By Deborah Mitchell
First published in Entrepreneur.com on October 5, 2015
When you are the boss, there is usually no one to pat you on the back for doing a good job or guide you through the daily obstacles of running a business. For the first-time entrepreneur, having no support can be daunting. A slow patch in business, a difficult client or losing out to a competitor may have you questioning your decision to be in business at all.
One of the biggest challenges is staying motivated and confident as you build a new business. So for those days when you are overwhelmed and frustrated by the daily grind, here are a few ways to keep your confidence up when you’re just starting out.
1. Seek out successful people in your field.
If you know of established individuals who are in the same business as you, reach out to them. Your startup is not a threat. Pick their brains for advice. If the leader of the company is on the speaking circuit or writes and shares information through social media, there is a good chance he or she will be available to meet or get on a phone call.
Reach out with an introductory email asking for a specific amount of time and outlining the top three points you would like to discuss. It is important for you to have a flexible schedule and work around their available time since you are asking them for help.
2. Never let them see you sweat.
Each day will not be perfect. Just know that getting discouraged from time to time is part of the business-building process. The key is to avoid letting your customers or employees see you sweat!
If a specific situation or client or employee relationship isn’t working, then take a day or so off to clear your head and regroup. Use the time to brainstorm with a trusted business associate, mentor or friend to figure out the best way to move forward. Once you come up with a plan, it’s time to get back to work.
3. Join a like minded group.
Support from friends, family or strangers can go a long way. Nowadays, social media contacts can quickly become very useful “friends.” Seek out and join Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit and Google+ groups related to your industry to find virtual friends. Local meetups are also a good way to meet people in person. These are the places to ask questions and exchange information.
4. Focus on one business step at a time.
A good friend of mine loves to use the expression, “Don’t compare your business beginning to another’s middle.” As a new entrepreneur, it is easy to look at the competition and think that is where you need to be. But if your competition has been at it for several years longer than there is no way you should expect to be at the same place. Your competitor has spent years making their mistakes and growing. Run your own race and focus on taking one business step at a time.
When it comes to being a business owner we all need a cheerleader, especially when just getting started. Having periods of doubt is par for the course for any new entrepreneur. I am sure successful business owners still have moments of doubt.
If you don’t have a cheerleader on hand, go out and find one. While you are searching for that cheerleader, use this time to dig deep, trust your gut instincts and believe in your abilities to get the job done. Working for yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but the rewards when you succeed make it so worth it.
How do you stay confident while building your business? Let us know in the comments section below.
Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.