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Confident business owner in office

Starting a business can be daunting, that's for sure. It can be hard to overcome the nagging doubts that everyone has about their own abilities. Lots of people have great business ideas but never get them off the ground because they don't feel confident enough to take the plunge.

Common mental blocks include fear of failure and feeling like an imposter. Even telling friends and family about your plans can be difficult and you may well meet naysayers that pick holes in your business idea and cast doubt on your dreams. That's why self-belief is a crucial part of being your own boss.

Mental blocks

Fear of failure is very common. In fact, it would be strange if you weren't worried about failure when starting a new business. The danger is that those fears stop you in your tracks altogether. Worrying about all the things that could go wrong can be paralysing; the truth is that making mistakes - and learning from them - is a vital part of growing a viable business.

Another common issue is imposter syndrome which can make you doubt your own abilities and leave you feeling like a fraud. Imposter syndrome affects people in all walks of life and is often present despite appearing outwardly successful. Doing something new and taking risks, such as setting up your own business, can often trigger those feelings of being an imposter.

Developing self-belief

There are lots of ways to boost your own confidence and develop self-belief. A good start is to think about how you answer the question “what do you do?”. Think about what makes your business special and describe what you do in a way that communicates your passion for the business. Try not to down-play your business using apologetic words like “just” and “only”.

Most people start out running their business on their own - and many continue to operate as sole traders - but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. A great way to boost your own confidence is to find a mentor who can provide expertise, support, and reassurance that you're on the right track.

Ultimately, self-belief comes from within. Have a clear vision for your business and tackle doubts head-on - by learning new skills and preparing for what's ahead. You will have to step out of your comfort zone from time to time and you may even have to “fake it until you make it” - but by stepping up into your new role, it will soon come naturally. Above all, try not to let negative self-talk drag you down; set goals, track your progress and celebrate small wins along the way.

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