information it normalises doing your best and your best might not always give you the result you wanted. It’s ok!! Keep going. Keep trying. Do whatever you have to do.
I discovered a great exercise for overcoming personal blocks for growing a business. For this exercise, you need a journal.
1. Write down what you want to achieve. I want to be, For example, I want to be a photographer for National Geographic.
2. Write down: What’s holding you back?
3. Write what you believe is preventing you from achieving this. For example, I’m not good enough and I don’t have the right qualification or experience.
4. Write down: But is this true? Answer the question.
5. Write down: What are you afraid of? Answer the question.
6. Write down: What’s the worst that could happen? Answer the question.
7. Keep going until you get to a solution.
This exercise is designed to be a conversation with yourself. In this example, you might find a solution of doing a photographic course and getting an internship to gain experience. Or you might realise that you are actually good enough and everything is in your head. And the world probably won’t end if you try! What daily rituals can you do to make sure you keep trying?
Based on this exercise I have developed a daily ritual for myself that helps boost my confidence. I surround myself with empowering quotes. I have a mantra that makes me feel good. I say it many times throughout the day. I do daily confidence building meditation. I write in my journal and celebrate my successes. I focus on having fun. When I’m having fun somehow it seems easier to try things even if they don’t work out. Try it. It’ll be fun.
Good luck and have fun!
If you’re interested to learn more about growing your business please contact me: