13 September 2018
Heh there. If you have landed on this page, chances are you are having a mini crisis of confidence right? I get it. I totally get it as it is something that happened to me so often that I ended up having to build in real strategies to take control again.
I would be totally fine and happily working away then something really small would happen and it would knock me for 6. I would suddenly find that I was questioning and over questioning all the decisions I had made.
These were decisions I had previously been TOTALLY happy with. But when my confidence levels dropped I would look back and re-assess. It became disastrous because sometimes I would act on those poor decisions purely because my confidence had been knocked.
At other times, deep down I knew I was capable of something but I was too scared to get out there and shout “HEH WORLD. I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS”. Again, my confidence was low.
Or I would find that there was a rumbling lack of self-belief which was crippling me from taking a leap into an unknown area. I totally KNEW what was happening but for a long time I could not get my shit together and so I allowed it to keep happening.
In the end, I actually started to annoy myself. That is an odd feeling – where you find your own actions annoying. I found MYSELF annoying to the point of irritation. I hated that I had lost confidence. I hated the impact on my business and so I decided to put my foot down. I was not going to let this mental issue dictate my world. I started to put in place strategies for beating my confidence woes.
Below are 6 techniques you can use to improve your confidence in levels running your own business.
We all get very used to juggling a million things a week and sometimes we start to take our own actions for granted. What was once hard becomes routine and we then stop recognising it as an achievement.
But if you change that mindset it can actually really improve your confidence. Think about this: The first time you made a cake, you were over the moon, right? The first customer that you got was exciting. But now when you make a cake, its just a normal day and when a customer contacts you its not that exciting because it is routine.
You need to change that. Each cake you make should be reason to reward yourself on what you have achieved. A literal celebration. Each new customer should be a celebration. Something I do, which I learnt many years ago from reading the biography of serial entrepreneur James Caan was to put in place an actual physical re-action when a new customer came in or when I achieved something positive. In his case, he had an office where his staff would literally ring a bell that everyone would hear when a new deal was won.
In my case, I kinda work alone a lot of the time so that would not work. Instead, I saved my own recording of something very specific on my phone that I would play every single time I achieved something. I didn’t want it to be something that required any effort other than clicking a button on my phone but I promised myself that every time I achieved something small, no matter how small, I would hit PLAY. What that was is revealed inside my Confidence Strategy course inside the Pretty Witty Academy.
It really worked. I slowly began to celebrate without the need for the support and it improve my confidence a huge amount. It started to become a goal to be able to hit PLAY (and I only allowed myself to do it when I achieved something) so it fuelled a desire to do it again. Try it for 3 months and see the difference.
The point of this was self-affirmation. It is a different kind of feedback to where you put up a picture of your work and others give you praise. That does not help with confidence in the same way (although also is a good thing to do). But the point of this method is that you are the one recognising your own good work and you are the one giving the praise. Something that a lot of us tend to be really bad at doing!
Confidence issues are far more likely to appear when you are wondering along a path without any direction. As human beings, we are pre-programmed to set goals and follow mile stones. If you remove all of those, particularly in a business content, it can make you feel lost. And when you feel lost, you can self-doubt and then lose confidence.
You can fix this by establishing your objectives. What do you want to do, when are you going to do it and how? You can make a focused and clear plan. BUT, in doing this don’t make unrealistic goals. Setting goals works. Setting deadlines works but only if they are realistic. For example, “I am going to launch a business in 2 weeks” “I will build a new website in a week”. These kinds of goals can end up with you feeling like a failure when you don’t reach them. So, if you set out your aims and objectives and make a plan, focus on achievable wins. Grab the low hanging fruit. For example, “I am going to make a website or redo my website and by next month, I will have drawn up all the rough pages for the new design on paper”.
If you break things into bite size chunks, they become far more achievable. You can choose a week plan, a month or an entire year. I work on the basis of 2 month plans as I find any longer than that is really hard to predict and the plans then need to be altered too regularly.
You need to understand that confidence is nothing but a frame of mind. Unlike self-doubt or low self-esteem which reflect what we actually feel internally, confidence is far more connected with what we project externally, what we allow others to see.
It is therefore perfectly possible to be full of self-doubt but full of confidence as well. The self-doubt is your inner feeling, the confidence is your outer feeling, what you project out there into the world.
As a result, confidence is one of the easier things to tackle. You can address it head on by taking one simple step: PREPARE.
Confidence is hugely affected by how well you prepare for something. For example, if you were due to go to a meeting or a consultation and you were going to have to talk to prospective customers, if you have prepared nothing and are winging it or have just taken previous notes because you will just amend those on the fly as you are speaking, you are setting yourself up for a fall.
On the other hand, if you take 15 mins to prepare fully. Have clear notes, know the customers name and details off by heart so you know everything you can know, then you will project yourself with more confidence almost naturally. Other people will also respond well to a clear agenda in a meeting because people like to have organised meetings. If you are the one organising it and running it and you have prepared well for that it will do wonders for your confidence levels.
Are you one of those cake makers who just says yes to everyone all the time even though you know you don’t have time. Believe it or not, this is damaging your self esteem and confidence. Sub-consciously you are telling yourself that your wishes, your life, your plans are less important than another human being. And it makes you internally angry and resentful if you keep doing this. You become cross with yourself (literally).
One of the best things you can do is to start saying no. Work out how busy you need to be, how many orders or how much income you need to have and then seek to achieve that. But once you get there don’t slip into taking on more orders without a plan of how you are going to do those orders. Taking them on and then relying on cutting back on sleep does not work as a long-term solution. Losing time with your family does not work either.
If you are doing well and thriving in business, you expand by planning. You plan team members and additional resources and you expand into that rather than expanding without realising it then being panicked and exhausted trying to sort it all out. Just like Tip 3 above, if you plan and prepare it will make a huge difference. Part of that planning includes learning to say No to some orders or some customers where it doesn’t work for you.
That can be really hard in the early days, but you build your confidence by partly controlling your work load and what you are willing to do. If you let other people control that for you, you will feel a sense of failure and that will knock your confidence.
Look at what you are doing on a daily basis and then look at where you want to be. Where are the giant gaps and leaps that you need to make? Because you are going to need to close those gaps.
For example, if you want to move from being a hobby baker to running a cake business and/or teaching classes but you prefer to email people rather than call then, it’s time to push yourself to start using a phone more. The more you do, the more practice you will have and the more confidently you will project your voice, your authority and your credibility.
If you are not sure where to start, watch others. Become an observer so watch other people that you think are confident and see how they do things. How do they speak, what mannerisms do they use, how fast do they speak and so on? Then imitate. Because imitation is the best way to learn.
TED talks are great for seeing confident speakers so look up a TED talk online and find someone to watch. Look for little things they do that you can imitate, even if it is a little phrase.
Inside the Pretty Witty Academy, I tell you all the secrets of how I beat my confidence issues and went from afraid to walk out of the house to setting up and running a 7 figure global business.
We all make mistakes. We all screw up in life once in a while. It is not the screwing up that matters. It is how you deal with it. If you try and be perfect at everything all the time, you will drive yourself crazy – literally.
It goes hand in hand with being positive. Let go of your mistakes, look forward not backwards and ensure you put your future within the framework of a positive mindset.
Letting go of mistakes can be hard if you are someone who questions your decisions but once you do, you will feel such a weight lifted. It is only your mind playing on you here so stick two fingers up and those mind games, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move forward with your head held high.
The great thing about confidence is that it is a bit like building a Lego tower. Start with one or two smaller bricks and keep adding a little brick at a time. Over time you add more and more bricks until you end up with a giant sky-scraper tower. That is how it works. So today, find your first brick. Choose one of the tips above to implement and get started because you won’t get more confident if you do nothing about it. You need to take action. TODAY.
Blue: If you are looking for regular business and life tips to help you start, build and grow your cake business, head over to check out the Business Membership at Pretty Witty Academy today.
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