Can I really run my own business? Make money from it? Make it a success? Not bankrupt myself? Not make a fool of myself?
There are all questions which have flashed through my mind over the last five years ago.
And you know what the answers is …. Yes! But the main person you have to convince is yourself!
Having doubts when you’re starting up is completely normal. In fact, if you haven’t got a bit of fear in your belly, you’re probably not pushing yourself as much as you could! Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint hearted. But that shouldn’t put you off … because hundreds of thousands of people take the step to become an entrepreneur every year. And I promise, that step where is nowhere near as large as it first seems!
The nature of my events business – The Dating Awards – is that the business is mainly based around large, annual events. They are big, expensive affairs. The possibility of financial loss is pretty big. If I don’t do things right, I could end up substantially out of pocket. And because it’s all about one or two events, numbers really count. People judge your company’s success on how many people turn up at the event. Every person counts. And so two or three times each year, I find myself lying awake at night, petrified that the next event will flop for some reason.
Sleepless nights isn’t a metaphor – it’s genuinely how I’ve felt at times. Panicking that my event won’t be a success and that everyone will judge me for it. That I’ll have to return to my old day job at the bank … my tail tucked firmly between my legs. After all, we all live in an era of social media right? My successes and failures are not just on show for those who really know me. Nowadays some random I went to primary school will also know if I’m doing well (or at least if it looks like I’m doing well).
But every time I get myself in this panic, I remind myself of a couple of things. And if you’re in a similar panic, I suggest you do the same.
- Being an entrepreneur is about the small steps forward. We’re not all going to suddenly become Richard Branson overnight, and you need to make sure you celebrate the small successes. Have you just paid yourself a month’s salary, all by yourself, and your own initiative? Yes! Go You!!! Each step forward is a step in the right direction, no matter how small.
- There are WAY more entrepreneurs around us than we realise. Drive down a street and look out for independent shops. Every little corner shop is a person who had the chutzpa to go into business. If they can do it, so can you.
- We are all our biggest critics! If you run events, you soon realise the key is making sure everyone enjoys themselves – no matter how many or how few people are there. One of my most successful events was one where I barely sold 50 tickets. Everyone stayed on for hours afterwards, and every single guest was raving about just how great it was. At the end of the night, my staff were saying how happy everyone was, and that they’d never had so many guests coming up and saying thank you directly to them. It’s not all about the numbers.
- You are still changing people’s lives – no matter how small the impact. You have created something. You are making your mark on the world. Keep on chipping at that mark, and make it as big as you can!
- I am a unique flower! There is absolutely no point trying to compare myself to other people, as no one else is doing the exact same as me, or doing it in the same way as I am.
Be your own biggest cheerleader. You’ve got this!