Have you ever felt discouraged as a founder of a startup? Do you ever have the sinking feeling that you aren't capable of meeting your goals?
The first obstacle is one that's within yourself.
Self-doubt is that nagging feeling that you don't have what it takes. That if your customers really knew who you are, they wouldn't buy from you anymore.
This is one of the biggest obstacles facing founders because you're at war with yourself. If you allow self-doubt to take over your mind, you'll stop yourself from ever becoming successful.
To attack self-doubt, start by being honest with yourself. Remember that it's okay to make mistakes. Surround yourself with supportive friends and colleagues who will be there when you need to talk.
Value your idea. Older or more experienced people don't have a monopoly on good ideas. Good ideas come at any age, and yours is as valid as anyone else's.
So accept yourself as you are now. You may not be an expert in your field, and you may not know exactly how to execute your idea successfully. But if you're committed to the process of trying new things and getting better, you're already on the path to success. You may be a newbie today, but after a year, you'll be an expert.
2. No one cares.
When you're young and don't have any achievements listed on your LinkedIn profile, people don't pay much attention to what you're doing.
In today's digital age, we're hooked on attention. We crave recognition and acknowledgement of our efforts. That's why it can feel bad when no one cares about your startup.
But ask yourself, why would anyone care at this stage? The hard truth is that you must prove your business is valuable before anyone is going to pay attention to it. The faster you can accept this idea, the easier your journey is going to be.
So, what can you do while you're working to make your business attention-worthy?
First, this is a good time to clarify what makes your business different from the rest. If your idea is drastically different, it has a better chance of gaining traction, because people will know exactly why it exists and if they want it or not. An idea that only slightly stands out may gain attention if it's from a famous founder, but unless you're Elon Musk, you might not want to bank on that.
Being anonymous is a gift. No one notices your hard work, yes, but also, no one notices your mistakes. Use this time you have under the radar to try new things, make mistakes, iterate, and improve. By the time you start gaining traction, you'll be ready for the attention.
3. Lack of trust.
Trust is one of the most valuable things for a founder, because trust earns you help from other people. Trust builds traction, brings you funding, gets you team members, and gives you new opportunities you couldn't have created for yourself.
So how do you convince other people that you're worthy of their trust?
The secret is communication. Communicate well, and people are likely to trust you. That's because they'll learn what they can expect from you, and they'll know you're being honest.
No one likes surprises. Communicate well before you do something, while you do something, and after you do something.
For example, when developing a new product, announce your plans and the release date well ahead of time. As you develop the product, release updates about the progress--if it's delayed, if it's going well, and what you're planning to do next. If the release date will be moved, let stakeholders know well in advance. After release, keep updating your audience about the product and what's next for your company.
Finally, understand that trust is fully earned when you've proven the results of your business. If you don't have a solid result to show yet, focus on building the business, and trust will naturally follow.Success in business is open to everyone. Take these insights, tackle the challenges as they come, and go make your dreams a reality.