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Overcoming self doubt as an entrepreneur

Self-doubt has held many entrepreneurs back. Don’t surrender to it though. Keep fighting, keep going, and keep encouraging yourself at every step of the way.

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Self-doubt has held many entrepreneurs back. Don’t surrender to it though. Keep fighting, keep going, and keep encouraging yourself at every step of the way.

Photo credit: Andrea

It is not abnormal to have self-doubts as an entrepreneur. It is not abnormal to second guess your business ideas once in a while. In the dynamic, overly competitive business world, entrepreneurs often wonder if their business approach will pay off. It takes just a few setbacks for them, especially new entrants, to start doubting if their marketing strategies are really up to the needed standard, if they hired the right talents, or even whether their business plan is really worth the risk and effort. That changes when things start looking up again, their optimism is rekindled, and they get moving. But then there are those who suffer chronic self-doubting.

Chronic self-doubts often lead to wasted time, underutilized resources, and missed opportunities. It can make you stop making any meaningful decisions because you feel like you will err; like you are not good enough. It can make you stop taking any actions even when the future of your business is at stake. You keep going back and forth with simple decisions, dragging your business growth as a result. You lose track of your goals and, consequently, adversely affect employee commitment and productivity. You have to work towards overcoming self-doubts as an entrepreneur. These 5 tips can help:

1. Train for entrepreneurship development

Equip yourself with the basic concepts of entrepreneurship by enrolling into the Development Academy training center. You will gain invaluable knowledge on business planning, strengthen your business skills, and be better prepared to withstand the turbulence that comes with entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship development programs are designed for both seasoned and new business owners, and have unique training for young people and women. That is with the understanding that young entrepreneurs and women in business face more barriers of entry than middle-aged men. These programs include experiential learning for effective, sustainable knowledge and skills acquisition. Your chronic self-doubt will be gone by the end of the training.

2. Create a support system around you

The system can include anyone you feel has something positive to offer your entrepreneurial journey, no matter how small. You know, surround yourself with the right people and cut ties with people who add nothing to your dream. It is hard to overcome personal fears on your own, but then it is better to be alone than be surrounded by naysayers and pessimists. So, keep family and friends who encourage you close. Seek help and guidance from mentors and business coaches. Seek out the feedback of your trusted employees on a regular basis. Surround yourself with books and other sources of information.

With a strong support system, you will always have someone pushing you to outdo yourself even when you have little faith in your abilities.

3. Be objective

Everyone has moments of self-doubt. What keeps winners apart from quitters is objectivity. Quitters believe that something went wrong because they did everything wrong; because they weren’t good enough right from the outset. Winners are more objective in their analysis of every setback they encounter. They acknowledge that they may have overlooked important details, which could have led to failure, but there still is a chance to make things right. They don’t allow their doubts to cloud their judgment. They don’t entertain anything that gives them reasons to feel doubtful, so they are never overwhelmed by self-doubt. They sit back and strategize objectively without dwelling too much on what went wrong. When they are unsure of where to go or what to do, they let things play out as they look for the best solutions based on their existing knowledge and the guidance they get from mentors. That is the kind of entrepreneur you should strive to be.

4. Set short, realistic goals

Set short-term goals to avoid being overwhelmed by long-term, probably unrealistic goals. The last thing you want when in self-doubt is to hurt your confidence further by courting failure. Long-term goals are essential, but they are harder to attain compared to short-term goals. Besides, failing at a project you invested a week to execute isn’t as devastating as failing after years or months of consistent hard work. If you have a long-term project, break it down into multiple short-term goals, and remember to congratulate yourself at every successful step on the way.

5. Keep your competition mindset in check

Be competitive, but not too much. Many entrepreneurs suffering from self-doubt often lose sight of their goals when they feel like their competitors are galloping fast past them. They feel like they have failed even when their business is growing consistently because they feel like it isn’t growing as fast as it should. Uncensored competitiveness causes heightened depression, anxiety, and stress, which exacerbates the feeling of self-doubt. That is the unintended dark side of being competitive.


Self-doubt has held many entrepreneurs back. Don’t surrender to it though. Keep fighting, keep going, and keep encouraging yourself at every step of the way. Be kind to yourself even when you encounter setbacks.

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya

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