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How to find your voice as a small business owner

When you start to build your business it can be so difficult to find your voice, even when you know what you want to offer.  There is so much noise on the internet these days. It’s very easy to get lost, follow ”trends” start comparing yourself to others.

Whenever you are about to show up as an expert and provide value an annoying voice in your head will say some things like it was said 1000 times before, the industry is oversaturated, I have nothing to say, why people would listen to me, I’m not a world expert yet, I cannot do as well as that business owner, I don’t feel like showing up. After these thoughts appear in your head you have several choices: listen and accept them as truth that will later define your reality or notice them, don’t resist. But at the same time continue doing the work that will eventually bring you the results. Remember that only your actions will be able to bring you the results. If there is no action, there is no result.

It’s very natural to experience these thoughts especially when you do creative work when you do something completely different from what other people are doing when there is no path that you can follow.

It’s hard!  It’s hard to wake up every day and do the work when nobody is standing behind your back when there is no roadmap to follow, and it’s up to you to figure everything out.

There is so much noise these days about how you need to be positive all the time.  The worst thing that you can do is to ignore your feelings, avoid feeling sad, force yourself to be positive, and repeat positive affirmations you don’t believe in. But we all know that it’s not possible. We all have bad days, we can feel down and it’s completely okay! What if you can just allow yourself to feel whatever comes out, notice it, see how it feels in your body and doesn’t resist?

Of course, you need to believe in yourself, be gentle with yourself, don’t push too hard. But at the same time, you need to accept the fact that there will be many hard days, the days you don’t feel like doing anything, the days when you don’t feel motivated. It’s natural, there is no need to guilt yourself and blame others.

Doing creative work, or building a business is hard. And most likely a lot of fears and limiting beliefs will come and it will be up to you to find ways to deal with them or let them rule you. 

There can be several reasons why are you struggling to find confidence, show up consistently, and find your unique way of expressing yourself.

Take time to learn about yourself

Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding yourself before you decide to show up. Of course, you can figure everything out on your way, but it will take much more time and can create a lot of anxiety.

Take your time to dig deeper and ask yourself hard questions. Be honest with yourself. What do you enjoy doing and why? Because what happens very often you decide to follow the trends or want to do what is profitable and what most people are doing. But it’s not the best motivation. You’re motivated by external things.  Your motivation should come from inside.

For me it was huge. I have always thought that I can only teach languages because I had a degree and some experience in it. I didn’t ask myself whether I enjoy it. And it turned out I don’t. But by limiting myself to one single fiend, I prevented myself from seeing other possibilities. To explore and try different fields to find what I love doing. No wonder I didn’t want to show up, I couldn’t stay consistent. It felt fake like I was pretending to enjoy something that I actually didn’t. When you’re not in love with the everyday work, with the process you cannot become a master in your field and create remarkable things.

Always question your old beliefs. Learn to listen to your inner voice. Allow it to lead you. What are your strengths? What are your values? What are your weaknesses? What kind of a person are you? Be honest about it! The more you discover your true core, the more confident your voice will become.

Don't be afraid to try and to fail

I believe that every time you have an idea you should try to implement it right away. The idea appeared in your head for a reason. It’s important to give it a try and do something about it. Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from trying.

Even if you fail, you will learn something every single time. Only by trying and doing different things you will be able to find what you really enjoy and what you want to do. If you never try new things you will never know what you enjoy and why do you enjoy it. And it’s not possible to find your voice when you speak about something you don’t care about, something that doesn’t light you up inside. If you want to make people care, you should care about the subject you speak about in the first place.

It’s very easy to see when people don’t care when they don’t love the process of their work. But they so desperately want other people to care about their business or their project.

You want to be perfect and don't accept your true self

Let’s be honest, nobody is perfect and yet we keep trying to pretend as if we’re when we show up as business owners. Sometimes we search for proof of the perfect life of other people to make us feel miserable and to find proof of why we should be perfect.

From my own experience, I can say that sometimes searching for perfectionism in your work or yourself can be an excuse. Oh, if my work isn’t perfect and I’m not perfect then I will be silent and won’t share my work until it’s perfect. But guess what? Until you share your work you don’t have any chance to improve it and become better at what you do. You can’t experiment with your voice and find it.

Sometimes as human beings we can feel ashamed of our weaknesses, we don’t want to show up our vulnerabilities, and share our struggles. You feel like there is nothing special and anybody can do what you did and there is nothing special in what you came through. It’s just another old belief that doesn’t serve you. 

People want to relate to real people. We all have the same struggles as human beings, and maybe sharing your story will help somebody else.

When I started I was ashamed to share my struggles, I didn’t want to be vulnerable, I was ashamed of my surname, my origin, of my accent. I didn’t own who I was as a person and I didn’t want to share my story. No wonder I had a hard time showing up and finding my voice.

Until you embrace all parts of you, with your weakness and imperfections, and struggles, until you own your story and who you truly are you won’t be able to find your voice.

You overthink everything and wait until you're ready

Overthinking can be a huge problem, and it will prevent you ALWAYS from sharing your work if you let it. You can do a lot of work, create amazing products and services, and write outstanding blog posts, but until you share it with the world and put your work out into the world it doesn’t matter. The minute your work is ready, share it and don’t overthink, relax, and just do it.

Another common problem is that you wait too long until you’re ready until your brand story is ready until your website is ready until you have 10 years of experience. You don’t take any risks and don’t begin before you’re ready. Having clarity is important, but believe me, even when you have clarity for your brand and business, you won’t feel more confident to show up, so you might start to show up the way you enjoy and make people fall in love with your personality and the things you do.

Don’t fall into the trap to do too much research, waiting until everything is perfect, and until you’re ready. Believe that you can figure out everything on your way, and find your voice.

Stop comparing yourself and be proud of who you're

Stop watching other people if it makes you feel miserable. Don’t compare, go inside yourself instead. Listen to your inner voice, believe it. Start to appreciate and honour your unique personality and your unique experience. There is no other you in the whole world, make it your power. Be proud of that, instead of feeling miserable that you’re not as successful as that person or don’t have that or can’t buy this. Concentrate on what you have and the change you can create and the value you can provide. And only you can do it!

Of course, it can be useful to get inspired sometimes by other people. But there is a very fine line between inspiration and comparison. Be aware of it.  Unfollow people who make you feel miserable.

Don’t let comparison prevent you from expressing and searching for your unique voice. Don’t let it block you, make you feel miserable and kill any desire to show up. Instead, go inside and let your inner voice lead you.

You follow trends instead of doing what you enjoy

You follow trends, and create products and services that are ”popular” and because they are ”in demand”. Of course, it’s important to research and find out what your clients need, not what you want. But if you hate creating what they want, you don’t enjoy it, but you keep pushing yourself to do that. Can you imagine the number of inner resources you waste by doing that?

That way you’re stressed all the time, tensed, worried, anxious and miserable. That’s why you create a mediocre product or service and always look behind your back. You try to be less mediocre than everybody else, instead of trying to find what you LOVE doing and create something really remarkable.

When you’re not relaxed, when you don’t enjoy what you’re doing you will never be able to create anything remarkable. You will never be able to find your voice, and express it with passion and confidence.

Final thoughts

It’s vital to find your voice and express it with confidence as a small business owner.  Without it, you cannot show up consistently, create remarkable products and services, create connections with your audience and build a sustainable business that will support you and your family.

Without it, you won’t be able to find your place and own it, feel confident, and be proud of your business and your personality.

It’s not easy and it takes time, but you can do it! Take time to learn about yourself, try different things, and accept who you’re. Try to not overthink, and not compare yourself to others. Instead of following the trends, find what you enjoy doing and fall in love with the process of everyday work.