There’s nothing quite like the feeling of running a successful solo enterprise.
More people than ever are starting their own businesses, leading to a rise in what’s known as the ‘solopreneur.’
These people rarely work standard 9-5 hours, create their own destiny and make money by providing products and services they love.
The Journal of Business Venturing published a study in 1997 which found that many entrepreneurs were over-confident about the future prospects of their business, as well as their ability to prevent bad outcomes.
In his book, “Angel Investing”, serial entrepreneur David S. Rose asserts that new entrepreneurs have to be over-confident or they would never get started. For sure, starting out on your own can be extremely difficult, and at times even painful. “You need self-confidence and ego to get through it,” says Rose.
However, despite all this talk of “over-confidence,” many new solopreneurs hide insecurities that are, in fact, entirely natural when you head into the world of business alone.
There is even a school of thought that introverted characters tend to thrive and often become more successful than those who are over-confident. Indeed, there are multiple examples of wildly successful entrepreneurs who are known for being shy and introverted — think Larry Page, founder of Google, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates — and many of these started off in business as solopreneurs.
So, if you want to become a solopreneur but worry that you’re too introverted, here’s five confidence-boosting tips that will prove you’re anything but.
1. Appear confident when you’re naturally shy
Does the thought of heading to a traditional networking event fill you with dread?
There’s nothing wrong with being naturally shy. In fact, some of the world’s most successful business people struggle in the limelight.
The trick to appearing confident when you’re shy? Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to trip up, make mistakes or admit when you don’t have an answer for something.
The more you show your real self, the more people will warm to you and see that you’re human — like the rest of us. That’s where real confidence lies.
2. Raise your communication game
Every successful business relies on brilliant communication, and as a solopreneur, you’re no different.
That means you need to develop your communication skills on every platform: phone, email, social media — you name it.
But how do you do this? Once again, you just need to be yourself. To become a brilliant business negotiator, amazing product demonstrator or customer service wizard lies in your ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
3. Project the right body language
How often do you sit in meetings with your arms crossed? Or, while at networking events, inadvertently keep your back turned to someone else who wants to take part in the conversation?
Try and pay attention to your body language — it links closely to your ability to communicate effectively (see tip 2), and the more confident you are in your stance and posture, the more confident you’ll feel as a solopreneur.
4. Get your physical appearance spot-on
Thankfully, the days of stuffy suits and work dresses are long gone (in most industries, at least). That means you’re rarely expected to turn up to meetings looking like you’re off to a wedding.
Despite this, your physical appearance is still vitally important when running your own business.
You can use this to your advantage. The clothes you wear can help people identify you; they’ll create a personal brand and, if you work on a physical appearance that is entirely you and not an imitation of someone else, it’ll make you feel far more comfortable, no matter where you are or who you’re talking to.
5. Develop a strong work ethic
The more high-quality work you get done, the more confident you’ll feel about your abilities and your business.
This will only come from a killer work ethic. Try and work consistent hours each day, take regular breaks and make use of to-do lists and the best productivity tools to keep on top of your various projects.
The feeling of consistently smashing your to-do list each day to the highest of your ability will raise your confidence levels considerably.
Notice a common thread above? That’s right — confidence is all about being you.
There are extroverts in this world, but they’re actually few and far between; nearly all of us have at least a few inhibitions. And extrovert doesn’t always necessarily equal success either — there are plenty of over-confident entrepreneurs who talk the talk, but cannot ultimately walk the walk.
So, embrace your shyness and use the tips above to become the solopreneur you’re truly capable of becoming.