This year, Jasmine Douglas, a 24-year-old mixed British American woman with Nigerian heritage launched her very own business Babes on Waves, an inclusive business club for women, which champions underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Just a few years earlier Jasmine struggled with low confidence, which was made worse by never-ending rejection letters and non-responses from job applications. She began experimenting with entrepreneurship to create her own opportunities and she has been going from strength to strength ever since. Now, through Babes on Waves, she helps others to do the same and aims to empower a new generation of women to launch, grow and manage their businesses.
Alongside inspiring workshops and networking events, Babes on Waves is committed to tackling one of the major known barriers women face in business, a lack of confidence. Group coaching sessions help give members the tools they need to build positive mindsets, break down mental barriers and instil the confidence they need, gearing them for success.
Jasmine believes it is possible for anyone to create their own business and she has shared her 7 top tips on how to find the confidence to do so.
1. Join a community, any community, of people who you can relate to
It’s crucial when you are starting out to surround yourself with people you can see yourself in. This will show you that if they can do it, you can do it too! Think carefully about what sort of network will work best for you, for example, joining a business community made up mostly of middle-aged white men if you’re a Gen Z woman of colour might only reinforce your feeling of imposter syndrome. It’s really important to meet diverse people for growth and joining a network of supportive people similar to you will give you the confidence boost you need to go out and do something as scary as starting a business.
2. Accept that you will probably never feel “confident enough”
If you wait until you feel ready, you’ll never get started so accept that it’s a daunting prospect, which you might never feel fully ready for and get going. What’s more, as your business progresses, the more you learn the more you will realise you don’t know. Instead of seeing this as something scary, see the challenge as something freeing, which means you can start whenever you want to.
3. Keep track of your wins, no matter how big or small
No matter how big or small, make a note of all your accomplishments and at the end of every week or month review them and do something to celebrate your successes. Take time to feel proud of everything you’ve done and when you’re having moments of self-doubt you can refer back to your list and remind yourself of how amazing you are.
4. Dedicate a little time to educating yourself either every day or every week
Being a business owner means you have to wear all the hats, and so there is always something new to learn. Set aside some time, daily or weekly, to invest in yourself and grow your knowledge. The good news is, you don’t need to splurge on a business coach, you will find loads of free resources online – YouTube can be a great place to start. Learning a little bit at a time will make educating yourself feel more manageable and the new knowledge will grow your confidence incrementally.
5. Action breeds confidence
Most people think you wait for motivation and confidence and then you are ready to take the next step, but it’s actually the other way round! The more you do, the more confidence you will feel, so take action first. As you work on your business and see how much you accomplish, you will feel more motivated and more confident and this positive productive cycle will continue.
6. Focus on incremental improvements
Remember that you can’t do everything all in one go and no one expects this of you either. Instead of trying to go from 10% confidence to 100% confidence, take baby steps. Every day ask yourself “What one thing can I do to feel 1% more confident today?”
7. Find a mentor
Never underestimate the positive power a mentor can bring to your project. Having someone who has been there, faced all the same worries and overcome them will help you with all the challenges you will face. You’d be surprised how many people are keen to take on mentees. Find a mentor by connecting with people on LinkedIn, attending webinars and messaging the facilitators or through a mentor matching programme.