Trusting yourself in business feels like it should be easy.
After all, you’ve started your business because you wanted to do something different outside the norm.
You knew there was something else you were supposed to do with your life.
Or, maybe you started your business because you needed to.
Maybe you were let go from a job, could not find a job that justified the cost of daycare/commute, etc., or knew that if you didn’t start something for yourself, your mental health and quality of life would continue to decline.
My reasons for starting my business were sort of a combination of all of the above.
I had been working full-time in retail management most of my adult life, and after losing my husband in a car accident at 32, with a six-year-old and a two-year-old at home, I knew something needed to change.
Prior to that job, I had tried a handful of entrepreneurial things, but it wasn’t until I discovered what people were starting to do online (first discovered this space in 2006) that I knew “this was it!”
I had no idea what that looked like, but something lit up in me and grabbed hold of me.
I lost my husband in 2003 and started my business in 2008.
The five years in between were some of the hardest years of my life. It’s too long to go into here (we’ll save that for another podcast episode), but if I could go back and tell myself anything during that time, it would be to be gentle with myself.
On top of grieving, I was in massive judgment of myself all the damn time.
My therapist used to say I would “get myself coming and going.” No matter what I did, it wasn’t enough.
Learning to listen to our own intuition and trusting ourselves are incredible gifts you give to yourself if you’re willing to do the work.
Intuition in Action
Until probably 12 years ago, I don’t think I ever would have considered myself “intuitive.” In fact, I was probably a little judgmental about that word and associated it with people who were a little “out there.”
Regardless of how you define intuition or your perception of it, we’re all intuitive.
We just haven’t learned to tap into our intuition or trust ourselves with it.
A simpler, maybe more acceptable way to talk about intuition is learning to trust your gut.
I’m going to try to mesh the tangible with the intangible here, if you will – because in order to grow and scale a successful business, you need both.
And I’m on a mission to bring more of this language and discussion into the marketing space.
Here’s a great example from the first year I was in business.
There was an internet marketing who I had discovered prior to starting my business. I had been listening to a CD set by Mark Victor Hansen (co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books) about becoming a speaker.
This internet marketer was talking about how he was making money with the internet with niche sites, affiliate marketing, and teaching.
I didn’t understand half of what he was saying, but I was fascinated.
So when I finally made the leap into starting my business in 2008, I sought out this marketer and signed up for his coaching (which was 5k and the most I had ever spent on something like that).
Part of his coaching was coming to his house for a private retreat with a few other coaching clients.
By the time I went to this retreat, I had been in business for over a year and was building my first brand, The WordPress Chick.
This coach had been building websites with ‘Frontpage’ and was what he recommended.
Nothing in me wanted to learn Frontpage or HTML, and despite him telling me WordPress wasn’t anything I should pursue, I trusted my gut.
I absolutely knew WordPress was worth it, would only continue to grow, and was where I was planting my flag.
Something in me (my intuition) told me that regardless of his financial success, this piece of advice wasn’t worth listening to.
He was also of the mindset that you should pick a niche where there was interest and build a business around that.
I also knew there was no way I could build a business that wasn’t based on something I loved and was passionate about.
This is probably one of the biggest differentiators I see between men and women in business.
I’ve seen many men thrive simply from the game of business.
Most women I know build a business around something they enjoy and grow into loving the game of business because of what it affords them in their life: time, freedom, quality of life, and income.
I know these are both generalizations.
Plenty of men pick a passion and build from there, and plenty of women enjoy the game of business, regardless of the niche.
I also think this shifts as we age.
I found a quote the other day by Drew Barrymore and shared it with my sister because she has a friend who is 48 and is really struggling with aging as she gets closer to 50.
Here’s the quote:
“Gravity and wrinkles are fine with me. They’re a small price to pay for the new wisdom inside my head and my heart.”
The other piece that is vitally important when it comes to using your intuition in business is that it’s going to require courage and faith.
Courage to do things that are uncomfortable and faith in yourself that you know what’s best for you.
Here are some specific examples of courage in business (that might seem like they’re “only tasks”):
- Creating content
- Writing emails
- Learning to Copywrite
- Using marketing language (God forbid we ‘sell’)
- Recording yourself: audio or video, and publishing it for other people
- Raising your prices
- Saying no
- Asking for the sale
- NOT jumping on or into something that doesn’t feel right for you (i.e., Clubhouse or Threads, anyone?)
- Not judging people for doing what works for them (i.e., not making other people wrong to make yourself right)
- Investing in yourself: coaching, courses, programs, books, etc.
- Ignoring the haters (there will always be haters)
At first glance, this list looks like a list of ‘to-do’s’ that are required for creating and growing an online business.
But it’s not that simple.
We all bring our own stories, experiences, and beliefs to everything we do.
If you’re one of the 40% of people that has a fear of public speaking, but you’d really like to try your hand at podcasting and video, it’s going to take courage to show up and do it.
Or think back to when you were in school.
Did you have a teacher or someone you trusted tell you that you couldn’t write well, and for whatever reason, that has stayed with you ever since?
It’s going to take courage to start writing online and hitting publish.
I truly believe there isn’t anything we can’t learn, especially if it’s something we deeply and truly want. It might take you longer than others if it’s not a natural inclination, but if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to learn it.
The trick is having the patience to allow yourself to go at your own pace and not borrow trouble that it’s not happening fast enough.
Trusting Yourself in Business
The single best thing you can do for yourself in your business is to tune out the noise.
Which can be incredibly hard at times.
Here’s what I mean.
Right after you’ve committed to doing something a certain way or only using the platforms that resonate with you, something pops up that flips on the FOMO switch, and you doubt yourself and start thinking, “Well, maybe I could try it again, or I should stick with what was working.”
I had (well, I guess I still have it) a Facebook Group of over 11k people (Content Creators – it’s been archived).
It took a long time for me to pull the trigger and archive the group (because FB is ridiculous and you can’t just delete a group. You have to delete people ONE at a time) because I kept thinking that 11k people was a lot of people and I should “do something” with it.
Nothing in me wants to run or manage a free Facebook Group.
Owning that felt really good, and even after a couple of people offered to help with the group, I knew it was time to put it to bed.
A bigger example of tuning out the noise would be the recent launch of Alex Hormozi’s book launch for his latest book, 100M Leads.
This happened a few days ago (August 19, 2023), so if you’re listening much further in the future, this might be old news.
Here’s the gist of what this is and why I’m using it as an example to tune out the noise.
If you’re unfamiliar with Alex Hormozi, he’s built a 100M a year company (I may be off on the exact figure here) called Acquisition.com.
He helps people who are earning over 1M a year scale their businesses.
He started his own business selling a system called Gym Launch (after owning gyms) and kept scaling from there.
His first book, 100M Offers, came out in 2021. He started showing up everywhere by producing massive amounts of content and sharing it everywhere (people now do ‘Hormozi’ style videos).
I loved the first book and was looking forward to this book coming out (we all need more leads, right?).
It was one of the biggest webinars (think over 200k people registered), he did a typical webinar ‘stack’ (part of Russell Brunson’s teachings for his ‘Perfect Webinar’), and the ‘value’ of everything he offered was over 12k.
He gave it all away for free.
Here’s where the noise seems to be getting louder and louder…
First, I did attend the webinar and found it valuable. I also bought one book.
The ONLY thing he had for sale was his book, but if you bought three or more copies, you could also get a baseball hat with his company name (not available for sale anywhere).
I don’t wear baseball hats and, quite frankly, wouldn’t spend money to purchase swag with company names on it (tennis shoes or the occasional nice purse are the only things I spend money on where I’m ‘advertising’ for a company. And remember, no judgments here. Just not my jam).
During the 90-minute webinar, I had the chat closed. I rarely leave chat windows open during webinars or training because they’re too distracting for me, but apparently, there were all kinds of opinions flying throughout the webinar.
People loved him, and people were mad that he was doing a ‘webinar stack’… you name it.
Most of this I’ve learned from all the noisy marketers now giving their opinions about the entire event.
Nothing like a little free advertising for Alex, eh?
Plenty of opinions, sarcasm, and mocking of other people.
Seriously… who has the time and energy?
If you’re someone who isn’t firmly planted with what you want and how you’re going to achieve it and are committed to staying focused, this could do a number on you.
Let’s say you’re new to this space and were one of the thousands of people who were incredibly excited about what Alex was giving away.
Then you see someone you respect and admire criticizing the event, the methodology, and what was done. Maybe they even take it a step further and say that what Alex did is ruining the market for everyone who DOES charge for their courses.
Now you’re more confused than you were before you knew anything.
My two cents on Alex’s book launch: It was interesting to watch how he launched it and how he presented the webinar, and I thought it was a generous offer. I appreciate seeing an old model new again (give things away for free).
I’m looking forward to getting the book and focusing on my own lead generation.
End of story.
I hope people who invested their time and energy into the webinar and purchased the book implement what they’re learning.
That’s the only way any of this works.
I’m trusting myself to stay focused on the goals I’ve created and how I’m growing both of my companies.
I know what’s required of me to get there, and I’m staying the course; it’s that simple.
I will always be someone who consumes content that inspires me, educates me, and gives fuels me.
The difference is now I know enough that I can keep it all in perspective.
I don’t veer off my path unless I feel like “playing” with something, and even then, I make sure it’s also fueling me and not sending me down a rabbit hole that will take a while to climb out of.
The thing about intuition and trust in yourself, as it relates to your business, is that they’re just like muscles that get stronger over time with consistency.
Every time you say no to something that doesn’t align with your focus, you’re building that muscle.
Every time you practice your craft so you can deliver a better end product for your customer, you’re building that muscle.
Every time you get up and walk away from the computer because you can feel yourself getting distracted, you’re building that muscle.
Every time you stay off the platforms you don’t enjoy, regardless of how many people are telling you they’re working, you’re building that muscle.
Eventually, using your intuition and trusting yourself becomes the default.
And that’s priceless.