I hadn’t intended to write this post at this moment in time. In fact, I have a whole list of other posts I wanted to write, but sometimes you realize you need to address something, and it needs to be now.
I’ve noticed something troubling with female entrepreneurs, and it’s pretty common. Too common to be coincidence. The issue: far too many women display the signs of not feeling worthy of the success they say they want.
But self-worth, or a lack of it, doesn’t show up explicitly. Nobody says on a discovery call, “I just don’t feel worthy of investing in myself or my business.” People don’t binge a million podcast episodes or free business downloads after declaring, “I’m not going to be worthy until I’ve gotten through all of these!”
But it’s in the actions, the things that go unsaid, that prove the undercurrent of unworthiness is there. It’s sneaky, and insidious, and will pull you under with waves of fear and self-doubt if you aren’t careful.
And it’s something I’ve struggled with so many times over the years. When I was first put in charge of a six-million-dollar Calvin Klein store; when I was growing my previous business and training others toward success; when I decided to start a business I closed 6 months later because I was too afraid to start this one.
In each of those moments I had to check in with myself and decide that I was worthy of the success I wanted, and honestly, sometimes I didn’t listen to my gut and fell short. But if I can come back from a foolish, and costly, investment flop, then you can too! (There’s a video where I chat candidly about that mistake in my Facebook group.)
Sneaky signs you’re struggling with feelings of unworthiness in business:
You spend the bulk of your “work” time consuming content.
These are the free downloads from other businesses and influencers. The podcast episodes queued up in your phone. The business and personal development books stacked on your nightstand. Don’t get me wrong, learning is vital, and we are so fortunate to have a wealth of information available around the clock, but it can keep you stuck in “research mode” forever.
You spend too much time tinkering to “get everything right” before you put things out there.
How many hours have you spent working on your website? Curating your Instagram feed? (Need help planning your Instagram content?) Obsessing over your branding? Getting a nurture sequence just right before building a list? Editing and re-editing a blogpost before you hit publish? There will never be a “perfect.” Some of my favorite people to follow are very candid about what the first versions of their businesses looked like. They weren’t as polished as they are now, but they were still getting clients and making money. Things can always be tweaked and improved, but if you refuse to do anything until it’s perfect, you’ll be waiting forever.
Not investing in yourself and/or your business.
Isn’t it funny how we buy into the notion that everyone has to go into debt for a college degree, but if you spend a few thousand dollars to start a business that’s “too risky?” I mean, there’s no guarantee with that diploma either! Instead, ponder the following: Have you been obsessing over that business conference but haven’t bought the tickets? What about the online tool that will make your life easier? Have you been dreaming of having your very own business coach/consultant, but always give yourself a reason why now isn’t the time? Why haven’t you allowed yourself to have those things?
Luckily, there’s a way around all this if you choose to change the way you feel when it comes to your business.
Simple ways to boost your self-worth as an entrepreneur:
Remember why you started.
The fact that you’ve taken the steps to start a business mean you are a bonafide badass. Being a boss (especially your own boss) is no easy feat. Most will never try, and the ones who do will jump ship the moment things get challenging. Pat yourself on the back simply for getting in the business game. And remember who you hope to serve, and why.
Give yourself permission to succeed.
In the world of business, there are no permission slips. Our school-based society has done us a disservice in some ways. We’re used to an external person (or institution) that decides when we’re “done” and “ready,” and they give us a fancy piece of paper saying just that. Well, the good (and bad) news is that as a business owner, you get to give yourself your own permission slip! If you decided you were ready to start a business, then you are ready to start a business.
Give yourself some credit.
You have more knowledge and skills than you think, and you’ll get better as you go. It’s easy to compare yourself to those who’ve been doing this for years. Compared to them, you feel like an idiot. But that line of thinking will only send you into a shame spiral, and that helps nobody. Everyone starts at a different place. Things are learnable. Things are outsource-able. You don’t have to be good at #allthethings, nor should you be.
Invest in yourself and keep your mind right.
If you truly don’t believe you have what it takes, or feel utterly stuck, you have to work on your mindset, and get some help/accountability. I get that telling you to hire a professional is like a hair stylist telling you it’s time for a haircut, but hear me out. When I started my consulting business I’d never had a purely online, service-based business before. There was a lot I knew how to do, but I was worried I’d struggle with execution if I didn’t have professional guidance. I also knew I’d spend way too much time falling into that “research trap” because I love learning. So I hired my own coach before I even had a client!
Yes, you read that right. I wasn’t even making a dime, and yet I was investing in myself and my brand spankin’ new business! I had to believe I was worthy of the success that was going to come, and I just wanted it to arrive sooner.
So instead of wasting my own time, I hired someone to tell me what I should be doing, and when I should be doing it.
That’s what people like me do. I don’t have some secret portal into a magical vault of business secrets (I freaking wish!), I’ve just been around the block of running successful businesses for a long time. I’ve already invested a ton of time (and money) over the years to learning the necessary skills and craft of entrepreneurship. So I’m saving you the hassle of sifting through it all, and the trial and error that comes with it.
When clients hire me, they are really just paying for three things:
The framework to get them from where they are, to where they want to be, in a way that’s simple and doesn’t take too much time.
The accountability of following up with them every few weeks to figure out what’s working and what can be tweaked.
And someone (sometimes the only someone) in their corner who will be cheering them on the whole way.
And if you don’t need these things, I salute you sister! That’s amazing! But I bet there’s another aspect of your business that feels frustrating as heck. Whatever that is, spend some time (and possibly some money) figuring out a better way to get it done.