I still remember when I told my best friend that I’d started my own freelance writing business.
Her response floored me: “So do you actually make money with your business?”
Nope, I remember wanting to respond; I live off air and pay my bills with Monopoly money.
Friends and family members usually mean well. After all, when my brother and sister-in-law kept sending me job notices for writing positions at several companies, they weren’t doing it because they didn’t believe in me — they just didn’t want to see me fail.
But all those good intentions can add up to some serious self-doubt, and unfortunately, if your friends and family doubt you, it can be tough to stay positive in the face of their concerns.
Here are the 5 tips I used for staying positive when people doubted my small business venture. Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think!
Stay Focused on Your Passion.
Remember why you chose to start a small business. Maybe it was to experience more freedom as an entrepreneur. You also probably did it to follow a passion. For example, if you’re a makeup artist, remember the boost of confidence you can bring to people with your skills. Or if you’re a house cleaner, feel encouraged by the fact that you’re really good at refreshing spaces.
Remember That It’s Their Problem, Not Yours.
You know the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” When someone is insecure, they may project their discomfort on to other people. For example, it could very well be that your family members grew up believing that working for someone else is the only way to have a strong enough income. If they make negative comments about financial security, keep in mind they likely are looking out for you and your welfare.
Sometimes the negative comments seem to come out of nowhere. Again, this typically is an insecurity issue; maybe you’re doing a great job, and a friend is envious of your work. Don’t take on their insecurities, especially if you know deep down that you’re doing a good job.
Keep Track of Small Wins.
Slow and steady wins the race, and noticing small victories can boost your confidence. Take note of what you’ve done well — even if you have also dealt with failures. The first win for every small business owner is taking the initiative to start. The initial jump into entrepreneurial life can be scary and should be celebrated once you do it.
You’ve likely also come up with a business name that fits your personality and how you want your brand to be represented. Also think about other daily tasks you complete that any large corporation would focus on: creating a schedule, getting work done, and successfully communicating with clients.
Administrative work isn’t the most exciting part of building your business. However, actively staying organized will help you to remain positive. Depending on your profession, you may or may not need certain tools for growth and success. For example, for maintaining content on my website and social media platforms, I need to keep my documents organized and dated. This helps me to track progress, remember what work I’ve completed, and to figure out if I’m missing something.
When I review my finished work, I may realize I need better SEO attention when it comes to my blog pages. If engagement is low on social media, I usually go back and evaluate if I need to provide better images, fix the hashtags, or utilize paid social advertisements.
Constantly improving through identifying solutions will always help you feel better about your small business.
Keep the Faith.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether your small business venture is worth pursuing or not. Sometimes this can be hard to hear, but your success is determined by you. The good news is, no one else determines your value or how successful you are. In fact, other people aren’t working as closely to your work as you. When in doubt, keep going and stay focused on your goals.
Remember this too: there are so many small business owners out in the world like you who also deal with doubters, but that doesn’t stop them!
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
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