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7 ways to overcome self-doubt, procrastination, and hesitancy to finally launch your business

You will fail as an entrepreneur.

Correction: If you keep on a path of self-doubt, procrastination, and passivity, you’ll fail in business. 

Being a business owner is about calculating risks, taking action, and pivoting as you go along. 

If you can’t stomach risk or genuinely can’t fit a business into your schedule, by all means, don’t become an entrepreneur. 

But if you’re ready to put aside procrastination, doubts, and hesitancy to start a business, follow these seven strategies. 

Tactic #1: Practice self-care

You aren’t going to succeed in the long-term if you’re burnt out. 

You won’t operate your business to the best of your abilities if you’re tired, full of doubt, or running on an unhealthy diet, so take care of yourself even as you’re coming up with business ideas. 

To that end, follow a healthy diet, exercise, spend time with people important to you. Get enough sleep, because the repercussions of not doing so will negatively affect your health

People who slept less than six hours a night for two consecutive nights had significantly decreased performances for six days afterward, one study found. 

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For every lousy night of sleep, you’ll need three nights of good sleep to make up for it. 

That said, don’t get into the routine of spending all of your waking hours working, since there’s danger in not taking time off, too. 

If you can, make sure to spend time in nature — spending 20 to 30 minutes in nature at least three times a week was proven to help lower stress hormones, according to a recent study. 

Tactic #2: Clear your distractions

We all have 168 hours a week. 

True, there are things you shouldn’t clear off your schedule – your day job, time with your family, etc. 

But you could probably find time in your life to run your business if you cut out non-essential commitments, like TV and/or some hobbies. 

For example, reality TV casting producer and director Kirsten La Greca spends around 20 hours per week running her ecommerce business. She found this time after cutting out watching TV. 

Like Kirsten, there are probably hidden time-wasters in your life keeping you from becoming more productive

After all, Americans have an average of 5.24 leisure hours per day, so if you shave off even one hour per weekday, you could probably start getting places with your business within a month. 

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Creator Sky Johnson, for example, devoted one hour a day for one month to her business and was surprised to not only see how much she could do in one hour but also how valuable each hour was. 

If you’ve searched your schedule and found more time to dedicate to your business than you thought, check out this guide from Fizzle on how to build your dream business in 10 hours a week

Tactic #3: Seek advice and help

Don’t know how to start a business?

Now is the perfect time to learn. 

The internet is overflowing with helpful business advice and resources. 

FitSmallBusiness is great for makers looking for a wide range of business advice, and Side Hustle Nation’s podcast is full of inspiring stories from successful business owners. 

HubSpot, Buffer, and CoSchedule all offer superb marketing advice, and Ahrefs and Moz are must-reads for learning about SEO. 

Of course, you can’t go wrong with these Fizzle guides to epic content marketing, getting started with SEO, and 127 ways to grow your email list, either. 

If you’re looking for more personalized advice, attend live sessions offered by SCORE or your local business chapter, or even find a business mentor through SCORE

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Only 22% of small businesses had a mentor when they were starting out, but 92% found them vital to their brand’s success, so if there’s ever a time to get one, it’s now. 

Tactic #4: Conduct customer research

I’m sure you have great product ideas. 

But people don’t buy things purely because they’re attractive, people buy things to make their lives easier. 

So before creating a test product, research your target audience to find out what their problems are and what solutions they’re looking for. 

42% of businesses failed because there was no market need for their products. Conducting research in the beginning and as your products develop can increase your chances of success. 

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When it comes to conducting this research, your options are endless. You could:

Aside from finding out more about your customers, conducting market research can help you figure which products to make, too. 

Tactic #5: Create a minimum viable product

This might seem left-field, but hear me out:

Don’t create a full product at first.

Even if you’re confident in your product, create a minimum viable product (MVP) to start. 

An MVP is a stripped-down version of your product which fulfills some purpose for your customers. 

Your MVP should have only high-impact, high-urgency features that immediately address a requirement your audience has for a product but which your competitors don’t offer (or offer well). 

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After releasing your MVP, gather feedback, improve it, release it again, and continue seeking feedback and making improvements until your product is ready for market. 

The beauty of this approach is that it allows you to gradually build a product tailored to your customers’ preferences and requirements, instead of spending months building a product you think they may like.

Though there are multiple types of MVP, they can all be boiled down into two broad categories:

  1. A sellable pre-made product
  2. A product idea you pre-sell and create after gathering enough pre-orders.

As an example of a pre-made product, money-exchanging site Venmo started as a basic service over SMS, whereas Groupon started by posting and emailing great deals.  

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Conversely, many products you’ll find on Kickstarter would fit into that second category. They’re gathering funding to bring their product ideas to life.

Tactic #6: Create a sales page 

If you’re creating an MVP, you need a sales page so people can pre-order it. 

If you don’t have an MVP but still want to validate your idea, you still need a sales page.

Sales pages are one of the best ways to validate your product idea, gather pre-sales, and grow your email list (which you can nurture into potential customers).

For example, Joel Gascoigne of Buffer didn’t have a product ready when he started selling Buffer. Instead, he initially created a simple website where people could either join his list or pre-order Buffer.

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The key to getting people to pre-order your product, however, is by having sales copy that drives them to take action. 

We could wax poetic on sales pages, but this 10-step sales page recipe and Sales Page Copy Generator can start you on the right foot. 

Tactic #7: Whip your procrastination into shape 

You don’t like that you procrastinate, but . . . you’ll figure out how to fix that later.

Overcoming procrastination isn’t easy, but certainly doable. One way to rein in your procrastination is by giving yourself short deadlines. 

Research has found that shorter deadlines may help people complete their work and view tasks as being less difficult. 

Timeboxing, or giving yourself a limited time to complete a given task, has its benefits, too. Not only can this help you to get a better idea of where your time is going, but also gently guide you to stay within the confines of your timebox. 

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Speaking of time management, pay attention to when you feel like procrastinating the most.

Procrastination is often a way to cope with negative or challenging moods and feelings. One way to manage procrastination is by noting when you feel like procrastinating and finding ways to modulate your mood. 

If you feel something is too hard, set aside time to research the problem. Then you’ll understand better how to approach it. 

Is a task too tedious? Hire someone to do it for you, or break the task into more manageable chunks. 

One final way to control your procrastination is by forgiving yourself. Research has shown that forgiving oneself for procrastinating can help you to procrastinate less on that task in the future. 

Say “hello” to your dream business

Starting a business is hard and scary. I know.

But if you truly want to become an entrepreneur, don’t let anything – procrastination, self-doubt, fear, lack of knowledge – stop you.

If you doubt your capabilities, brush up on your skills. Or conduct customer research so you can create a test product to make sure there’s a market need for your product.

If you’re worried that you’ll fail, check out the millions of free business articles and videos online. Seek out a mentor for personalized guidance. 

And if you’re worried about finding the time or motivation, clear your schedule of non-productive, low-value tasks so you’ll have fewer distractions. 

While you’re at it, set deadlines and forgive yourself for past procrastination so you can stop putting off starting your business, too. 

I can’t promise you that starting a business will be a cakewalk, but I do know it’ll be one of the most impactful experiences in your life. 

So stop letting fear, doubt, and procrastination hold you back and create the business you’ve longed to create I know you can do it. 

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