‘Polished, Poised, Prepared’: Confidence Tips from Women Entrepreneurs

image

When you are a business owner, it doesn’t matter how much funding you have, where your college degrees are from or whom you network with if you are not confident about your ideas.

At the end of the day, if you don’t have faith in yourself and your business, you will most likely fail. Despite constant rejection and doubt, successful entrepreneurs are always able to find confidence from within. If you don’t have unwavering faith in your idea, no one else will either.

As a fellow business owner, I understand that it can be challenging to silence the self doubt, especially when you are faced with a big decision or are constantly barraged by naysayers.

My fellow young female entrepreneurs always inspire me with their uncanny amount of determination and fearlessness. They aren’t going to let anyone get in the way of their dreams. Here are some things we can learn from these ladies about finding your confidence:

Admit what you don’t know. If you are aware of the things you don’t know, then you have a lot more faith in what you do know. Part of owning your own business is being able to hire people to compensate for your weaknesses. No one expects you to be good at everything. If you have a good team, where everyone excels at a certain skill, you will gain more confidence that your ideas will be executed properly.

Related: Young Female Entrepreneurs’ Advice on Securing Funding

Do your research. When going into meetings with potential investors, clients or customers, make sure you really know what you are talking about. You have to know the ins and outs of your industry.

Melissa Thompson, CEO and founder of TalkSession, shares how she finds her confidence before a big meeting with investors: “I spend a lot of time studying the market. I make sure to stay educated about the legal part of the equation as well as the practice and business portions. [Since I am not a doctor], I compensate by subscribing to medical journals, actually reading them, and engaging in conversations with industry specialists.”

Heidi Nazarudin, blogger at The Successful Style and president of Blogger Babes, said, “My confidence is a mixture of style and substance. Knowing that I look amazing and that I have done my homework for the task at hand is a great confidence booster — in other words, polished, poised, prepared.”

Don’t pay attention to any disadvantages. One of the first questions that I always ask Gen-Y female entrepreneurs is if they feel that being a woman is a disadvantage. Everyone I have spoken with so far has said “no.”

Andi Atteberry, founder of blingsting, writes, “I don’t put any energy into wondering if I have different challenges than any other leader or business owner because I am female. I think at the end of the day, if you are good at what you do, that’s all that matters.”

Just because they don’t like your business, doesn’t mean they don’t like you. For entrepreneurs, the line between personal and professional is blurred. When someone rejects your business idea, it can feel like a personal attack because of all the time and energy you invest. Shop-Hers’ founder, Jaclyn Shanfeld, explains how she gets over rejection and maintains her confidence: “I have thick skin and I’m able to separate myself from the opinion of others. I’m humble and passionate about what I do. A ‘no’ can’t take that away.”

Realize from the beginning that there is more to you than just your business. This way being rejected won’t feel so harsh, and you can bounce back faster.

Entrepreneur Daily
By Rebekah Epstein|Jan 23, 2014

Top 5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

1. Take risks.Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure.In 1981, at the age of 39, I was fired from the only full-time job I’d ever had – a job I loved.But I never let myself look back, and the very next day I took a big risk and began my own company based on an unproven idea that nearly everyone thought would fail: making financial information available to people, right on their desktops. Remember, this was before people had desktops.In 2001, when I was debating whether to run for mayor, most people advised me against it. They all were afraid I’d fail. But one person said: “If you can picture yourself giving a concession speech, then why not go for it?” That was the best advice I received – and I followed it.

In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail – and you must have the courage to go for it anyway.

2. Make your own luck.

Luck plays a part in success, but the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Whatever you choose to do, even if it’s not the job of your dreams, always work hard at it. Be the first person at work in the morning and the last to leave at night. Hard work creates opportunities where your resume cannot.

3. Be persistent.

Persistence really does pay off.

When starting my company, I would go downtown and buy cups of coffee. Then I’d take the coffee up to Merrill Lynch – our target audience – and walk the hallways.

“Hi,” I would say. “I’m Mike Bloomberg and I brought you a cup of coffee. Can I talk to you?”

Even if people were wondering who I was or where I came from, they still took the coffee.

And I kept coming back, day after day, working to build relationships with potential customers. I learned about the audience for our product and what they could really use.

Three years after starting Bloomberg LP, Merrill Lynch purchased 20 terminals and became our first customer.

4. Never stop learning.

The most powerful word in the English language is “Why.” There is nothing so powerful as an open, inquiring mind. Whatever field you choose for starting a business – be a lifelong student.

The world is full of people who have stopped learning and who think they’ve got it all figured out. You’ve no doubt met some of them already – and you’ll meet plenty more.

Their favorite word is “No.” They will give you a million reasons why something can’t be done or shouldn’t be done.

Don’t listen to them, don’t be deterred by them, and don’t become one of them. Not if you want to fulfill your potential – and not if you want to change the world for the better.

5. Give back.

You are ultimately responsible for your success and failure, but you only succeed if you share the reward with others.

At the end of the day, ask yourself: “Am I making a difference in the lives of others?”

My first charitable donation was a $5 check to my alma mater, Johns Hopkins, not long after I graduated. I was just scraping by back then, but I continued to give. And while the checks may be bigger today, they come with the same spirit. You don’t have to be wealthy to give back. You can give back by getting involved and giving your time and talents. You just have to be committed to opening doors for others.