Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. For many new budding entrepreneurs, imposter syndrome comes with the territory. However, imposter syndrome is just one of the multiple mental hurdles you will have to overcome when you decide to start your own business.
To outline some of the obstacles one will have to overcome, Mike Ionita, Creative Director and Founder of Crux Game Design Studio, provides some practical advice on overcoming mental roadblocks.
All of the mental hurdles Mike discusses have to do with belief. He explains that changing how you perceive yourself, your abilities, and the likelihood to succeed will impact your business’s trajectory. He explains that a lot of the preconceived notions that people have about what a successful entrepreneur looks like are based on misconceptions: Successful entrepreneurs do not have insecurities or worries; successful entrepreneurs do not make mistakes; successful entrepreneurs are never uncertain.
However, successful entrepreneurs will, at some point, do all of those things. Below are the top six things that you will need to overcome before you can start building your business.
The first mental hurdle you will have to conquer is believing you will not succeed. Shifting your thinking to a ‘success’ mindset will help you stay open-minded and opportunistic. Mike Ionita likens this mindset to fighting a boxing match and believing you will lose before you even step into the ring. You have to imagine that things will work out for you; if you do this, you will see opportunity in even the smallest of gestures, situations, and circumstances.
Nothing in life worth having comes easily. The second mental hurdle is in believing that success will come quickly. Mike Ionita suggests setting your goals according to a timeline. When Mike started Crux Video Game Design, he gave himself three years to successfully grow his business. If, after three years, there was no movement or growth, he would accept failure. However, when entrepreneurs start their businesses three months in with little growth, they become discouraged.
They imagine that 100% of their efforts thus far have not been enough. However, on a three-year timeline, three months in, is only 2.5% of your projected efforts, making it an easier cross to bear. Mike Ionita encourages you to be patient, trust the process, and understand your business like building a pyramid. While the foundation will take the longest, it is essential not to judge all your success on height alone, it will take time to see growth.
‘I’m Not A Salesperson’
No matter what industry you are in, you are a salesperson. Let me repeat that: You are a salesperson. Mike Ionita explains that overcoming the mental hurdle of not believing in your ability to sell and close has to be overcome. The best sales pitch does not sound like a sales pitch. Not only does this approach place the focus on the client (asking them about themselves, what their needs are, and if they are not currently being met), but it takes all the pressure out of making the sale.
However, being a good ‘salesperson’ also requires honesty and integrity. Mike Ionita explains that if a product does not align with a client’s goals, it is essential to be honest. Being a successful ‘salesperson’ requires you to be trustworthy, so much so that clients will come back to you in the future, even if your services/product does not currently align.
Uncertainty lies around every corner when you embark on the journey of entrepreneurship. You never know when other competitors might emerge in the market, if your market research is accurate, or if the marketing campaign you just launched will be successful. It is okay, do not be paralyzed by every decision you have to make. Mike explains that sometimes, you will make the wrong decision, but in his experience, those are the times you learn the most about what your business is.
Mike Ionita suggests shifting your mindset, understanding that the sooner you can make those mistakes, the better. When you embrace the inevitability of failure, it takes the edge off. If you try to make the best decision you can with the information you have, that is all you can do. As the saying goes, ‘without risk, there is no reward’.
Mike Ionita explains that the first few years of building a business are tiring, hard work, and stressful. One of the biggest mental hurdles you will have to overcome is how much time you will spend working in the first few years of starting your business. You will need to make sacrifices in your life, including time spent with family and loved ones.
People do not often talk about how lonely entrepreneurship can be. When you start a business, it is usually going to be just you, working long hours, by yourself. Until you’re able to build your business to a place where you are able to hire people, this can be an isolating experience. Mike Ionita explains that building a business you believe in is the key to staying motivated even when it gets lonely.
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