The path of an entrepreneur is a lonely one. Your business is your baby, and despite everyone else’s good intentions, no one will feel each high or each low as intensely as you will.
In my years running FoodtoEat, I have found only one effective way to make sure I come in every day with renewed vigor and purpose, regardless of the emotional rollercoaster of the day before: self-belief. I’m in uncharted territory every single day, making new decisions that affect all aspects of my business. And while not every decision is a make-or-break one, I need to approach every choice with the same high level of confidence in my own ability in order to keep moving forward.
This is a tough feat, but I bolster my self-belief by remembering my mission and – most importantly – turning my perceived weaknesses into strengths. It’s a simple but effective way of transforming every reactive notion of doubt into a proactive position of confidence. Here’s an example. My business is a corporate catering marketplace connecting local food vendors with local companies. When I pitched this concept to potential investors in the early days, I was met with a lot of skepticism. Investors asked why I was trying to compete against industry behemoth Seamless/GrubHub and cautioned that this competitor was so big I had no shot at being successful. This instilled a lot of doubt at first – after all, these investors make a living off of deciding who wins and loses in the business world.
I’ve learned that anything that saps your confidence can be reversed to become instead a source of strength.
But there was a compelling (and confidence-boosting) flip side to the story that coincided with my core mission. I knew I could be successful precisely because my competition was so big. I knew that in its quest to be as large as possible in the shortest amount of time, Seamless/Grubhub was letting customer service and emphasis on local communities fall through the cracks. I realized I could use its size and market dominance to my advantage by focusing on aspects of the business that it deemed less important than the mission of growth at all costs, thereby carving out my own niche.
By building on this simple principle – and turning my perceived weakness into my main strength – I’ve been able to build a fast-growing business in what many considered to be an already crowded market merely because it had one dominant player. This simple shift in my own perception was crucial when I was first starting my business and I still use it to find my path forward. It’s a way for me to always operate on the front foot, turn my weaknesses into strengths and ultimately keep up my confidence in what can sometimes be a lonely struggle.
As entrepreneurs, it’s inevitable that we will at times second guess ourselves, maybe even question why we put so much at risk in the first place. But I’ve learned that anything that saps your confidence can be reversed to become instead a source of strength. By understanding and acting upon our new perspectives, we can fight back against creeping doubts and insecurities. After all, our businesses are our babies. And when it comes to nurturing our babies, it’s up to us to be the best possible parents.