When I first started my online career branding firm, I wasn’t terrified at all. I was excited to start a new venture and see if this thing I called a business could actually make money. The nerves didn’t start until I spoke to my first potential client. When this potential client turned into a booked client, I freaked out.
My lack of confidence about delivering on my promises kept me up at night until the client was satisfied. My confidence was in the toilet, and I felt like most business owners: that I was an imposter with no clue what I was doing. I didn’t set a sound foundation to ensure my business survived, give me the confidence to chase bigger clients, and charge what I was worth.
If you are looking to start a side hustle that will eventually turn into a work-from-anywhere business, you’re in for a wild ride! There are a few things that are absolutely necessary to start a successful virtual business, besides money. After implementing the following points, you will feel like less of an imposter, and your new confidence will fuel your business growth.
DETERMINE HOW YOU WILL SERVE & MONETIZE
I used the word “serve” here to remind you that you are serving your clients and customers. Money is the byproduct of service. I gained confidence and strength by hearing my clients’ career stories and honoring the trust they put in me to solve their most pressing career roadblocks. If your business is only about making money, it may work for a while, but soon you’ll feel like you’ve created just another job, not a business you’re passionate about.
TEST YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Proper preparation and practice are two contributing factors that will give you confidence in your new virtual business. Reach out to people who will give you honest feedback about your products and services. Allow them to give your products and/or services a try for free in exchange for a testimonial. Yes, for free!
Through this process of beta testing, you will have the opportunity to revamp or redesign your packaging, eliminate service offerings, or even change your pricing structure. In addition, beta testing allows you to spread the word about your business, build brand value, gain referrals, and raise the know, like, and trust factor. In business, there’s nothing that speaks louder than results.
You must embrace positivity in your mind as well as your surroundings. There will always be naysayers who will say that you’re wasting your time, that you need to get a “real job.” They’re not your customers. Since building my career branding firm to what it is today, I’ve heard from several friends that they’re shocked I’ve made it this far and thought I was nuts to start a business.
To remove self-doubt, you need to remind yourself that you are the best at what you do and that no one can stop you when your gifts and talents are operating at their full capacity. Visualize your success and create a vision board, or start a brag book to keep your vision alive despite the naysayers, disappointments, and temptation to compare yourself to other brand leaders in your industry.
Run your own race, and you’ll get there, one step at a time. Repeat to yourself that your vision is coming true. Say, “I am a successful entrepreneur. I am persistent and resilient. The right people and circumstances will reveal themselves to me.”
SAVE TIME WITH A MENTOR OR COACH
I regret not hiring a coach during my business’s infancy. I was working full-time, so I could afford it, but felt it was a waste of money. I thought I could figure everything out by googling my questions, not knowing what I didn’t know. Even with extensive research, I wasn’t prepared for everything, and someone who had been there before would have been a big help.
Seek free or paid mentorship and/or coaching from industry professionals who you respect. Most of the time, they’re eager to provide guidance. Remember, “picking someone’s brain” can be seen as trying to get coaching for free, so don’t overstep your bounds. For coaches, time is money. You can also get the support you’ll need from mastermind groups, accountability partners, or a knowledgeable friend.
Having doubts is common for any new entrepreneur. It can seem like each time you master a skill; the doubt creeps back in when you start to learn another one. Trust your gut instincts and believe in your abilities. Who knows? Your side hustle could become a full-time career one day! Working for yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it can also be the most rewarding.
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