Confidence is a defining characteristic of entrepreneurs. For instance, in 2014, 91 percent of entrepreneurs were confident or very confident that their businesses would be more profitable over the next year than over the previous 12 months. This type of confidence is necessary for entrepreneurs to overcome self-doubts, skepticism from family and friends and financial setbacks. But confidence comes more easily to some than others, and some of us need to work at it. Confidence can be especially challenging for female entrepreneurs, with only half of women feeling confident that they are capable of starting a business, compared to two-thirds of men, according to a report by Babson College and Baruch College. Taking steps to nurture your confidence can be key to success as an entrepreneur. Cultivating an unstoppable attitude, dressing for success and developing a routine for getting in your confidence zone can all boost your confidence and increase your odds of entrepreneurial success.Developing an Unstoppable Attitude
Entrepreneur Kent Sayre, author of “Unstoppable Confidence,” uses psychology to break down confidence into several components that you can cultivate. One is overcoming beliefs that limit your thinking. If you don’t believe you can successfully start and run a business, it limits your ability to successfully take action. One way to overcome limiting beliefs is to write them down and then consider evidence that they are false. You can reinforce this with visualization that changes your perspective. For instance, to overcome fear of public speaking, Sayre suggests visualizing yourself as large as Godzilla talking to an audience full of ants.
Another way to change a limiting belief is to change it from the present to the past tense and reword it as a positive affirmation. For instance, you could say, “In the past I wasn’t sure I could run a business, but now I’m experienced at running my own company.” You can then visualize a future outcome you’d like to achieve as if it had already happened. Repeating this type of affirmation and visualization will help you shift your beliefs and build your confidence.
Another way to develop a confident attitude is to practice selling. Selling hones your ability to persuade, which builds your confidence. Even if you don’t have experience selling, you can quickly gain experience by becoming a distributor for a direct sales company such as Amway, the 29th largest company in the United States.
Power Dressing for Success
How you dress also affects your confidence by influencing both how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself. A California State University study found that people who dress more formally tend to think more expansively and abstractly, adopting the visionary mindset of a leader. A 2014 study of men in suits versus men in sweatpants and flip-flops trying to sell real estate found that men in suits averaged 10 percent more profit.
For men, the formula for dressing in the workplace is well-established, but since the 1970s, women have experimented with a variety of power dressing formulas. Some imitate men’s clothing styles with a de-emphasis on femininity, while others take the opposite approach. Whatever style you choose, the key is to wear something that makes you feel confident. Choose a style that’s true to your personality, advises the Joy of Clothes. Make sure your clothes fit well and that both you and your clothes are neat and clean. Buy clothes that are current, but don’t try to be too trendy by overdoing designer labels. Invest in a fashionable haircut and shoes and find at least one complete outfit that makes you feel confident.
Getting in Your Confidence Zone
Another useful technique is developing a routine for getting into a mental zone that cultivates your self-confident mindset. To do this, Medallia strategy director James Allworth recommends first finding an environment that puts you in the right mental state, whether this be a favorite outdoor location or a local coffee shop. Choosing the right time of day can also be important if you’re a morning or night person. Cueing up a piece of music that sets the mood can be powerful. And following an exercise routine can also help you get into a confident zone.