This week’s blog is from Justice Dilworth, positive-thinking powerhouse, idea-generating dynamo and founder of Savannah-based Plug In Brand Management. Read on as Justice bolsters your entrepreneurial confidence with a few thoughts for the day. FYI – – The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map…
.“You’re not looking for a job or going to grad school?!”“No, I’m starting my own business.”
Ahh, that same face I got every time I told someone I was starting my own business after graduating college. Now that I’ve started, I get the same face when I tell people what I’ve accomplished! Here are my top 8 tips for boosting yourself up when people attempt to knock you down.
1. Believe in yourself & your vision and others will believe to!
When you don’t have an exact template for what you’re doing, you can feel lost. Embrace it! It will create fear of failure, doubt, and feeling uncomfortable, yet it also means that you are creating something innovative and disruptive. Working for yourself can be unfathomable to some people. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the right path for you.
P.S. Those same people will be your biggest fans after you become successful!
2. Listen to advice, but take heed that success is subjective.
“Everyone starts a company in a different way. If you were to follow another guy’s path, then you’re not being a true entrepreneur.” –Brian Wong, KiipThis quote helped me when people were giving me advice (warranted or not) about how to pursue my ventures. Most people look to who has already done it and try to model that. The band wagon may be trending now, but wouldn’t you rather be the big idea rather than trying to be the “next”? The reason why great entrepreneurs in history became who they are is because they had an original idea.
3. Close those tabs and start doing!
You can’t tell me that you don’t have one tab up that contains an article that may have the answer to your “how to”. Whether that be about how to gain clients, price projects, or market your services, put the mouse down. I’m a huge fan of googling when I’ve gotten stuck or need quick advice. The problem comes when you have fifteen tabs open, and you’ve already read about twenty others. By this time, you are just holding yourself back. Embrace the fear and just do it!
4. Surround yourself with people that specialize in skills outside of your skill set.
Everyone has heard a variation of this quote: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” It is true! I have a strong team of people behind every project, article, or idea. They are all better than me in their area of expertise, and that creates a mutual respect for each other’s knowledge. I appreciate them, because we all push each other to new limits by helping where we have a deficit.
5. Practice your pitch. Be able to have organic conversations about your business.
When people ask me what one of my businesses does, I can easily give them a concise explanation that isn’t filled with sales jargon. Those false assumptions usually disappear when they see that I can talk about my profession and business extensively. I often find that people are asking because they have something in mind that they think they can hire me for. Having that organic conversation allows them to feel comfortable enough to talk to me about their needs and to trust me to deliver.
6. Be very, VERY particular about who you work & associate with.
Starting a business makes you eager and at times vulnerable despite when you do it. People see you as an asset and will want to take advantage of the fact that you may not have learned from experience what they have. It is critical to spot these people early, because there isn’t a mutual best interest. I always Google people that approach me about business collaborations. This has helped me see through the sales pitch and dodge a few bullets. Which leads to my next point…
7. A strong circle of advisors, mentors, & supporters is essential.
The fact is that when starting out young, you don’t have a lot of experience. Here is where your advisors and mentors come in. These are people who you’ve known for a while who know your flaws and guide you through a sea of icebergs by avoiding the mistakes they’ve made. That is why it is important that they are qualified and that you completely trust them! I always tell mine thank you at every chance and remain humbled by them, because as they tell me: “it took me years to learn what I just told you”. This builds your confidence and helps swat discouraging comments away!
8. Know your worth.
Having a non-traditional age, gender, ethnicity, or background means that people will challenge you because of pre-conceived notions. I accept them happily knowing that they can’t deter me from valuing my time, vision, and abilities. When you don’t fit the traditional mold of your title (CEO, Founder, Editor), it gives you a new perspective that allows you to see things differently. That is where the value lies.