In this blog post I share 25 tips to help you build confidence as a small busines owner.
There’s no doubt about it, growing a small business and becoming a successful entrepreneur is hard.
There are many challenges we have to face, many fears we have to overcome, and we have to figure out how to show up online as our true self, without allowing our inner critic to undermine our ability to grow a really successful, profitable business.
It can be difficult for small business owners to step out of their comfort zone, to attack all the hard work that comes with growing a small business.
We can often look out in the online space and see all these confident people, we make comparisons and judge ourselves against those people, and that can contribute to lower confidence levels and a real fear of failure.
Sometimes our lack of confidence can cause us to stay stuck in our women-owned businesses, we can get in our own way far too much, and allow our own narrative, thoughts and feelings about ourselves to be the thing that stops us growing a wildly successful business online.
We have to learn best ways we can overcome low self-esteem, negative self-talk, and lack of confidence to enable us to build self confidence and courage to show up as our best selves in our small businesses to help us achieve success.
If there are times you feel like running away from your small business because your confidence is low, or times are hard, head to this blog post where I share 4 steps to take when you feel like running away from your small business
And if you’re finding growing a small business challenging, and lack of results is the thing knocking your confidence, head to this popular blog post where I share ten tips to help you grow your small business.
1. Embrace Your Strengths
Far too often we find ourselves focusing too much on the things we aren’t good at, rather than recognising the unique skills, abilities and strengths we each bring to our own business.
The good news is this can be changed. Taking some time to sit and reflect on all the powerful attributes you bring to your small business can help you to see that you are not weak. You are not incapable. You do have strong qualities that are part of your true self that you bring to your small business.
When you’re your own boss, you don’t necessarily have people pointing out your strengths, so one of the important things you can do is to improve your self esteem and confidence by figuring out your strengths and qualities for yourself. And you will have them.
Take a sheet of paper and make a list of all the great qualities and attributes you bring to your business. And if you really struggle to do this yourself, you can go and ask some trustworthy people to give you feedback about the qualities and strengths they believe you have to offer.
Keep a list of the strengths you identify, so that in those moments where your lack of confidence rears its head, you can go to your list and use it as a powerful reminder that you are a strong small business owner.
Doing this can help re-train your brain to build your ability to see the strengths in your, rather than focusing on what you see as weaknesses.
2. Positive Self-Talk
When you feel the negative thoughts rearing their ugly head, learn to replace these with positive affirmations. This helps to replace self-doubt with empowering self-talk.
Throughout the day you’ll have many internal conversations, and it’s a good thing to learn how to be more mindful of those conversations, so that when you identify that more negative thoughts are consuming your mind, you can take action to reframe those thoughts into positive ones.
For example, if you find yourself thinking “I’ll never be able to do this.” You can immediately replace that negative thought by reframing it to “I may be facing some challenges right now, but step by step I will learn more and I’ll overcome them.”
You immediately start to tell your brain that you’re safe, and that you’re following a positive path towards an end goal of being in a better place, rather than re-inforcing to your brain that you are no good at X.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Of course we want our small businesses to be hugely successful over the long run. And because we want that to happen as quickly as possible, we can sometimes start to set unrealistic goals for our businesses in our race to get to the finish line.
Successful people set goals that stretch them, rather than set goals that are highly unlikely to be achieved. It’s great to take healthy risks in your small business – even with the goals you set, but you have to be mindful that any big goal you do set is still realistic in terms of your ability to achieve it.
When you set any big goal (or small goal for that matter), breaking the goal down into smaller achievable steps helps make the full goal feel less daunting.
As you start to work through each step of your goal, and you find yourself ticking those steps off your list, you start to gain more confidence as you see yourself achieving progress through your goals.
Remember it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate your progress along the way, because doing so can help build your confidence as a small business owner.
4. Continuous Learning
Part of your journey as a female small business owner will be the ability to learn new things to help you acquire new skills that will help you become the best version of you in your business.
Learning is an incredibly powerful tool, because it helps satisfy you that your level of knowledge and expertise is ever growing, giving you greater confidence to share your skills with the world.
Best practices for continuous learning are to make sure you allow dedicated time in your schedule for learning. It’s important to do this because in the busy-ness of daily business life, learning can be pushed to the bottom of a list of to dos.
When you learn more, you add extra tools to your arsenal of skills and expertise, this in turn leads to greater entrepreneurial success, and success is a huge confidence booster.
Deep dive on your learning, find the best resources you can tap into to uplevel your skillset to become the best version of you, that in turn will help build confidence.
5. Networking Magic
There’s a lot to be said for networking with other successful female entrepreneurs. The people you surround yourself with normally end up being the person you become.
If you know that the people you have around you in your business right now are people who bring bad juju and negative vibes to the stage, first thing to do is look for new opportunities to connect with better small business owners.
Networking like this can happen external to the online space through networking groups, it can happen online when you join positive, uplifting memberships (check mine out here), it can happen if you get a great coach in your corner (check my coaching out here), it can happen if you find social media communities to be part of, and it can happen if you find other women entrepreneurs who are ahead of you, who you follow with a view to learning positively from the way they show up.
Another great way to gain confidence through networking is to maintain contact with your customers and to gain positive feedback from them about you, your small business, your products and services.
As you receive more and more reviews, testimonials, positive feedback, it can help bolster your confidence as you start to realise you really do have a huge amount to offer to people, and that there are people out there who need you.
7. Prioritize Health
I know way too many women business owners with small businesses who have worked so hard, without adequate balance, that they’ve very quickly burnt out and had to to take big breaks from their small business, or even worse, close the business completely.
Don’t let that be you. You are a priority. Without you, your business will not exist. If you’re burning the midnight oil and not paying enough attention to your own self care, there’s probably a sticky outcome waiting for you at some point in your small business future.
You don’t have to go radical with self-care. Small victories here are key. Moving your body daily. Drinking more water. Cutting out the crap food and alcohol, practising mindfulness, prioritising good sleep, eating as much fresh, healthy food as you can, taking time away from your business for you.
All these little things add up. But not only do they add up, as you take better care of you, one of the best things that will happen is you’ll start to feel healthier, happier, more energised in your own skin. And when that happens, your confidence will grow and glow.
8. Mindfulness Moments
I’ve already touched on this, but let’s go a little deeper, because it’s important. We often hear about the importance of taking care of our bodies (with exercise and healthy eating that I’ve spoken about in 7. above), but just as important is the requirement to take care of our minds.
When we start to loop through negative self-talk, and show a lack of compassion for ourselves, those things in turn can lead to a lack of confidence, but more importantly they can greatly impact our mental health.
Mental health crises has become a much more mainstream narrative thankfully. But as a small business owner probably the first step you should take to help build confidence but also protect yourself through the hard hard journey of female entrepreneurship, is to make time for your mental health.
This means having tools in place to support you. This could be practicing meditation to manage stress and anxiety, it could be having a support network (see 5. above), and for sure it means treating your body with the support it deserves through mindfulness and other healthy living protocols.
When you do this, and you feel and look your best, it can significantly improve how you feel about yourself, and how you bring yourself to your business. And that is a fantastic way to increase your confidence.
9. Effective Time Management
Effective time management comes down to knowing all of the responsibilities you have in your life and in your small business, and then creating a schedule for this, so that you’re not over committing yourself to too many things to do in any given time frame.
Over-committment to tasks, where you load yourself with too much to do too often, actually leads to the inability to get anything done effectively, and whilst that’s a poor time management situation, female small business owners often let this reflect back to their lack to do more and more, and that in turn can impact confidence.
Growing your own business in not a race to the top. It’s a long-haul game, and when you have a business where you plan your priorities (through setting realistic goals – see 3 above), and you then break your goals down into smaller steps, then plan those steps effectively to fit the time you have available to work on your small business each day, the very nature of being able to get your tasks done and tick them off your schedule can help you see you are achieving more, and that in turn can be a real boost to confidence.
If you need help with a good time management and goal setting system – take a look at the Unstoppable Business Planner in my Etsy store. It comes with a great goal setting and time management bonus training.
10. Practice Self-Compassion
You are not a robot. You are a worthwhile human being taking on the enormous task of growing your small business to financial success. Learn to treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially when facing challenges.
Negative comments you load upon yourself can really knock self confidence. It’s important to keep your self compassion and self care as a priority, and put yourself in first place ahead of everything else in your business.
When you have those moments of self criticism, think about whether you would say the same to other women business owners. If you would not (and hopefully that is the case!), why would you load the same criticisms on yourself. Kindness and compassion to yourself can help boost confidence.
11. Celebrate Small Wins
Often entrepreneurial success does not come off the back of ground breaking wins. It’s the small wins that stack up that lead to a successful business.
And with that in mind, it’s important to acknowledge and reward yourself for even the tiniest achievements you have in your daily business life, to remind yourself that you are making progress in your own way, and to celebrate those small victories with rewards to yourself.
I’d also suggest journalling all of your wins so that you can look back and reflect and always have a reminder that you’re slowly but surely growing your business and you’re perfectly capable of making progress towards great success.
12. Positive Affirmations
There’s a good reason to have positive affirmations in your toolkit. They work. They help to re-train your brain to lean more towards positivity, and less towards self judgement and negative self talk.
Positive affirmations can help lift you when you feel your confidence is low. Repeat empowering statements to yourself daily to counter self-doubt.
I encourage you to keep a journal of ‘courage’ quotes – positive affirmations you can lean into to lift you and keep your sense of purpose and confidence alive and well in your small business.
Those courage quotes can help lift you and bring your confidence back when you feel challenged or have your self-esteem knocked in your business life.
13. Dress for Success
As much as I know it’s easy to show up in your work from home small business wearing your pyjamas with a chocolate stain, and your unwashed hair in a messy up-bun, it does little to help self confidence.
Wear clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable. Whilst your small business may be home based, standards still count.
I know personally that when my hair is cut and styled and looks smart, when I have a little make-up on, when I’ve showered and climbed into some branded workwear, I always feel much more comfortable and confident in my business.
It’s like having a suit of armour that helps power you up to the be the incredible female entrepreneur you have the ability to be.
Don’t be a slob in your business – it will do nothing for your self-esteem and confidence. Find a way to show up looking tidy and professional, that helps keep your confidence high.
14. Body Language
It’s not always easy when we feel low in confidence to be mindful of how we’re using our bodies. Often when we have low self esteem and low confidence, the impact of those uncomfortable feelings can cause us to slouch, hang our heads, hold our body and muscles tightly, have a frown and downturned mouth.
They all send messages to our brain that we are not happy. And when we repeat these feelings and expressions, we can create a subconscious habit where our normal body language leans more towards the negative.
However, with some simple tweaks to your body language, you can change this. Next time you feel yourself in the grip of negative body language – try to make a change. Sit or stand tall, take some slow breaths and think about releasing tension around your body, put a smile on your face, open your eyes, think happy feelings.
These simple actions might sound trite, but they immediately start to send a message to your brain that you are comfortable, happy, positive.
Over time this can help to re-train your brain to err more on the side of confidence. The very act of using positive body language can help elevate your confidence levels.
15. Embrace Failure
Without doubt, all small business owners will experience failures in their business journeys. Those failures when looked at from a negative place can really knock confidence.
Business is hard work. And part of the journey you’ll travel in your small business will inevitably include failures. See failures as learning opportunities that contribute to your growth.
Rather than seeing failure as a reflection of you and your abilities, letting it knock your confidence, take a new look and approach to failure. Understand that fear of failure is nothing more than a thought, and that all small business success comes off the back of learning from all the fails that happen.
Failing is a great way to grow your business. It’s one of the best things that can happen, because if you can embrace failure, you can then learn from those failures, and when you do that, failure becomes a powerful tool to help you learn how to grow a profitable business.
Every failure you go through, that you embrace and turn into something better will help to uplevel your own confidence as a female small business owner.
16. Visualise Success
When you use visualisation as a tool to help with your self confidence, it can not only be a means to improving your confidence, it can also help you achieve small business success.
Taking time to sit quietly and imagine yourself succeeding in different business scenarios will help to build confidence and reduce anxiety.
The visualisation exercises you go through can be about seeing yourself winning the small or larger goals you have in your business, to help keep you focused on a positive path towards the outcome of those goals.
Visualisation can be about you seeing yourself as the confident, amazing small business owner you are capable of being. Visualisation with positive affirmations can be a great way to help you really start to re-wire your mind to become a more confident small business owner.
17. Step Out of Comfort Zones
When you feel that you lack confidence, it can be really hard to step out of your comfort zone. But one of the best ways to increase your confidence is to step out of your comfort zone. You can start by doing this in small ways, with challenges you set yourself that aren’t so big that they stop you in your tracks.
As you start to step out of your comfort zone and face small challenges, you’ll find that with every challenge you face and go through, you’ll start to develop more confidence, you’ll become less anxious about stepping out of your comfort zone, and you’ll start to recognise that you’re much more capable that you may be giving yourself credit for.
Challenges help you prove your capabilities. You could start, for example, by making a commitment to get your face on camera for one 10 second video you post on social (if having face on camera is something you lack confidence in).
You don’t even need to speak in that initial video – it can be you at your desk in your business doing something, and you turn that into a b-roll video (my FREE small business guide showing you how to make easy b-roll videos for your small business is here). That small start can help you take the first step to greater confidence in yourself and your ability to show up more often on video.
Whatever it is that takes you out of your comfort zone – start with smaller steps to help you build your confidence one small leap at a time.
You can also visualise yourself succeeding at the goals you set for your small business to help you feel more confident about forging ahead with them (I cover this in 16. above).
18. Volunteer or Help Others
It’s surprising how much reaching out to help others can contribute to confidence. When you see that you, your time, your efforts are changing someone else’s life in a small or large way, it can increase your sense of worth, improve your self-esteem and help you gain confidence in your abilities.
Think about ways you would like to help – whether it’s volunteering, helping a family member, friend or another small business owner in need, caring for animals, helping the environment – whatever it is that speaks to your heart.
19. Cultivate a Hobby
A hobby can take your mind away from dwelling on negatives. It can help you stop spending too much time analysing yourself, your lack of confidence or low self-esteem. But also when you develop a hobby, interest or new skill – you’re learning something.
When you realise you’re capable of doing so much more than you may be doing right now – that’s a great way to boost confidence and help you feel good about yourself. What’s that thing you’ve always wanted to try, but never have?
Perhaps now is the time to give it a go.
20. Speak Up
As a young woman I found it really difficult to speak up and express my opinions. There was always the fear of criticism from others, or the fear of judgement. As I aged, I recognised how my inability to speak up was impacting my health (and was partly responsible for the development of an autoimmune condition).
Expressing your feelings, thoughts, ideas, opinions is not a bad thing. They’re much better out of your body than kept locked inside festering.
Finding your voice and speaking up can show you that a. you have the ability to do that, b. you have something worthwhile to say or contribute. When you realise it’s ok to speak up, to have a voice, and to express yourself, it helps empty that festering library of unspoken words inside you.
That’s hugely liberating, and helps to elevate confidence as you recognise you do not need to hide yourself and your true voice from the world.
21. Set Boundaries
This sits well leading on from 20. above. Again as a young woman I found it almost impossible to say no. I thought people wouldn’t like me, that I’d lose friends, and I didn’t possess the confidence to firmly set boundaries.
However, the funny thing is, when you DO set boundaries, you earn a great deal more respect from people in your life, and you also get to protect your mental and physcial wellbeing.
When you realise it is ok to set boundaries, and you lean into those boundaries, learning to say no when necessary, it helps protect your time and energy, but it also helps you to feel more confident that you’re a worthwhile human being who deserves to live a life with boundaries in place.
22. Practice Gratitude
Focus on what you’re grateful for in your life to maintain a positive perspective. Successful people do this routinely.
You’ll hear many industry experts in your niche who are hugely successful, talk about how they use gratitude.
Being mindful to bring an awareness of gratitude to your life can increase your self confidence, because you’re focusing more of your attention on the good things going on in your small business, rather than being your harshest inner critic, only focusing on the things that have not gone to plan.
Small things matter in business. Practicing gratitude might feel like a small thing but the rewards can be high because gratitude is a great way to boost your inner confidence, in the same way that positive affirmations can also do.
23. Help Others
Offering assistance or mentorship as a small business owner can increase your sense of value and self worth. You could help other new business owners in their early start up journey, passing on your wisdom and knowledge to help first time business owners navigate the world of online success.
Helping small businesses become more successful online can massively increase your own confidence levels as you see their progress off the back of your support. Lifting other people up can be hugely beneficial to helping lift yourself up too.
24. Accept Compliments
We are often very good at shrugging off compliments that are paid to us, either through feeling embarrassed, not worthy, not believing the compliment, or feeling we have to play ourselves down to others.
One way to help boost your confidence as a small business owner is to make a decision that when someone compliments you about any aspect of you as a female entrepreneur, or about your business, you graciously accept that compliment with a genuine thank you, and take to heart that those compliments are an indication of your professionalism and ability.
Don’t allow negative self-talk to be part of your response to any person who is kind enough to pay you a compliment that you well deserve. Take to heart the praise and recognise that you are receiving genuine feedback about you and your business.
25. Declutter and Organize
A clean and organized space can positively impact your mindset and your confidence. I don’t believe it’s easy to work well, to feel calm, centred and happy in an environment that is cluttered and disorganized.
Have time on your schedule to take care of your small business environment, have a system where everything has a right place, and your workspace is clean and tidy.
Successful people do not function in the midst of a chaotic workspace. It zaps energy and can leave you feeling at a low ebb. That low ebb can knock confidence, make you feel less than.
When your workspace is clean and tidy, you’re more likely to feel happy and confident in your day to day small business life, so its’s a good think to stay on top of the clutter and keep your workspace tip top.
There you have it. 25 tips to build confidence as a small business owner. I hope you’ve found some of these useful. Remember self-confidence is something that can be built, no matter how low your confidence is right now. Please also remember – you’re a worthwhile human being who deserves the very best out of life and business success.
When you’re ready to go deeper, to take your small business to greater success in the online space, to become unstoppable in your small business, maximise your results and limit daily stress, anxiety and struggle, start by choosing one of my free small business guides below (note: you should choose them all – they each have great value packed inside!).