How To Deal With Doubt As An Entrepreneur

Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Business Management, Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

entrepreneur doubt“I can’t think of anyone I admire who isn’t fuelled by self-doubt.” says Richard Eyre “It’s an essential ingredient. It’s the grit in the oyster.”

It’s not unusual for an entrepreneur or start up leader to have second thoughts about some plan, whether it’s based on lack of market research, changes to local markets, or just your traditional case of cold feet. But upon this thin thin line of self-doubt, entrepreneurs balance between complete failure and successful execution.

So how do you stay afloat as you wait for your new project to come to fruition? Here are some commonly suggested ways to handle those pre-results jitters and stay the course for a better chance at eventual profits.

Embrace Doubt

One way to tackle the challenges of uncertainty is to embrace the feelings that you have. Steven Berglas, Entrepreneur’s psychology guru, suggests that doubt and humility are part of the same type of virtue and that to some extent, doubt helps you to plan and plot your course. He also suggests that there are constructive ways to embrace doubt that don’t involve wallowing in it or becoming overwhelmed. Berglas says businesses often die from a lack of self-doubt, because the leaders lack the introspection they need to change and adapt to new realities.

Related: 4 Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur

Get Support

Others recommend building a community to support yourself as an entrepreneur. On the Dexterous Diva blog from the UK, ‘Jo’ talks about the troubles of the self-employed, and how mentoring and other arrangements surround these people with a context that they can use to keep their feelings in perspective.

Congregations like The Bowie Business Statup and Support Meetup Group aim to take the fear out of launching a passion. Here entrepreneurs have the chance to ask for and exchange advice, as well as network with other local small business owners. If you’re hoping to turn your passion into a viable business, yet are suffering from self-doubt, be sure to check out your local or online communities.

Respond With Grace To External Pressures

Another important type of doubt for entrepreneurs comes not from within, but from others who are acting out of their own various philosophies and issues. For many of those who are striking out on their own and investing in new ideas, it’s not unusual to encounter someone who wants to shoot down ideas or belittle a dream. Steve Chou of My Wife Quit Her Job, knows too well the anxieties of external pressures and suggests holding your head up high.

“The most important thing when dealing with the doubters is to take everything they say with a grain of salt.” says Chou.

This kind of response can be important as too many entrepreneurs react directly, and often badly, to criticism or doubt imposed on them by others. Most of those with experience in business building would suggest not reacting, but instead letting this kind of criticism wash off.

Related: 7 Books That Should Be on Every Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

Pushing Through

Doubt can be debilitating. It can affect your well-being but will also facilitate a strong kind of procrastination. The only way to avoid this fearful paralyzation is to push through the fear. Push your comfort zones and keep your motivations in front of you to remain active and keep progressing forward toward your goals.

Change Management – And Managing Change

In some ways, the average entrepreneur’s approach toward doubt is very nuanced. For instance, some of the above advice suggests remaining true to your original ideas. You can do that, while still embracing certain kinds of change that will help you to embrace events out of your control.

Entrepreneur Nick Hughes of ‘So Entrepreneur.’ talks about going back to the drawing board to develop new complementary ideas that will help support a business plan. Also, he mentions continually networking with friends and family and other lifestyle choices that can help with managing the intersection of your dreams and your reality.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Started On Your Entrepreneurial Dream

“Entrepreneurial doubt can creep up on you like critters in the night,” writes Hughes, “and you have to figure out how to deal with it, so you can continue on living and working towards your goals.”

Think about these key ways to handle negative feelings as you work toward developing your startup or small business. Leave us a comment if you’ve dealt with this gnawing sense of self-doubt as an entrepreneur. We’d love to know your thoughts!

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