We all lie from time to time. Lying to others can be harmful, but lying to ourselves is even worse. Ultimately, as entrepreneurs, lies can toxify our businesses and keep us from reaching our goals.
Here are 19 detrimental fibs new entrepreneurs tell themselves -- as well as why you need to avoid them:
1. "I am not good enough"
Comparing your "behind the scenes" to someone else's "highlight reel" is damaging. Everyone was a beginner at some point, and everyone questioned his or her abilities. You are good enough. If you're not yet, you will be someday -- as long as you don't give up.
2. "I have wasted my time"
Many professionals spout this lie during a hard time or after a perceived failure. But remember, time spent gaining experience is never wasted. Instead of beating yourself up about wasting time, see your failures as informative and use them to build a foundation for future success.
3. "I am a failure"
You're only a failure if you decide to quit. Going back to the drawing board and regrouping is not the same as throwing everything away. Yesterday's failure is today's seed for growth. Every morning brings a new chance with it -- but it's up to you to capitalize on it.
4. "This will never work"
Think your idea is crazy? There's a millionaire somewhere right now who invented the pool noodle. You can never tell what will work and what won't. Don't be afraid to run with a crazy idea when it's right (as long as the people you're selling to don't think you're as crazy as you think you are).
5. "I don't have what it takes"
There are very few "born entrepreneurs" out there. Pretty much no one has what it takes when they begin -- we all start from different points and with vastly different skill sets. Start with what you have and learn what you need to know along the way.
6. "Things will never get better"
Yes, they will. Things change quickly. Every business has its seasons. You have to survive winter to get to the spring. Bundle up and hold on.
7. "I have let everyone down"
Entrepreneurs naturally want to fulfill the needs of others. When we can't, we get discouraged quickly -- and that can lead to feelings of failure. Instead, count your successes and remember your wins. One loss doesn't make you a loser.
8. "I don't need help"
No man is an island. We all need help sometimes. Seek it out before your pride gets in the way of your success. If Richard Branson can ask for help, so can you.
9. "All ideas are great ones"
All too often, our dreams and our reality don't match up. Not every idea is bound for greatness (and that goes double if you came up with it over a round of beer with your buddies). Bounce your ideas off a neutral (and preferably sober) third party to help filter out the good ideas from the not-so-great.
10. "If I create it, they will buy it"
It worked for a baseball fan in a movie; but just because you build it, doesn't mean they will come (and buy from you). Base business decisions off of real numbers -- not gut instincts.
11. "The product isn't the problem"
Sometimes, it's the marketing, the staff, or the location that's tripping you up. But if you're honest with yourself, sometimes it is the product. That's okay -- as long as you take the necessary steps to realize it, admit it and fix it.
12. "More money will solve our problems"
I don't care if you're the smallest startup in the Bay Area or VC-darling Uber -- there never seems to be enough money. Those that learn to find solutions without money seem to acquire more of it, while those that can't seem to lose the money they have. There's almost always a way to solve a problem without money -- if you're willing to get creative.
13. "Lowering my price will attract more business"
There are exceptions to this rule, but this isn't usually the case. Great products sell regardless of price. If it isn't selling at a competitive price point, chances are it won't sell at a lower one (and lowering your rate will diminish your perceived value anyways). Raise the value of the product instead of lowering the price.
14. "I need to spend all of my time focusing on my niche"
Knowing your market is important, but finding the time to see the big picture is just as critical for success. Find time to get an outside perspective.
15. "I've already tried that once and it didn't work"
Timing is everything. What didn't work then might work now. Never be afraid to use an old idea in a new situation. The scenario is different; the outcome might be as well.
16. "More hours equal higher sales"
Time isn't always money when it comes to sales. Better marketing methods will increase sales much quicker than more time spent in the office.
17. "My family will always be there"
Your marriage will only celebrate so many anniversaries (assuming, of course, that your spouse is willing to stick it out during the relationship-testing business-building phase). Your kids will only graduate from kindergarten (or college) once. Don't miss out on the life you have trying to build a better one.
18. "I can't afford to take time off"
If you're burned out, your creativity will suffer. Some of the best ideas come from stepping away from it all and taking time to recharge.
19. "I don't lie to myself"
This is the most dangerous lie of all. We all do. Grab a friend or ask your spouse. The sooner you stop believing this lie, the sooner you'll be able to stop yourself from believing the future lies you're undoubtedly going to try to sell yourself at some point.
Lies come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them stem from arrogance, while others are based in fear. In the end, the best practice is to avoid all of them. The best thing you can do for your business is to be honest with yourself -- especially when doing so proves uncomfortable.
How do you overcome lies you tell yourself? What other lies would you add to this list? Share your insights by leaving a comment below.
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