If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to test your confidence to the max, it’s starting your own business.
As a coach who spent a career working in advertising, I was pretty convinced I had this shizzle nailed when I launched The Confidence Craft:
What I didn’t bank on was the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced..
I didn't bank on the utter exhaustion from wearing every hat from coach to accountant.
I certainly wasn't ready for the crushing realisation that,“There’s no time to be ill – if I don’t make it happen, IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN!” when Covid had me bed-bound.
It was during these moments that my confidence carried me through. Believe me, without it, I’d have chucked in the towel long ago.
And this is what pains me. Because so many women do throw in towel – often after running themselves ragged in the process. Or they slog away for months or years on end with minimal results, because:
🔹 They crave financial freedom, but battle with visibility and struggle to grow.
🔹 They have amazing creativity and vision, but are crippled by a lack of self-belief or a deep-rooted fear of failure.
🔹 They are stifled by a dread of judgement and an inability to maintain meaningful boundaries. (So they unwittingly hand the fate of their business to other people.)
The upshot is, that something that starts from a place of passion and enthusiasm can quickly become a millstone round your neck.
According to recent stats by The Telegraph, 1 in 5 UK start-ups fail within the first year of trading and a whopping 60% no longer exist three years down the line.
If you put that into perspective, there were roughly 800,000 new businesses registered in the UK last year and around a third of those were started by women. (According to stats by UENI). So that’s roughly 150k+ female-owned business going under in less than 36 months. Ouch!
If you look at the data, many of these failures are cited as being driven by poor strategy, inadequate marketing or cash flow problems – all of which seem obvious enough.
But I’d like to propose another dimension that can make or break your business: your confidence.
Confidence is the very thing that underpins strategy, marketing and cash-flow when you’re heading up a small business.
Hear me out..
Many of the women I work with have invested large amounts in kick-ass business coaching/mentorship. They understand their market, they have a clearly defined niche and they have a brilliant business plan in place. But they still struggle to get results - because their inner confidence isn’t up to the job.
It’s just like building your dream house..
You have an amazing blue-print, your plot of land is perfect, you’ve got a healthy budget and great suppliers. But in your excitement, you inadvertently hire a crappy builder. The foundations are rushed. They just aren’t laid correctly.
As the house goes up, it looks great, but it’s not long before the cracks start to show. Eventually, it buckles under the pressure. The repairs are costly, lengthy and you kick yourself for not doing your due diligence right at the start.
Inner confidence provides the foundation for you to run and grow your business effectively. It is comprised of self-belief, your sense of self-worth and your ability to take action. It's also the resilience to grow, evolve and learn from your experiences (both good and bad).
No matter how solid your strategy, its value is significantly diminished if you don’t have the inner confidence to execute it effectively.
I work with so many brilliant women whose confidence has hit rock-bottom because they see their ‘failure’ in business as a sad reflection of their perceived ‘incompetence’.
“I’m not cut out for this”, they say. Or, “I just don’t have what it takes to make a proper go of it”. Some never even make a start in the first place – which is a crying shame.
But, when those very same women build their inner confidence, it’s amazing how their ability to implement, plan and find new directions magically improves too!
The whole premise of effective marketing hinges around three things: becoming known, liked, and trusted.
This is where outer confidence is absolutely crucial, because:
🔹 If you struggle to get seen, heard and remembered, growth will be almost impossible. People need to know you’re there.
🔹 If you’re constantly worried about what others may think of you, putting yourself out there will feel exhausting or fill you with dread.
🔹 If you can’t communicate effectively, your messaging will fall flat and selling will become excruciating.
The trouble is, the ‘values’ us females are societally instilled with, aren’t conducive to building strong outer confidence (the bit that the outside world else sees).
In addition, according to numerous research studies, the qualities of leadership tend to be more associated with ‘masculine’ traits - even by women, which is concerning.
Many of us have gorwn used to being scrutinised and that scrutiny can come with all manner of perceived judgements..
“Don’t be too loud, too assertive, too braggy, or bossy.”
“Look a certain way in order to ‘fit in’.”
“Have an opinion but don’t be too opinionated.”
It’s no wonder that self-promotion, speaking up and putting yourself centre-stage can feel terrifying.
But these are the very qualities you need in order to run a successful business.
Visibility and communication are crucial – mindset alone will only get you so far.
Your capability has to match-up too. Outer confidence and capability are the very ingredients that dreamy small-biz marketing is made of.
I’ve lost count of the women I work with who have struggled to charge - and receive - their worth during the early days (and sometimes the not-so-early-days) of their business. It seems like a never-ending problem.
This is a perfect storm brewed by both low inner and outer confidence. This is because:
🔹 If you don’t believe you are as capable as your competitors, you’ll under-price yourself.
🔹 If don’t fully recognise your expertise, you’ll struggle to confidently communicate your worth and selling will feel like an uphill struggle.
🔹 You’ll feel constant pressure to go above and beyond in order to prove yourself. As a result, you’ll work more than you need to and/or devalue your most precious asset – your time.
In addition to the above, many of us have unhelpful beliefs and attitudes around money. This is often referred to as ‘money mindset’. I’ll dig into money mindset in a future blog, but the three factors above can make the flow of cash through your business an ongoing headache.
And struggling to generate enough consistent revenue is one of the main reasons that an eye-watering number of businesses go under, as I mentioned earlier.
So, I invite you to consider this..
When you feel confident, you’ll be more comfortable charging more - and asking for more. You won’t apologise for increasing your prices. You’ll be less likely to discount for the sake of it. You won’t consistently give your time away for free.
Effectively, you’ll EARN MORE by DOING LESS.
(Let that sink in..)
That will give you more time to strategise, prioritise and connect. These are the very things that will help you find the freedom, wealth and flexibility that drove you into entrepreneurship in the first place.
So, if you want to start a business, grow your business or make your business work better for you, thoroughly check your foundations first.
🔹 Do you have the inner confidence and self-belief you need to succeed?
🔹 Is your outer confidence strong enough to powerfully - and consistently - put yourself out there?
If not, you know where I am! Hit this link, and let's chat.