4 steps to become more confident and more successful
But first, a quick video...
If you watched the video above, I bet you couldn’t help but smile. I mean, it’s hard not to when you see a little girl dancing in front of her mirror, singing everything she likes about her life with gusto.
We could learn a lot from this little girl. She’s not hiding who she is. She’s not afraid of anyone laughing at her. She’s owning it. And that alone is a powerful thing. Not just for your own self-esteem, but in helping you build confidence in the way you pitch and sell what you do to others.
After all, people want to be surrounded by positive people. People that inspire them, are real with them, and make them feel as though they matter. To be successful in business, you have to do the same thing, but on a slightly different scale. Talking to yourself in front of the mirror every morning to pump yourself up is a great start. But there are more things you can do to help give your business – and yourself – the confidence boost you need to succeed.
Step 1: Dress the Powerful Part
Okay, when I say “dress the part” I’m not just talking about your clothes, or your hairstyle. Although, that is very important. I’m talking about your website. Your website needs to convey confidence just like you do every time you walk into a room. So, start by looking at your competitors’ sites. What do you like about their websites and social media? What don’t you like? What engages you the most? Where do they lose you? Also, think about photography. Real, unique images, rather than stock photography can give your website a more authentic feel while setting the tone for your business.
My friends who are getting married, always ask where they should spend the most money when it comes to their wedding, and my answer is always the same - photography and a great planner. So, spend your money wisely by building your website correctly the first time, with an easy user flow, and stunning images. It will make a big difference online. And hire a great photographer to take unique images for you. In addition, for social media content, authenticity wins - ask your loyal customers to snap photos for you of them using your product - make them brand ambassadors. Real people loving your brand and what you stand for goes a long way in terms of making a great first impression on new clients and keeping the ones you have.
Step 2: Give ‘Em a Little Face Time
When you meet with clients, or even if you’re just talking with them on phone, there are a couple of things you can do to help convey a sense of confidence right away. Before the meeting, go over what you’re going to say in your head. Even better, practice it out loud. If it’s a presentation, consider putting together an agenda for the meeting that lets your clients know exactly what you’ll cover in the meeting. Most importantly, if you make an agenda, stick to it.
In addition, before you begin, make sure your phone and other devices are turned off or muted so you’re not unnecessarily distracted while speaking or listening to their needs, concerns or ideas. Another key tip: posture. Even if your meeting is over the phone, the way you sit when you’re talking to a client can alter the tone of your voice. Sitting up straight or standing during a business call can help convey a sense of confidence in a subtle way.
First and foremost, be yourself. Be real. And be honest. If you don’t have the answer, don’t fake it. Say something to the effect of, “You know, that’s a good point. I’ll have to get back to you on that.” By doing this you’re not dismissing their idea or question, and you’re not setting yourself up to be considered a know-it-all who doesn’t actually know-it-all. You’re being real and honest. And people appreciate that more than you know.
Step 3: Become Future Focused
Your business is always changing, and that’s a good thing. Change is good. But, it’s important to know that the changes you’re making are for the better. To do that, you need a plan. You need a series of small attainable goals you can actually reach, and you need to follow through. No one loses 40 pounds overnight. It’s 1 pound at a time. By having a plan that involves several baby steps, you’re giving your business a chance to be successful instead of intimidated. And mini-successes, when compiled together, equal big successes down the road.
Another way to be future-focused is to learn a new skill that can benefit your business. Maybe take a class on photography so you can take your own professional photography down the road? Maybe take a class on strategic planning or marketing? Find something that interests you and dive in. Keeping your skills sharp is a great way to keep your business on the pulse of what’s now and what’s next.
Step 4: Stress Less, Love What You Do More
Stress and worry can weigh you down. It can also weigh down your staff. If your team sees you stressing about new business or deadlines, it can change the whole vibe of your office. Not only that, it can suck the fun out of why you started your business to begin with. Sure, there are moments when feeling the crunch of a tight deadline will make you run to the espresso machine several times, but remember, it’s only a passing panic. Think back to the last time it was crunch time. Did the project get done? I bet it did. Maybe it wasn’t as perfect as you’d have liked, but it was completed. And you did the best you could. After all, doing your best is all you can ever hope to do.
Here’s a little story: I once had a creative director give me some very wise advice. I was stressing about writing a new, branding campaign for a very difficult client. I wanted to win. I wanted to show this client, and my team, that I could knock the socks off this project more than anything. My self-esteem and self-worth were tied to this idea I’d put in my head: if I didn’t win and gain their approval, I was a failure. My creative director at the time stopped me and told me to breathe. He said, “What are you worried about? You can’t control what the client likes and doesn’t like. You can’t control what your team thinks, either. The only thing you can control is what you think. So, what do you think, Rachel? Are you proud of the work you’ve created. Look at it. Really look at it. Are you proud?” I sat there stunned and speechless looking at the work my art director and I had spent weeks perfecting. I was proud of what we’d created. When I told him I was, he smiled and said, “That’s all that matters. And just so you know, I’m proud of the work you guys did, too.”
The concept we’d created didn’t get selected by the client, but I was proud of myself and my partner anyway. Even more so because my feelings of success were no longer tied to winning. It was tied to the joy of doing the work, working with a great partner, and knowing that in the end I was personally proud of what we’d accomplished together.
So, have fun. Dive in. Love what you do. And love who you get to do it with and success will follow, whether it’s personal success or success with a client. I guarantee it.