Starting any new business requires a leap of faith, and it can be intimidating. Even when you are sure you have a winning idea, the skills to bring it life, and a grasp on the market, it’s still easy to fall prey to self-doubt. This is especially true when your business is technology-focused, and your competition is bigger, more established companies. In the early days, maintaining your confidence might be easier said than done.
However, displaying confidence is an important part of growing your business. Clients want to work with entrepreneurs who are confident and positive in their abilities. When you can clearly articulate the value that you can bring to the table and why they should choose you over a more established or larger company, prospective clients will want to sign on with you.
Unfortunately, though, many new business owners in the tech field have a tendency to overcompensate for their lack of confidence by coming across as arrogant and egotistical. There is a fine line between being able to talk about what you do with confidence and knowledge, and bluster. An entrepreneur who falls into this trap of arrogance often comes across as disrespectful to both clients and the people who work for them — and as a result, isn’t always successful.
So as a new tech entrepreneur, how can you develop your confidence so you can be authentic in your customer interactions and avoid resorting to arrogance? While some might argue that you should “fake it ‘til you make it,” there are some actual, concrete steps you can take to improve your confidence.
1. Create a Plan for Personal Development
Confidence comes from actually doing work. It’s based on the reality of what you have already accomplished and what you know you can do. Usually, it’s the unknown that shakes your faith in yourself. It’s a fear that your weaknesses will take hold and you won’t be able to deliver on what you’ve promised.
Therefore, getting over that fear and building your confidence requires making an honest assessment of yourself and identifying the areas where you need to improve so you can minimize the negative effects they have on your life and your business. Take stock of the qualities that you think are instrumental to your success, and evaluate yourself against those qualities and come up with a plan for improvement. This might mean taking classes — again, advancing your education is always a good idea — joining networking groups, doing more reading, or developing other skills to help you move toward your goals.
2. Earn an Advanced Degree
Nothing makes it easier to demonstrate that you know your stuff than actually, well, knowing your stuff. Even if you have a great deal of experience in computer science, programming, or another tech-related field, holding an advanced degree is further proof that you are committed to the field and have the knowledge clients are looking for in a vendor. Not to mention, taking courses toward an advanced degree in computer science will undoubtedly give you additional knowledge and insights that you can use to improve your tech business.
3. Take Stock of Your Accomplishments
Recognizing your past victories can go a long way toward boosting your confidence. Keeping a log of your accomplishments and a file of testimonials to your greatness can be a major boost when you start feeling down on yourself. Not only that, but when you need to update your profiles, resume, or provide information to a prospective client, this log can make those tasks easier.
4. Forgive Yourself for Mistakes
Acknowledging your accomplishments is important, but so is learning from your mistakes. Don’t let past mistakes or failures shake your confidence. Instead, use them as learning opportunities. Beating yourself up for bad choices in the past doesn’t help you move forward. Use that time to evaluate where you went wrong, and what you learned from the experience — and then move forward. Knowing what not to do in the future is a confidence boost, so look at mistakes as opportunities for growth.
5. Develop a Healthy Attitude Toward Competition
Constantly comparing your business to others can only create bad feelings and frustration. Competition should inspire you to grow and do better, not feel down about what your business is and isn’t doing. Your self-worth, and the worth of your endeavors, is not based on what others are doing or what they think of you, so focus on your race and avoid comparisons. After all, there’s a good chance that your competitors are comparing themselves to you.
Becoming a confident entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight, and there will always be things that can shake your sense of well-being. However, if you maintain a positive attitude and a commitment to bettering yourself, your confidence will grow and you’ll soon be a confident and successful entrepreneur.