When it comes to being confident as an entrepreneur, and being confident about the likelihood of your startup’s success, it makes a huge difference on how you got there.
The first way to get confidence is what I call the “hopes and dreams” confidence. You have relentless passion for what you are doing, and tons of hope and faith that you are going to make it big. You feel ready to take on whatever that comes up next. Good luck with this one.
The second kind, the one I prefer is the “I know what I know, I know what I don’t know, and I have a design for taking the things I don’t know and understanding them. Therefore, I am confident I will make it big.” This is where you want to be if you want to truly have a high probability of success and feel confident about it.
Its so easy to go around and say “I GOT THIS” and exude confidence — what I didn’t realize before is, it is actually EVEN EASIER to just say what you don’t know. Surprisingly enough, not only is doing the latter easier, it also increases the likelihood of my success.
Which category do you fall into? How did you get the confidence that your venture will succeed? Did you figure it out yourself?
To get your confidence the right way, just sit down, and write out what you don’t know and how you plan on attacking the things you don’t know. Believe me, at the end, you’ll feel way more grounded, confident and it’ll actually help the next time you’re on the bottom cycle of the entrepreneurial roller coaster.
For example, here is how I thought through it:
What do I know?
- I want to build technology that help people communicate using Braintrust.
- Building something awesome isn’t enough, I need to craft a compelling message that matches with people’s world view and figure out an effective and cheap way to distribute that message.
What don’t I know?
- I don’t know how to do PR and get featured in prominent business articles that are read by my target audience
- I don’t know how to run an effective social media campaign
- I don’t know how much money I should be spending on marketing
- I don’t know how to make Braintrust’s website show up first when someone googles “braintrust” or “group collaboration”
- I don’t know if my free plan should have ADs or whether it will turn businesses off.
- I don’t know whether I should start an affiliate program (The list goes on)
What I didn’t know but now know
- I didn’t know how to think about defining my price points. So I did some research, thought through it, looked at what others were doing and then established my principles behind a freemium pricing model. You can check out the pricing model for Braintrust to see the end product.
- I didn’t know how to build an effective landing page for my product. So I bought a copy writing book, read a lot of articles online, read some marketing books and then established 9 principles behind an effective landing page. Now, I’m pretty proud of the landing pages for Braintrust and Tout.
- I didn’t know how to think about an effective social media strategy. I’m still researching this and am getting close to establishing some principles around it.
You see, it is SO liberating to think through things this way. Sure, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m confident I will get to the right answers because I know what I don’t know, and I’ve got a solid principled process.
I’d encourage all startup entrepreneurs to blog about what you don’t know — chances are, we might find we have a lot in common…