I vaguely mentioned that I had the opportunity and honor of speaking on a panel of bloggers at a fun Style, Sip & Shop event last week at a cute boutique in Philly, Smak Parlour. If I’m being honest, when I was first asked to speak I was like “me? really?” I felt like I didn’t know enough to share, I wasn’t good enough to be taken seriously, or I hadn’t been doing it long enough to call myself an expert. But then I decided that that was a crap way to think about myself. I may still be trying to truly make enough money to help sustain my family, but the fact that I have the opportunity to make my blog my full time job in order to strive for that is an accomplishment in itself.
Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to have more confidence in myself. I think as young professionals, entrepreneurs, and just people chasing dreams, we get caught up in “making it.” Making it to a certain company or a certain promotion or a certain salary. And as a result, we forget that we have so much to be proud of right now. We’re on a journey, ya know? It’s obviously important to have goals and something to motivate us but if we don’t appreciate the steps that it takes to get there, it’s kind of a waste.
What I mean by that is that everything is a learning or growing opportunity and that’s never going to change. Once we come to terms with the fact that we’re always learning and growing we can actually come to appreciate moments, struggles, and opportunities as we experience them rather than 5 years later when we’re saying “I wish I would have known what an opportunity that was at the time or how proud I should have been of myself.”
The reason it’s so important to have confidence as a young professional or entrepreneur is because it allows us to appreciate the journey rather than only ever being focused the end game. The problem with focusing too much on the end game is that all we ever see are things that need to be improved, changed, or fixed in order to get us there. While, instead, we should really focus on the strength and knowledge that we’re finding right now. It’s important to focus on these things because that’s how you can truly put them to practice. It’s kind of like “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” because being confident will help us be more present and being present will help us be more confident.
I’m going to make an assumption that I’m not the only person who struggles with those “I’m not good enough” thoughts; that I’m not the only young professional, entrepreneur, or just person that struggles with having confidence in where they’re at right now. So, I thought I would share with you some of the things that I’m doing to boost my confidence as an entrepreneur in hopes that they might help you too.
8 Tips to Boost Your Confidence as a Young Professional or Entrepreneur
1. Invest in Business Cards
Start small by investing in business cards. Business cards will just make you feel more professional. There’s just something about them that makes you feel like you really have your stuff together. Think about it. You don’t see people carrying around “hobby cards.” Like, I’m fabulous at binging on Netflix, but I don’t have a card for that. I do, however, have a card for my blog.
The great thing about business cards making you feel more professional is that it’s such a tactical way to boost your confidence because, if you feel more professional, you’ll feel more confident. Plus, having a business card means you’re ready to put yourself out there… because that’s literally what a business card is meant for.
I got my business cards online thanks to Basic Invite. I loved getting my business cards through them because everything was customizable and they made the process so easy. You have the option to add in your logo which is fantastic because you should show that logo of yours off! 🙂 Basic Invite is also one of the few websites that has almost unlimited color options so I was able to choose a color to match the color scheme on my website. It’s even better because you can instantly preview what the color will look like, too. If you’re not into color but feel like a black and white business card looks kind of… dull, they also have clear business cards which like, how cool is that? Talk about business cards fit for millennials. 😛
Here’s an example of their clear business cards.
2. Take Your New Business Cards and Network
Network. Just do it. I used to be terrified of going to any type of networking event no matter how laid back it was because I was afraid people wouldn’t take me seriously. But guess what? People aren’t as scary as you think they are and there’s a good chance they might feel the exact same way you do! Just remember, it’s called networking because you’re all there for the same thing. 🙂 No one person deserves to be there more than another. But if you’re really nervous or anxious about it (I get it, I’m a total introvert), ask if you can bring a plus one along!
3. Like What You’re Wearing
This one is pretty simple, honestly. If you’re confident in how you’re presenting yourself visually (the way you’re dressed), it’s going to help you be confident in every other part of your presentation.
4. Ask for Help
I know, you’re like I thought we were talking about confidence and now we’re admitting defeat? No, not at all. Asking for help builds your confidence for a lot of reasons. One, you learn to swallow your pride. Pride is a huge road block when it comes to confidence (pride and confidence are not the same thing). Two, you learn something new when you ask for help and, the more knowledge you hold, the more confident you should be. Three, often times when you ask for help, you’ll learn that the person helping you had to learn from someone too. Or maybe they’ll ask you to teach them something in return. In other words, we all need help because we’re all beginners at some point.
5. Fake it till Ya Make it
This can work in both a tactical manner and in a more discreet psychological manner. People say you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Fake it till ya make it. Tell yourself how intelligent and ambitious you are, even if you don’t believe it. Fake it till ya make it. Because eventually you will believe that you’re intelligent and ambitious and that is what we call confidence. See where I’m going with this? 🙂
6. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Stop the comparison game. It’s detrimental. Comparing yourself to others is the easiest way to destroy your self confidence. Believe me, I’ve been there and I’m still working on it. I get it, sometimes it feels like a catch 22 because you’re out here networking and trying to learn so much from all of these successful people and all you can think about is how much they’ve “accomplished” and how much you still want to accomplish. But that’s just silly because they may have 10 years experience on you and that’s beyond your control. They may know someone you don’t know. That’s also beyond your control. They may have had struggles to get to where they are now that are beyond your wildest imagination. They may even think you’re this huge confident, successful person while you’re sitting there doubting yourself. Confidence comes from within you, not from others.
One of my absolute favorite quotes to help me with this mindset is “I’m too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.” We always seem to think the grass is greener on the other side but we have to remember that we have the power to grow our own grass.
7. Just Go for it
You’ve got your business cards, you like your outfit, so just go for it already. When I was preparing to launch my blog I eventually had to pick a date and commit to just going for it or else I could have prepped and planned for forever. There’s obviously value in preparing and planning so long as you actually take those plans and do something with them. I still have to force myself to take leaps. It’s scary. But once you actually do whatever it is you need to do, it feels so good. You feel confident just having made the first and most important move. Besides, it’s never as scary as you think it’s going to be. 🙂
8. Say Thank You
Say thank you when someone helps you along the way. This goes hand in hand with asking for help because saying thank you helps you remain humble. It’s important to maintain humility in order to practice self confidence because it keeps you open to what we first talked about, which is learning and growing. And, full circle here, if you’re open to the fact that you’ll always be learning and growing, you can appreciate whatever step of the journey you’re on and see how much you have to be proud of in that moment. Confidence.
Basic Invite also makes it super easy for you to say thank you because they have matching business stationery to go along with your business cards. I wanted to see how I felt about business stationery in lieu of a traditional thank you note so I ordered a single printed sample so I could see exactly how it would print as well as the paper quality before placing a final order – another great feature that Basic Invite offers. Also, can we talk about how cute those little stickers are with my logo on them?! It makes me want to find a reason to mail stuff out just so I can use them. 🙂
So these are 8 things that I try to put in to practice to help boost my confidence as an entrepreneur. Some days are harder than others, but if you really put your mind to building this type of mindset, it makes a world of difference. You know the other cool thing about confidence? I can clearly see that when I’m more confident in what I’m doing, it preforms better. And then I’m more confident because it preformed better and it just becomes a happy cycle of building confidence… as long as you work at it. 🙂
Thank you so much to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post. I’m not sure if you guys recall, but I’ve actually shared holiday thank you cards by Basic Invite as well. Clearly a fan of their product. 🙂 Speaking of holidays, though, can you believe it’s almost time to start thinking about the holidays?! I mean, it’s almost October and October means all the fall things and then suddenly it’s Thanksgiving and just where does it all stop?! It’s September and I’m seriously over here like “it’s time to start thinking about ordering Christmas cards online!” And the worst part is, it’s actually not that unreasonable, haha. TIME SLOW DOWN.