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For Most people, one of their biggest setbacks in starting an online business (or side hustle) is a lack of confidence!
Scratch that! For most people, their BIGGEST setback in starting ANYTHING potentially life-changing is a lack of confidence! It doesn’t have to be an online business, it could be anything from starting a new job, going for that high-paying promotion, or even just moving to a new place.
I get it, it’s hard, and it’s scary. You’re probably already anxious about it because you’re not sure it’s the right move. Top it all up with the bugger feeling that you’re not ready, or you don’t have what it takes, or you don’t even know what you’re doing!
I know it all too well. Really, too well!
For me, it has stopped me from launching E-riches Club right away back in 2016. It made me take actions on impulse like signing up for the first hosting platform that seems remotely easy to use, get a domain through them and then… Sit on it for a year!
Yes, I was inspired and wanted to do it right away. I read a few articles and then signed up for SiteBlog because it seems easy enough and cheap enough.
But then, lack of confidence started creeping in. All it needed was for things to get a little harder than expected: being locked with a theme that didn’t work, or having a hard time personalizing my website.
One night of sleeping on it after a few failed tries, and I woke up with the feeling that I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t know what I was doing and was just going to waste my time.
I kept on postponing working on my blog. Because I didn’t have any content yet, I shouldn’t be launching – it wasn’t ready! See where this is going?
My lack of confidence led to procrastination and that, in turn, led to always feeling ‘not ready yet’. Next thing I knew, it had been almost a full year without much to my blog other than a name, a tagline and some brainstorming notes.
If this sounds familiar, you may already know this, but let me explain exactly how lack of confidence negatively impacted me:
- I kept on reading, reading and reading about blogging and making money from blogs, only to create information overload and feel paralyzed by it.
- I signed up for many email lists from bloggers offering short, free courses on how to start and build a blog. But I always fell short of implementing all the advice because, eventually, it required me to be confident enough to do so.
- I filled up notebooks and word documents with brainstorming ideas – some of them pretty good, others not so much – only to, once again, do little to nothing with them.
- I sat on my domain for about 9 months doing absolutely nothing!
But that’s not where it stopped!
Once I transferred E-riches Club over to Bluehost and got Wordpress, I did put lack of confidence slightly to the side and started working on it more consistently.
Yet, not enough to launch it! I still felt like I needed more skills, more knowledge, more content, more… More anything…
Once again, I kept on postponing the launch until June came and I had to make a decision. June was a crucial month for me because it was both my birthday month, and my domain renewal month. I like to have certain things done by the time I hit each birthday, so that was a catalyst for me.
E-riches Club was nowhere near being ready to launch, but I wasn’t going to spend more money just to have it sitting there.
I got inspired by my birthday and decided to launch it no matter what!
Now, 7 months after launching the blog I am still battling with some self-doubt, but at least I already have a few posts published and have taken action towards my goals.
So, how am I dealing with this?
I’m not going to lie and say that I’m using X product or Y course to keep lack of confidence away. Self-doubt is a natural thing to have sometimes, even highly confident people have their bad days.
But, in my search to keep things moving with the blog and not let bugger voices get in the way, I found a few resources that help me cope with this.
One of the things I did was this quick reflective exercise (below), to both identify the areas where I lack confidence the most and take some simple, baby-step actions to tackle it.
I created a worksheet for the exercise you’re about to learn. Get it here, to keep it all neat and organized.
STEP 1: Focus on ONE Goal
Focus only on one goal that you would like to achieve.
Write down a goal, something you haven’t yet achieved.
For me, it is creating more content on a more consistent basis.
I love writing, but I either struggle with creating more content or finishing it. I take too long to complete a new post because I want it to be perfect.
Maybe that’s your problem too. I hear that’s common among bloggers.
Or, maybe you’re having trouble creating a winning portfolio to send prospects to and get new clients?
Whatever goal it is. Focus on only one. Clear all the other ideas and goals filling up your mind and focus on that one single goal!
STEP 2: Where do You Lack Confidence?
Think about the different aspects or steps needed for that goal. Where do you lack confidence? In which aspect/step are you stuck?
For instance, for me, I lack confidence in the quality of my writing, which is why I struggle with creating more content and being consistent.
Although I have always been praised for my writing, moving back to Canada and adjusting to a new language has made me doubt myself in many things, including my ability to write well.
I love writing and always have. I have also always been pretty good at it. Grammar, spelling and even style have always been pretty natural and easy to me. However, that was in the language I grew up speaking.
When I came back to Canada, many people were super surprised by my English, both spoken and written. I got a lot of “It’s not possible that you just got here 2 weeks ago!”, or “You don’t even have an accent!” (Ah, strange fact: I have more of an accent now than back then)
Still, I was (and am) somewhat self-conscious and always worry about my writing. I also go back and forth with the content – what to write about, what’s useful, etc.
If you’re a freelancer, maybe you’re doubting your skills or your ability to approach new clients?
Write down the one thing that you doubt/lack confidence in the most.
STEP 3: Describe Your Confidence Block
Now that you have identified your doubt write at least one paragraph that describes your confidence block and your current state of mind.
When you imagine yourself in this situation of low confidence, what comes up for you? Are you anxious, nervous, upset?
Over time, I learned not to be so anxious when writing. However, I still fall into the trap of constantly editing and correcting my writing even before I spell out a single word.
Self-editing is a constant setback to start or finish a piece of content. Of course, that stems from my lack of confidence.
Similarly, many e-lancers feel super anxious about approaching new clients. They’re not sure how to start the dialogue or are afraid of saying the wrong thing and scare the prospect away.
Describe your state of mind in that situation as accurately as possible.
STEP 4: Rate Your Confidence Level
Rate your confidence level from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most confident.
This is useful for you to be aware of it, but also for later on when you assess your progress.
STEP 5: Change How it Affects You
Change how it affects you, one step at a time:
Awareness is the first, most important thing to do when trying to overcome self-doubt. Now that you are aware of where your self-doubt comes from and how it affects you, you can change it.
Define one activity that you can implement right away that takes you closer to your goal. Think something small, not too overwhelming.
For instance, since I overanalyze and continuously edit what I’m writing, I decided to start every post with Q & A format. Instead of trying to write a post to be published, I first set up some fact-based questions. I answer each question with facts and figures first. I don’t focus or care about how well it’s written, style or voice. I just concentrate on writing down the facts.
By starting with a Q & A format, I trick myself out of self-doubt, and as a bonus I keep the post focused on useful facts. Plus, by having all the facts and details for each question, I no longer have an excuse to postpone it – I have all I need, it just needs editing.
The Q & A format can also apply to other niches and aspects. You can write down questions prospects may have about your freelancing services and then answer them with facts. This can even be a little brochure you send with a quick greeting e-mail.
STEP 5: Commitment Self-Contract
Write a commitment contract with yourself!
For you to overcome self-doubt, you need to train your brain. It doesn’t just happen overnight. So, make a written commitment to practice this ‘baby-step activity’ every day for at least a month.
I have been doing it for every single post now. Depending on the activity you chose and the purpose it has, you may realize it can be done every day with no date limit.
For example, you can use that Q & A format as your new way of adding to your first e-mail to new clients. Or, you can use that strategy for other things, like starting new projects, writing content, etc.
For some people, it also helps to find an accountability partner and perform the activity with them.
STEP 6: Reassess
At the end of 30 days, reassess your confidence on that same goal you wrote down in step 1.
How much have you improved?
As I mentioned earlier, you can keep on doing this for as long as you need it. You can also take the same approach to other goals you may have, personal or financial.
This exercise has been helping me cope with some of my insecurities with E-Riches Club. My confidence in my writing has been improving slowly, from a 4 to a 7. It takes time, but I’m getting there.
While it is not bulletproof or a permanent fix, it can certainly help you take small action steps towards what you want to achieve.
If you haven’t done so, get my free worksheet to get this exercise all in one organized place. That way it will be easier to go back to it whenever you need it.
Did it help you? What is the goal you are trying to achieve and how has self-doubt stopped you? More importantly, what are the small action steps you will take to tackle the monster?