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Building a Brain for Business: have you got what it takes to go solo?

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

For anyone starting their business or thinking of striking out alone, questioning if you’ve got what it takes to succeed tends to be par for the course. Developing the confidence and resilience to make a business work is no mean feat. And let’s be honest, many small enterprises crash and burn before they’ve ever had chance to fully fly.

The business confidence conundrum

It takes commitment, effort and nerves of steel to build a business.

My own journey is testament to that. I realised pretty soon in that whilst I was highly skilled and passionate about the areas that mattered to my trade (coaching, communication, research, NLP), other factors either left me cold (finance, accounting and business admin) or were totally new to me (mailing lists, business planning, social media, sales etc.)

The conundrum is, that during those early days, your success is wholly reliant on you. There’s no hiding behind a large team. There’s no delegating. There’s no magic bullet that builds competency in those challenging areas. So, what happens?

  1. You struggle with confidence. It’s your business, right? Shouldn’t you know these things?

  2. You spend less time focusing on the elements of your business that you love and more time focusing on the challenges or the tasks that leave you cold.

  3. You feel swamped by the myriad of actions you need to take, all of which are seemingly ‘urgent’.

The above does not equate to a recipe for confidence, happiness or success. And to top it off, you’re expected to put yourself and your business out there at a time when you’re feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed. Before you know it, the old impostor syndrome sneaks in and the physical effects of working with no rest or play hit you square in the face. Financial worries aside (another big factor for most), it’s at this point where many entrepreneurs in the making throw in the towel. And who could blame them?

So, what on earth can you do?

Firstly, it’s important to cut yourself some slack – a lot of slack! This stuff is hard! If it wasn’t, everyone would do it. We all have different journeys and ways of coping and we all have our own unique sets of skills and ways of doing things. There’s no such thing as perfection, most of us make it up as we go - we learn on the job. And for good reason. It’s far more effective to just give things a go and get them done than to endlessly ruminate.

But the truth is, if you didn’t know yourself before, you’ll become all too well acquainted with your personal foibles, insecurities - and hopefully strengths - when you start a business. It will truly test your mettle and your confidence. (I’ll never forget the first time I had to state my fees out loud. Eek!)

Start with your mindset and the rest will follow.

This is by far and away the most crucial factor. Why? Because a strong growth mindset will enable you to jump the inevitable hurdles. Remember learning to walk? No, neither do I. We just got on with it and we kept trying until we managed – and we did it in our own time. A series of falls eventually turned into one unsteady step, which turned into one more and then one more. The toddler turned into a bone fide walker and before we knew it, we were running, hopping and skipping.

Learning new skills requires time, persistence and a willingness to repeatedly mess things up before finding a way that works for you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re learning to ride a bike or run a business, the same principles apply.

Baby steps..

It may seem counter-intuitive, but from a confidence perspective, it’s far more effective to take a series of small steps forward than to wait until you’re ready to jump (fact check: we never feel ready to jump). Baby steps signify improvement. We edge ever further towards out goals and before we know it, we’ve made real, positive and satisfying progress. A giant leap can feel daunting and dangerous – there’s always a reason to hold back. Growing a strong business mindset is rooted in taking small, steady and constant steps that continuously edge you out of your comfort zone.

Be prepared to pivot

Growth mindsets are flexible and open to change. Rigidity is the reverse of a strong business brain. The ability to examine events from a fresh perspective and experiment is integral to building both confidence and resilience. Why? Because the world constantly changes and, importantly, so do we. Flexibility is not just key for commercial survival but also in enabling us to evolve our business around our own wants and needs. After all, isn’t that the main reason you chose to be your own boss?

Organise, strategise and recognise

Using your precious time wisely is key to building a strong business mindset and growing confidence. Giving yourself the space to focus on one thing – the most important thing – is integral to ticking items off that to-do list and gaining a sense of achievement. Identify the one thing each day that will make the biggest difference and spend half of your working time on that. Then spend the rest on everything else. I promise that you’ll manage so much more than you first thought possible. (And don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work.)

The other factor is goal setting. Goal setting constitutes a blog in its own right, but in order to achieve a goal, you’ve first got to define it. Knowing what you want and how you’re going to get it lies at the heart of a strong growth mindset. And of course, acknowledging when you’ve achieved your goal is the best feeling of all!

Let it go!

This may be a bit left-field, but sometimes you’ve just got to ‘chuck in the f*ck it bucket’ and move on. None of us are superhuman. We can’t do everything at once and starting your own business Is a valuable lesson in both human ability and limitation. If something doesn’t work, learn from it and move on. If something is taking inordinate amounts of time and energy, leave it and move on. If you just hate doing something, consider whether you can farm it out and move on.

Remember, your business is there to serve you not the other way around.

Don’t go it alone

We’re constantly evolving. Developing our business brain is an ongoing process to be embraced, appreciated and enjoyed. But the easiest way to tie yourself in knots is to go it alone. We all need support and not just support, we need the right support. The kind of support that enables us to find our own way – the way that feels right and productive for us.

Let’s chat

One of the fundamental parts of my business is empowering women like you to develop the confidence to truly own theirs.

If you fancy a free, no obligation discovery call to gain some clarity and see if we’d be a good fit for moving you forwards, click here to book.

I look forward to meeting you soon, and most of all, best of luck with the business.

You’ve got this!

Nicole x

P.S. If you’re a career-motivated woman who wants to calmly and powerfully put yourself out there without cringing or worrying what others will think, then I’d love to welcome you in my Facebook group, The Confidence Build for Women.

It’s a friendly, supportive community full of women just like you. It’s jam-packed with no-fluff support, inspiration, expert training and will help you find the motivation to show up and be the you that you deserve to be. I’ll see you there!

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