For an entrepreneur, confidence is everything. It helps you to be more persuasive in your dealings with clients and partners. It ensures you are regarded as authoritative and trustworthy by employees, in turn making you a more effective manager and leader. And it helps you to be a more effective negotiator.
But if you’ve never run a business before, you’re less likely to feel immediately comfortable — and confident — in the role. You may not be sure about your decisions or feel nervous about asserting your opinion since you don’t have decades of experience to back it up.
Fortunately, for new entrepreneurs, a combination of confidence-building exercises and ongoing experience can help you learn how to build the confidence you need.
7 confidence building exercises
Try using these confidence builders to feel more comfortable in your role, and be sure of yourself in your work, meetings, and other opportunities:
- Project confidence: Fake it ‘til you make it.
- Celebrate your wins.
- Seek ongoing education.
- Create (and master) your elevator pitch.
- Find a supportive mentor.
- Make time for fun.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
1. Project confidence: Fake it ‘til you make it
When you’re happy, you tend to smile; but when you’re feeling neutral or unhappy and you smile, the very act of smiling can actually make you feel happier. A similar effect can happen with confidence. If you don’t feel sure of yourself, try to project confidence in any way you can:
- Speak with authority
- Maintain strong body language
- Convince yourself that you’re confident
It’s a way to “fake it until you make it.” In time, you can basically trick yourself into believing in yourself.
2. Celebrate your wins
You failed to meet a deadline, you lost a client, or your financial models aren’t coming to fruition. If you want to feel more confident, you have to be willing to admit these mistakes, and learn to let them go.
If you find yourself ruminating on your past failures or mistakes, try to shift the narrative. Spend more time thinking about the things you’ve done well in the past to break out of the negative thought pattern.
And if you really want to feel better about your capabilities, a good confidence-building exercise is taking the time to celebrate your wins. This is doubly effective if you’re celebrating wins with your team.
3. Seek ongoing education
No matter how much knowledge and experience you acquire, you can always stand to have more. Commit to ongoing education in multiple different fields if you want to feel more confident in your work.
Attend seminars and workshops to be a better business leader and/or entrepreneur, and attend classes to sharpen the skills relevant to your specific industry.
In the short term, you’ll feel good about yourself for spending the extra effort and learning something new. Every time you finish a class or improve a skill, you’ll get to pat yourself on the back.
In the long term, you’ll gradually become better at your job, making you more confident in every task you complete.
4. Create (and master) your elevator pitch
Every entrepreneur needs to have an elevator pitch. Writing and perfecting yours can give you more confidence in a variety of situations.
Essentially, this is a concise pitch that describes your business model to someone who’s never heard of it before.
It’s going to take time to identify and polish the most important pieces of information to deliver in this pitch, and you’ll need to practice it multiple times to get the delivery right.
But when you do, you’ll feel more confident giving the pitch to new investors and new prospects.
5. Find a supportive mentor
Mentors can boost your confidence by helping you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your idea. Simply having someone you can turn to in times of crisis, or when you’re confused, can make your problems seem smaller and make you feel more capable in your own business. Over time, you’ll get a keener sense for business by working with a mentor, and you’ll start to develop your own perspective and voice.
6. Make time for fun
If you want to feel more confident and boost your productivity at the same time, you have to make time for fun things in life. Spending time with the people you love, participating in a creative or competitive hobby, and just relaxing can all make you feel better about yourself.
7. Get out of your comfort zone
New and experienced entrepreneurs alike often find themselves trapped in the same routine, doing the same tasks every day, talking to the same people, and visiting the same networking spots.
This may be comforting in the short term, but in the long term, it can make you feel trapped or unstimulated — even if you don’t realise it. Fortunately, breaking out of your comfort zone is easy if you do it gradually.
Try working somewhere new, talking to new people, or experimenting with strategies you might not otherwise consider. The more novelty you have in your life, the more confident and in control you’re going to feel.
Conclusion: How to build confidence
Confidence is an important quality and a powerful tool for any entrepreneur, but when you’re just starting out, it can be hard to exude.
With enough confidence builders and enough time, even the most hesitant or uncertain entrepreneurs can learn to be more confident in themselves, and apply that confidence to the work that matters most.