21st Aug 2021
Read time: 4 minutes
"I had no idea that being my authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier" – Oprah Winfrey.
We know that we get in life what we have the courage to ask for. Starting a business, even a small business, requires real courage and bravery. To publicly declare that you believe in your offer, product or service so much, that you are prepared to put it out into the world takes grit and guts so let’s not pretend otherwise.
We hear a lot about all of the things we should do, the strategies, the plans, the budgets, the targets, the branding – all of which are critical to starting any new business. Yet we don’t get to hear as much about the mistakes that are made along the way. It is said that only three out of ten new online businesses survive but what they don’t explain in any detail is why this is. Why do some businesses fail and others succeed?
Well, I can only share my experience. Having successfully set up two different businesses, to date, I think I have a good idea of where the potential pitfalls were for me. Every mistake I’ve ever made in business has come about because I tried doing what I saw something else doing. I tried making what worked for them work for me. I attempted to make what fit them fit me. I looked at their success and tried to mimic it. I look back now and see that every time I did this, I failed, and miserably.
When we are starting out in business, we are naturally fearful, afraid we might fail and do it publicly and afraid we might succeed and what that might mean for our businesses and for us. Fear is present all around us, and yet we also need to understand that it needs to be. Fear propels us forward while also protecting us. If we weren’t afraid we would stick our hand into a roaring fire which, to be fair, is a lot like setting up your own business!
OUTSOURCE YOUR WEAK SPOTS
There are options available to help reduce your fear, whatever your area. If finance is your weak spot then look to outsourcing this, or if, like me, technology overwhelms you, then get support with this. This is money very well spent as it will save you the time and stress that otherwise would be directed into this area.
But the one thing that you should never outsource is yourself. It is vital that you keep yourself at the centre of the business, reminding and asking yourself always, who it is you you are, what you want, what feels right, what doesn’t feel right, what you stand for. You need to know how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice before you can’t see yourself in your business anymore.
If your business is online, and you use social media to promote and sell your business, then the chances are you follow many of your competitors and see them as role models. You convince yourself that if you work every hour god sends, do exactly what they are doing, that you’ll make a success of it. Let me tell you this – you won’t. You’ll break your back simply trying to replicate someone else’s business and someone else’s success and in that process, you will be turning your back on yourself and on your business.
COMPARISON IS NOT ALL BAD
What you want instead is your own mentor, someone who has travelled the road you’re now on. My definition of what makes a great mentor is “someone who will tell you where to look, but who won’t ever suggest what it is you should or shouldn’t be able to see”. That’s your job, that’s what will make you and your business will continue to reflect that.
Using other people to inspire you and motivate you is not always wrong. Comparing yourselves and your path to others can have benefits. Surround yourself with people who lift you higher, who show you what’s possible. Seeing what they do and deciding ‘I can do that’ or more importantly you deciding to do “your version” of that. It has to be, must always be, your version of that. But don’t be afraid to keep looking for inspiration from people who got it right. Learn from them and their mistakes also.
WHY YOU NEED TO DO YOU
When we consciously try to replicate someone else’s business content we are in fact saying no to our own. We are telling ourselves that what we have to say matters less, that it’s not good enough and that we aren’t good enough. We are saying that for us to be good we need to be them. For us to succeed we need to be them. Can you see how messed up this is? Can you see that this will ultimately lead to you failing because you have crossed over the line of being inspired by someone, to doing all you can to be just like them?
You bring your own unique perspective and spirit to every situation and to every business. You bring your personal experience from your career up until now and you carry your life experiences with you too. Your hopes and your dreams for what you want for the future belong only to you. Even your fears and our weaknesses differ from everyone else’s.
Answer these questions.
What message do you want to put out there and attach to the energy of your business?
What language do you want to use that feels right to you and that is authentically yours?
Think about what makes you feel good because what you know feels right, is as individual as you are. What is your version of this?
Find your own voice, use your own voice. It will feel strange at the start and you will most likely be terrified by it, but stick with it.
SET YOUR INTENTIONS
If your intention is to be of service to others, do you think you are bringing the real you to your business if you are trying to duplicate someone else’s business model? Do you think you can truly be of service to others without being of service to yourself first of all?
Is constantly comparing your business, and yourself to someone else, being of service to you?
Do you want the pressure of having to keep showing up as someone else, using their language and their voice, or do you want to feel the ease and flow that comes with having and using your own version of your own business?
You need to decide which business is it you want and which version you are showing up as – your own or someone else’s. I know which one eventually made my business a success, and which one didn’t.
Stop trying to be someone else. People will buy you if they can see you. So let them see you.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Empowerment and Transformation Coach, Founder of Believe, a 3 month 1:1 Private Business Mentoring Programme for new and small business founders. She is host of The TOUGH LOVE ENERGY™ Podcast. Niamh is known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. For more see niamhennis.com or find her on Instagram @1niamhennis.