When it comes to starting up your business, are you your own worst enemy?
From time to time, it's perfectly normal to feel wistful about that home-based small business that is taking so long to manifest. Sure, you've been diligently ticking off the tasks you need to do to make your startup happen. Yet the journey that was once so fun and exciting has begun to get bogged down. Tasks are taking longer to complete, and you're beginning to doubt yourself.
If this sounds like you, then consider this: Most women entrepreneurs sabotage their small business startups without ever realizing it.
You owe it to yourself to make sure you aren't doing some of the common things that hinder many women entrepreneurs’ chances of startup success. Here are four signs you may be sabotaging your startup.
1. Adopting a futile mind-set
Plenty of women business owners go through all the right startup motions while thinking deep down, “This is hopeless. I’m never going to get this business off the ground.”
A futile outlook is hard to hide. You may be doing all the right things to get your business up and going. However, what you're really thinking about inside will come through to sabotage your efforts. A pessimistic mindset will not only influence how much you’re willing to invest in starting up your business, but it will also affect the quality of the business you start.
If this sounds like you, it's easy to turn your negative mindset into a positive one. First, take the pressure off yourself to get your new business going by any specific date. Also, break down your to-do list into small, bite-size segments that leave you feeling energized and successful.
2. Turning to comfort food (or drink) to manage your disappointment
Misuse or abuse of substances—whether food, alcohol, or drugs—is a form of giving up.
Many women entrepreneurs put on weight while starting up their businesses. Shoot, I gained 15 pounds. Why? Because I was nervous, anxious and afraid that I might give up. And giving up meant that I might never again get the courage to start a business I’d always dreamed of having.
If you find yourself turning to food to stave off the wolves of doubt and fear, it's time to get up and open up. Find a friend you trust who will walk with you in the evening and open up to her about what’s bothering you. Sharing your startup concerns while sharing the miles will invigorate you physically and motivate you professionally.
3. Spending time with friends who are disillusioned with entrepreneurship
If you’re feeling discouraged and not spending enough time on your startup, you probably have more time to hang out with friends. There’s nothing wrong with that—unless, of course, your friends are cynical about entrepreneurship themselves.
You know the type. They spout statistics about the number of women-owned businesses that fold within the first five years and blame the economy for all business woes. Beware: It will be all too easy to adopt their negative attitudes.
Now is the time to surround yourself with successful men and women. Let go of those who bring you down, and embrace all that brings out the best in you. Keep the company of great people, attend great events and read great books. Remember: Where there is greatness, there is success.
4. Isolating yourself
You may find yourself saying “no thanks” to social events and activities with family and friends. You may be saturating yourself by working 16 hours a day, pushing to get your business up and going. Either way, whether you know it or not, you're isolating yourself.
While it's good to have concentrated blocks of time to work on your business, "Isolation is a dream killer," says lifestyle coach Barbara Sher. Isolation erodes confidence, reduces your ability to make sound decisions, and keeps you from the nurturance of family and friends who are most supportive of your business endeavor.
Give yourself the gift of time when starting up your business. Time to bounce your business ideas around with other like-minded folks. Time in the presence of other positive-minded businesswomen to bathe in the light of their success and discuss strategic pathways for your own. Time to just connect with others to talk little about business and much about life.
Can you see yourself thriving and being happy as a small business owner? If so, you owe it to yourself to make sure your actions support your vision.
Read more startup tips.