Self-employment is no career for shrinking violets. With more and more people choosing to work as freelancers, contractors or small business owners, getting noticed is getting more important.
For some people, fronting a business comes naturally. We’ve all seen them, speaking fluently in meetings and working the room effortlessly at networking events.
If that’s not you, don’t despair – here are our top 5 ways to build self-confidence.
Separate yourself from your business
Establishing a Limited Company separates you as an individual from your business. Many people find this really helps when promoting themselves. They say it’s because they feel more comfortable representing a separate party than blowing their own trumpet. If you work as a sole trader, consider trading under a name that sums up what you do or provide, rather than who you are.
Focus on your achievements – not your attributes
For the same reason, you’ll be on firmer ground when you focus on what your work has achieved for clients, rather than talking about yourself. ‘My process helped Bloggs PLC save £200,000’ packs far more of a punch than ‘I am a committed team player who enjoys helping clients save money’. Hard facts that you can substantiate will give you more confidence than assertions that don’t differentiate.
Set realistic goals
Achieving goals breeds confidence. Missing them has the opposite effect. By finding the balance between ambition and realism, you’ll soon find ways to set yourself achievable objectives. And you’ll be surprised how much more confidence and self-belief this will give you. Even better, it will shine through in your dealings with people in both your business and personal life.
Know your customers
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your customers – what they need, what their concerns are, how they like to work and what they expect, etc – the more you can shape your offering. This in turn will empower you to convince potential clients that you’re the person who can solve their problems.
There is, of course, a fine line between confidence and over-confidence. Over-confidence can spill over into cockiness and arrogance, which rarely win friends – or new business. Keep your feet on the ground and be prepared to laugh at yourself. Humility in successful people is a respected and admired quality.