To build and grow your own successful business that pays the bills and leaves you with enough left over for some of the nice things you want out of life, you have to take big, bold action, which frankly often frightens the life out of you. You have to be visible and tell the world over and over again who you help and how. There are many different ways to do this, such as through social media, newsletters, lead magnets, webinars, videos, in-person talks and presentations.
Over my years of working with image consultants, I’ve identified four main things that keep you playing small and putting off doing these things and share some tips to help overcome them.
1) Lack of confidence
This is a biggie. I hear you saying you lack confidence all the time and remember my own lack of confidence in the beginning too. I had so many conflicting thoughts about whether I should leave my corporate job to go full time in my business. Then, once I’d made that decision, there was more doubt about what I should do next, and then what should come after that, and so on.
I realise now that no matter what stage you are in business if you’re doing it on your own, you’re going to face a never-ending series of challenges, and you must get used to taking them on one at a time, coming through the other side, ready to face the next one.
Confidence doesn’t come out of thin air, and you can’t soak it up from people around you. Confidence only comes from taking action and giving something a go. The first time you try something is always the hardest. You’re likely to be really nervous but keep things in perspective. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen, and try journaling about it; it can be really helpful in overcoming your fears.
Take action, and you will learn from the experience. The next time you do it, it will be easier, and eventually, you’ll wonder what you ever worried about in the first place.
2) Not knowing what you really want
I know many image consultants who are still doing their 9 to 5 corporate jobs and running their businesses on the side. I understand why. You have bills to pay, and there’s security and familiarity because you’ve done the same work for years. However, you’ve also got a deep desire to leave and spend the rest of your working life in your business doing what you love.
You have to think carefully about what you really, truly want, and if it’s your business that comes out on top, at some point, you’re going to have to decide to go all in. The longer you leave it, the harder it gets.
3) Not being clear on what you’re doing it for
Do you have a clear reason why you’re in business? I’m sure that it’s to help people, but are you doing it as a hobby, or do you want to make good money from it?
If you want consistent earnings, you have to do more than dabble in image consultancy. You have to get up every day and put the hours in that you need to make it a financial success. You need to be marketing yourself every single day to bring in a steady stream of clients.
If you’re serious about making money, you also need to be clear on how much you want to make every month. You should set a target and put a plan in place to achieve it. Those who succeed are super focused on the actions they need to take every day. They have their plan in place and work it.
4) Telling yourself unhelpful stories
To me, this is the most significant thing that holds you back, and oftentimes it happens without you realising it.
We all tell ourselves unhelpful stories, and they’re usually tucked away in the background. They play on repeat, keeping us small, and we’re not even aware of it.
I have my own unhelpful stories too. One of them surfaced after I restarted my business after four years of caring for my tiny children. We had left Singapore, where I had plenty of clients and people who knew me, for the South of France, where I knew no one.
The trigger for our move halfway around the world was my brother’s death in 2017 by suicide. After the initial period of grief, I realised that life is very short and that I had put a big part of mine, my career, on hold. I’d been supporting my husband with his and looking after the children. My things had been pushed down the list of priorities.
I decided to relaunch the business and make a go of it this time. However, I struggled to get visible, go online and show myself. The reason? I had a story playing in my brain.
It went like this – how can I go online after this tragedy in my family? What will my parents think? What will my siblings and friends think? It felt somehow like I was disrespecting my brother or my family by wanting to go for it and be seen.
This story held me back for quite a while, and it’s only when I journaled around it and questioned whether the things I was thinking were true that I was able to push through and take the action I needed to.
I asked myself, is it true that I have to hide away forever because this awful thing happened?
Is it true that my parents and family are going to be upset by my actions?
Is it true that I’m mercenary if I go for this?
Is it true that I’m obsessed with money if I go for it?
These thoughts crowded my mind, and trying to restart the business was like driving with the brakes on. There was a genuine inner conflict going on, and I was torn between feeling that I wanted to go for it but that I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it.
It made me miserable, but once I became aware of the untruths I was telling myself, I started changing the narrative.
Your stories will be different to mine. Maybe you’re telling yourself that it’s ridiculous to give up a solid corporate job for something that seems so frivolous. Perhaps you have stories that make you feel shame or feel less than others. Maybe you think that you’re not good enough, you don’t have the right accent, or you don’t look like an image consultant.
Whatever your unhelpful stories, they undermine your confidence and hold you back.
The only way to change them is to bring them out and shine a spotlight on them. Ask yourself if they are valid and journal the hell out of them. Once you start examining them, you realise that they’re all made up in your head.
No one ever said anything negative to me about posting online or being disrespectful to my brother. It was the complete opposite; my family were right behind me, supporting me. I had made up the silly story myself!
Is there a negative story playing for you? Do you think that examining it and journaling about it will help you switch it off?
Are there any other things holding you back from the progress you want?
Leave a comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. 😊