In Ireland, there is a strong, on-going government initiative to encourage entrepreneurship. In conjunction with the global recession of the past eight years or so, Ireland also experienced its own devastating banking crisis.
During, and since this awful time, realization dawned that entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. Their strength, in the face of uncertainty, kept the local economy ticking over. Their confidence and ability to adapt and keep staff employed is highly applauded—and rightly so.
However, it is worryingly noted that female involvement is lacking behind that of males. This is not hearsay. It’s a measured fact; one which has our government re-doubling their efforts to get women involved in beginning their own businesses.
Though the figures are improving, there are a myriad of possible reasons for this reality. Confidence is one topic often looked at as part of this discussion, and its implications for female entrepreneurial behavior.
The Correlation between Confidence and Entrepreneurship
In my experience from listening to women, I often hear the word ‘confidence’ discussed. It’s nothing new, admittedly, but it is a topic worth exploring as it is hugely rooted in entrepreneurship.
Among my friends as a whole, some are established businesswomen, others have exciting new ventures, and some recently returned to the workforce. But that loaded word ‘confidence’ often rears its head, often in a negative context—springing surprisingly at times from the least expected mouths.
Let’s consider the following questions about confidence:
- How does confidence impact on entrepreneurship – negatively or positively?
- How is confidence constructed?
- What can be done to boost confidence?
It’s a simple fact that you will find the initial journey into entrepreneurship a lonelier and more fraught journey if you have low self-confidence. I have traveled the path myself and while I acknowledge that most of us starting out had worries and pangs of doubt, self-confidence or self-belief carried us through.
Positive confidence is what helps you make that call, stand in front of a crowd, or showcase your new idea, even with sweaty palms! Negative confidence holds you back, it’s that little niggle, that voice of doubt which gives you feet of clay.
Research has shown that self-confidence is linked to how competent we feel. Professor of Business Psychology at the University College London, Dr.Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, believes that the two are intrinsically linked. He is of the valid opinion that a strong sense of confidence is nothing without an equally strong sense of competence.
While I don’t entirely believe this is the only component of confidence, I certainly support this opinion, purely from personal experience. This makes great sense in terms of entrepreneurship, and particularly with regard to females contemplating this direction, as we tend to be more introspective and self-critical than our male counterparts. Women simply cannot ‘fake it ‘til they make it’ quite as easily as the phrase would suggest. To feel confident, women need to feel competent—that I can buy into—I am 100% behind authenticity.
How to Boost Your Self-Confidence
As a female entrepreneur, this is my list of how I boosted my self-confidence:
- Commit to being authentic and being the best person you can be in all your dealings with others. I am not perfect, and I acknowledge that!
- Always ask questions if you don’t understand. No matter who you are with, don’t fake understanding terminology or detailed information—the truth always come out.
- Read as much as you can, every day and in mixed genres. Curiosity keeps you fresh and aware
- Become a life-long learner of your craft and the areas around it. Find your niche
- Regularly move out of your comfort zone and try new things. For me, this was recently climbing a ladder—albeit an actual steel one!
- Mix and meet with your potential clients at network events or social events. Put your opinions out there and engage with feedback—embrace social media.
- Every so often, audit your skills and your knowledge. Consider a refresher or continuous professional development course.
- Try to make time for worries but not overindulge them as they have a habit of growing like weeds. But don’t avoid sorting problems.
Confidence and competence, there is a nice ring to it. Every strategy to build this vital entrepreneurial characteristic is worth considering. These two sit well together—why not assess your unique qualities today?