Stepping into your true power, discovering yourself, and riding the big waves
I work with many clients on my small business coaching programs, who are on the edge of jumping into the scary deep end of starting their own business, or have already jumped. They dreamed for years about doing this, dabbled a bit in it as a hobby, dipped a toe into it with the odd paid job. And then the moment arrived to walk through that door, and become the free, creative business owner they desire to be. 99% of my clients will recognise themselves in this description, and all the big feelings that come with it.
“I will fail”, “I won’t make enough money”, “people will think I’m stupid”, “I should just stick with my old job`’. It is very normal to have those feelings, but they are not helpful in growing your business. How can you break through that first wobbly phase?
I have had those negative feelings myself, every time I started a new business, and something that I had never done before. I felt wobbly when I first opened a vintage shop (I had never even worked in a shop before, let alone owned one!), I felt insecure when going freelance as a copywriter (how to find clients? what to charge?), and it was another scary step when launching this coaching business.
But each time, the stories in my head were far worse than the reality, and I succeeded. I kept working on my mindset, and I learned on the job. Starting your own business is like hopping on a surf board and trying to ride the waves. It would be rare if you were a champion surfer from day one.
Changing the narrative, and acknowledging your inner critic
When you are about to take the big leap, your inner voice wants to protect you. She will tell you all the reasons why it’s a bad idea. Mostly that you don’t have what it takes, that you will struggle, and that it will be one great big flop and everyone will laugh at you. Don’t you just hate that inner critic? What right does she have to talk to you like that?
But remember, that voice is just that: a voice. A narrative. A story in your head. We all have this voice, but there are ways to start changing this voice, and all the other stories that hold you back from stepping into your most shiny party shoes with full confidence, and following your life’s purpose.
Oh gosh, and isn’t that surf board wobbly at the start! You launch your business with so much energy and joy, only to discover that it’s bloody hard to make any money in the first year.
You get one amazing first client, or a fab commission, and then nothing. You are spending so much time on social media, posting about your offers, building your audience, you’ve even done some silly reels on Instagram. But…no leads. And you start believing those stories in your head. The self-doubt creeps in.
Your inner critic was right all along, wasn’t she? You’re not cut out for this stuff. What were you even thinking? You start feeling overwhelmed, and confused about what you are doing wrong. The waves were already hard to navigate, but now the water is cloudy too. You can’t see clearly, and you have no idea what to do next.
The truth is, that inner critic will always live inside you, whether you like it or not. I have one too, and I sometimes call her Bitchy Betty. The way to deal with her is to acknowledge her, and recognise this voice when you hear it. “Ah, thank you very much for that feedback, Bitchy Betty, but I’m alright actually!”
The inner voice does not like to see you hurt. So thank her for that. Show compassion to your inner critic. But at the same time, don’t let Bitchy Betty grow into a monster. Keep her as small as you can. The more you listen to her, the more powerful she gets. You have other, more supportive and helpful parts of your mind to focus on.
Confidence creates balance and attracts clients
The decision to start your own creative small business is so brave! You really are brave. For that alone, you deserve applause. How many of your friends and family had the courage to do what you did? It is totally normal to feel deflated and confused in the first year of business. You are learning so much, you are stretching yourself, pushing out of your comfort zone, growing your skills, even if it does not feel like this right now.
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Did you just one day decide you wanted to ride a bike, and rode off into the distance, no problem? You probably fell many times. You needed people to support you and stay upright, to find your balance. And above all: to find the confidence to ride that bike all by yourself, without the stabilizers.
Running a successful small business, as a creative, an artist or other soulful entrepreneur, takes time. Be forgiving to yourself. It depends greatly on your own self confidence. You can have the most beautiful products and services, but if you don’t believe that you have what it takes, who will? Keep working on that mindset.
If you have ever been on skis, ice skates, or rode a mountain bike downhill, or did anything that felt quite scary and required focus to stay balanced, you know that the moment you start doubting your abilities, you crash. However, when you get into the zone of confidence and truly believe that you can do it – you don’t fall.
Relight that fire in your belly
What can you do get over those wobbles in your first years of business? How to you grow confidence as a small business owner? There are many paths, but a few things are super important when you first start out: knowing what you want to do and WHY. Know who you want to help, and really ask yourself: “what gives me most joy?” To build a sustainable business, you’ve got to find joy, or else you will soon be bored. Decide on where you want to be in 12 months time, and walk back from there. What practical steps can you take today to put the wheels in motion?
Do the inner work. Running your own business is all about personal growth. If anyone thinks it is as simple as creating a product and putting a price on it, they are wrong. When you decided to leave your old job, you decided to leave the old you behind, and transform yourself into something different, stronger, bigger. Every struggle, every wobble, and every wave is helping you become the person you desire to be. Nothing is ever wasted.
And remember why you started. You had a fire in your belly that told you that you had something good to offer to the world. Rekindle that fire, find it back, and dive into what it was that lit it in the first place. Know your passion, your why, and who you want to help. That compass will answer a lot of your questions, and will clear the muddy waters that are currently clouding your vision.
More help is available!
Do you want to work with me on your mindset and business? I am a small business coach for creatives, artists, and other quirky entrepreneurs. Not your average business coach, but one who’s been where you are. Book a free 30-minute call to see if we are a good fit.