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Nine Effective Ways To Build A ‘Thicker Skin’ As An Entrepreneur


Everyone struggles with self-doubt at some point in their lives, especially if they own a business. Self-doubt as a business owner can be daunting to overcome and may sometimes derail you from your goals. But part of being an entrepreneur means learning how to grow a thick skin in order to take on the adversity, rejection and low confidence that can often come with the job.

To help mitigate these common feelings, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their best advice for becoming more resilient as an entrepreneur and why it’s worked for them over the years.

1. Separate Your Self-Worth From Your Business

Learning to separate my own self-worth from the performance of my company and myself as a business leader was crucial for me. This point of view helped me obtain a healthier outlook on my agency—and, therefore, make more sound business decisions too. Most of the needless emotions calmed down as soon as I started properly separating my work life from my personal life. I grew my social circle outside of work. I redefined what achievement and success looked like to me. I learned to be kind to myself. Don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur you can’t help but be very passionate about what you do—but with time, you realize that a healthy balance is the key to success. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs

2. Compare The Two Versions Of You

Everyone faces rejection, self-doubt and low confidence at some point or other. These are part and parcel of every person’s journey. But over the years I have understood that you can easily overcome these negativities by comparing the two different versions of you: the one in the present and the other one from 10 years ago. You’ll see how much you have grown and what all you have achieved. It’s a very good way to build confidence and boost self-motivation. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

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Understand that you won’t be able to please everyone. Some people will say your product does not work or leave a negative review. Remind yourself that rejections and self-doubts are opportunities to grow. Analyze what happened and learn from the way you handled the situation. With time, you’ll learn that your product or service isn’t for everyone and dwelling on an incident won’t solve anything. Unfortunately, the best way to grow a thick skin is to experience rejection and self-doubt. Every entrepreneur will go through this at some point. Experience is truly the best teacher; take this as an opportunity to learn new things and grow. – Nick Venditti, StitchGolf

4. Make Yourself Uncomfortable

Adopt “uncomfortability.” This is the practice of being uncomfortable, which I’ve been doing for years and am now studying for my Ph.D. work. When you proactively participate in uncomfortable experiences, you build a force field around your ego, biases and fears. It’s the most powerful practice I have found that rewards you with resilience, confidence and deep humility. Uncomfortable experiences could include speaking on a stage, having a big confrontation, performing something you are objectively bad at or surrounding yourself with people who think radically different from you. I’ve done dozens of these and cannot understate the rewards. – Beck Bamberger, BAM

5. Set A Time Limit For Mourning

You can mourn each rejection briefly, but do not wallow. For one, wallowing is not dignified. You don’t want to spend excessive time lamenting a rejection when you can put that time into your business or the people in your life. Set a time limit for mourning when a dream project or investor bails on you. Then, get back up, engage in some self-care and pursue the next investor. Aim for constant improvement while not burning out. Take breaks where you can, and track your successes. – Duran Inci, Optimum7

6. Focus On Growing

My advice is to never stop growing. All those adversities, rejections and self-doubts can be addressed in two ways: You can either give into them and get discouraged every single time or view them as opportunities for growth. Whenever you are rejected, analyze why it happened, improve and approach someone else with a new offer. Whenever you don’t feel confident, try to understand what causes this feeling, locate the inadequacy and work hard to improve it. It’s essentially a matter of attitude and hard work. And don’t take everything personally. Although your business is a massive part of your life, it’s not who you are. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Reconnect With Your ‘Why’

Having a “thick skin” will only take you so far. It might help you manage adversity, rejection, self-doubt and low confidence to some degree and for some time, but true freedom to pursue your passion and achieve your goals lies in being deeply rooted in your “why.” What was it that pushed you to chase this path in the first place? What keeps you showing up every day, even on the hardest days? Reconnecting with your “why” gives you the confidence and resiliency necessary to keep pushing forward, regardless of the obstacles. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

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8. Let Go Of Perfection

A great way to develop thick skin is to understand the difference between being perfect and striving for perfection. One is achievable and the other is not feasible. If you get stuck in the mindset of having to be perfect, you will fail.To assume that you will always be perfect and need to show that to everyone while being tough is wrong because it is not possible. It will make all the negativity that comes your way so much harder to deal with. Work hard and strive for perfection but remember that perfection is likely not possible and you are doing your best. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

9. Reflect On Your Successes

When I go through periods of self-doubt, which are not uncommon for entrepreneurs to experience from time to time, I reflect on all the successes I’ve had in business. This helps me to remember that I am capable of overcoming any challenge and achieving anything I set my mind to. It also helps to let time pass; after a few days or weeks, I often find that my self-doubt has dissipated and I’m able to think more clearly about the situation. Experience and reflection are two of the best ways to combat self-doubt as an entrepreneur. Additionally, building a support network of family, friends and mentors who believe in you can also provide a much-needed boost of confidence during tough times. – Blair Williams, MemberPress



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