“What if I’m not good enough?” “What if someone badmouths me?” “What if I don’t know all the answers?” “What if I upset XYZ (normally, a competitor)
As a business coach, I hear people say this all day, every day. A lot of the time, it’s about posting on social media to advertise their services, and so many entrepreneurs become crippled with fear about it. The million-and-one ‘what if’s’ run through their mind, and create such huge, scary stories for them, it’s just easier to just not do anything.
The trouble is, you wont get clients if you don’t advertise your business. That is kind of simple maths right there.
It’s interesting to watch the journey of business owners, particularly new start ups. There can be extensive research, planning and thought put into the whole process, but at the end of the day, at some point, you’re gonna have to stand on a rooftop and shout out to the world you exist.
Hiding in the corner isn’t going to work.
A lot of business owners come to me and say they need to find more clients. The first question I tend to ask is ‘what have you done so far to find clients’ and it’s incredible how many times I hear ‘I posted on Facebook twice’. That just isn’t going to cut it. No way, no how, never ever.
You are going to need to create a strategy where you are consistently connecting with your target market, forming relationships with them before they even consider buying from you. How you do that will differ between businesses but I can assure you, staying quiet and hoping people magically find you is unrealistic.
You’ll need to get past your fears of social media and the scrutiny that can come with that, grow a thick skin, and get on with it.
I’m going to be harsh here for a moment.
If you genuinely aren’t prepared to put yourself and your business ‘out there’ and aren’t even willing to learn to get past the fears and manage your social media, you should consider getting a job where someone else does the marketing for you. Unless you are in a position to be able to afford a marketing person (which a lot of small businesses are not) then you ARE the marketing department, and that takes a certain kind of confidence.
I was thinking about this recently and wondering if the introvert vs extrovert was a factor in this, and I think, to a degree it is. Extroverts find it far easier to talk about themselves and talk to an audience, because they typically draw their energy from others. Introverts find that harder BUT it is very possible to learn the behaviours and confidence that an extravert has.
I guess what I am saying is, don’t tell me you can’t do it because you are an introvert. I personally know a few introverts that have pushed past that label and learned to put themselves out there and have made a successful business for themselves.
It’s all about the story we tell ourselves.
We can go into a new business and tell ourselves it’s going to be amazing, and clients will find us, and we’ll be successful. We start behaving like a successful business owner right from the start, even before we get our first client, and holy moley, when we get going, the clients roll in.
We can go into it thinking ‘well this could easily fail’ or ‘just $100 a week would be great’ and voila, that is what happens. Our thoughts and intentions tend to create our reality.
‘How the hell do I get more confident in business then?’ I hear you ask.
I’m so glad you asked. I happen to have a couple of tips!
1. Be yourself. It’s far harder to try and be something that you are not, that just be you. And you will come across as more authentic, approachable, and likeable if you just ‘do you’. That means if you are the Crazy Unicorn Lady that cracks jokes a lot, then be just that. Your clients will not only respect you for it, they wont get a shock if they meet you in person and you are a totally different person.
2. Practice. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it
becomes. It’s not going to magically happen overnight, so you might need to set yourself a routine reminder to promote your business regularly. And if we’re talking social media, twice a week isn’t enough… sorry… it needs to be at least once a day. The more you practice the easier it will become
3. Grow a thick skin. It’s time to accept that it’s possible that not every single person in the universe loves you (sorry to break the news so bluntly). That’s ok. We only need to worry about the ones that DO like us and want to buy from us. And where there is social media, there is always a troll. If you can’t cope with one person heckling you and disagreeing or even saying mean things, you need to toughen up and learn to use that delete/block button faster. If you are going to crumble every time someone even looks sideways at you, this confidence building thing is going to take forever. Remember that saying, those that mind, don’t matter, and those that matter, don’t mind (my Mum wrote this on a piece of paper for me once and it was on our fridge for many, many years).
4. Project yourself into your future self. As yourself these questions… What would the successful me do here? Would I be afraid to post on my business page? Or would I be confidently posting here, there and everywhere telling everyone about my business? If I had been in business for 5 years, was pulling in lots of sales and everything was doing great, how would I approach promoting my business then? When you think of it like that, it can make you realise that the only way you are going to make it, is to get confident in your approach.
Gaining confidence in your business is also about making sure you have done the market research, that you know there is a need for your business and that your planned business model is going to work. You need to know the in’s and out’s of the finances, both current, and future, cause, believe me, if you stick your head in the sand about the numbers, you are going to drown and give yourself a nervous breakdown on the way there.
You need to have some goals and a belief you can reach them.
It’s amazing how much easier it is to focus on being confident in your business marketing when you know what you are trying to achieve. Write your goals down, make a vision board, whatever it takes to remind yourself why you need to go through this discomfort of gaining more confidence.
And last thoughts.
Honestly? You just need to get on with it. And now. If you sit in the background for a year building the courage to promote yourself, there’s a year of lost income you could have achieved, and that alone will knock your confidence back down into the hole. I find a good approach is to jump. Just do it. However you want to say it.
My favourite thing I say to clients about this? Jump off the cliff and learn how to build your parachute on the way down.
Don’t wait until you feel 100% confident about everything. Start now. Today. And build from there!
You got this!