As an entrepreneur myself, that really struck a chord in me. For me, uncertainty has been THE MOST difficult part about my own journey. Not knowing what lies ahead, I often find myself drawing up strategies to tackle problems that have yet to happen (and usually don’t).
So I decided to do something productive about it this time (!) and come up with a list of ways to help both myself, and other purpose-driven entrepreneurs, conquer our fear of the unknown. Because if there’s one thing that IS certain, it’s that UNcertainty will be one of the biggest challenges in just about every entrepreneur’s journey.
1. Learn how to make informed decisions
Obviously, you’ll never control the outcome of everything – that’s just life. But for many entrepreneurs, especially those like myself working in new market categories or on innovative positive impact solutions, it’s comforting to know that there’s a potential customer out there for your product or service idea.
For me, identifying a problem to solve was the easy part. It’s figuring out if you’re in the right market to make a profit that’s most difficult. Google Trends is a great, free way to start gauging if you’re targeting the right audience for success.
I’ve also followed key opinion leaders and early adopters to figure out which gaps my skills could help fill. My best resources for this have been social media, industry publications, LinkedIn and free tools like BuzzSumo.
2. Focus on the things you CAN control
Do you find yourself wondering a lot whether or not people really like what you’re doing – and then, instead of trying to find the answer, just wondering and wondering and wondering….
If you’re feeling uncertain or insecure about your product or service idea, then go out and do something about it! Customer response can hard to predict, but what you CAN do, is go out there and get feedback so you can pivot if needed.
And, not to worry, there are PLENTY of ways to get this job done. Get started by sending out a Survey Monkey questionnaire to your database, asking questions on Quora or, even better, setting up face-to-face meetings to see if you’re on the right track.
3. Remind yourself of your greater mission or purpose
Whenever I’m having a tough time, and insecurity about what lies ahead is getting the best of me, I remind myself of the potential positive impacts I’ll be able to make and the inspiration I can provide to others in similar situations.
For me, this means reading over emails from others encouraging me to keep going and working on ways my business model can help entrepreneurs in need around the globe.
But if this doesn’t do it for you, you might want to try out one of the many mindfulness apps, like Enlighten, that allows you to remind yourself of your greater purpose throughout the day.
4. Always have a Plan B
There are those out there that think having a plan B means you’re not a real entrepreneur. I think having a plan B just means you’re a real person with bills to pay….so go for it.
Especially if you’re not certain where this journey will take you, make sure you have something you can fall back on. In other words, don’t just run with an idea – put some sort of measurable strategy behind what you’re doing.
And, by all means, if something isn’t working, stop putting your energy there and do something else. I keep track of my own targets and if I don’t make them, I re-evaluate and move on.
Still not convinced about having a Plan B? Here’s what startup expert Steve Blank has to say.
5. Live in the present
I catastrophize things very quickly….so sometimes instead of getting stuff done, I spend time worrying about things that never even happen.
TRUST ME, this will kill your productively VERY QUICKLY. And only add to the uncertainly of what lies ahead.
My advice is to take cues from successful purpose-driven entrepreneurs like Knotty Gal’s Nur-E Rahman who stays focused on the task at hand with organizational apps like Wunderlist that help you stay on top of your TO DO list each and every day.
In the end, I’ve also realized that not having control or certainty about everything can actually be a GOOD THING. Because I honestly just don’t know if I would be all that motivated to get out of bed each morning knowing exactly what the day had in store- ironically enough, the unexpected surprises are what really keep me going.
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