The Shy One – If Your Own Ambition Scares You

July 7, 2009 at 6:57 am 2 comments

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been writing for the special circumstances of small business owners.  This post is for the shy ones of you out there. This is for those of you who are eager to start a business but are held back by fear.  This is for those of you who have a small business but are constantly challenged by taking risks.

Everyone who has ever been in business can tell you that fear is a completely natural part of all of it.  In fact, the minute you stop fearing what you are doing is probably the minute you’ve stopped taking risks and stopped growing your business.  Being a business owner is like riding a roller-coaster.  It’s scary but thrilling, so we get on for more.  So, here are my tips for getting beyond the shyness, getting beyond the fear.

5 things you can do when your own ambition scares you…

1 – Find a Partner

I don’t have a business partner at mmm… paper but I often wish I did.  From working with a team of amazing and brilliant women on Get Hitched Give Hope, I can see that partnering with people is a great way to balance out the mindset and also the risk-taking.  A partner can help you achieve things you can’t on your own.

If a business partner is not right for your business (and often it is not) find an industry partner.  Find someone that you can meet with regularly and exchange ideas, talk shop, share dreams.  It’s a great way to bounce ideas of someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in your business.  (Sometimes it’s that vested interest that screws with our perspective.)  They may see an opportunity for your business that you don’t.  They may help you take a risk that is difficult to do.

2 – Join a Group

When I started my business I formed a group of friends and acquaintances that would meet once a month.  Some of us had a small growing business, others only had a desire to start a business.  Usually, we got together to talk about our dreams.  But, more importantly, we ended our meetings asking eachother for one thing with which we needed help.  This was extremely powerful.  Often it is that one thing that has us stopped in our tracks.

Another thing I did was join a networking group, Business Networking International (BNI).  This organization can be found in most cities and gets together weekly to network and pass referrals.  More valuable than the business I received from BNI were the powerful connections to people in other industries and other small businesses.  By meeting people in  completely different industries I learned different ways of marketing and selling.  By speaking about my business every week to people outside of the wedding industry, I became better at talking about my business.  I became better at sales.  And, the people in my group became extremely supportive of my business. (I nearly cried at my studio open house in 2007 when 21 of 23 people in my chapter showed up… what support!)

3 – Read

Put down that People Magazine and start reading business-y things!  I know from experience that when I am going through a risk-averse phase in my business (and life) it is because I am feeling inadequate.  I am doubting myself because I may not know this or that.  The best way to build yourself up and feel powerful is by reading and educating yourself.  No business owner knows everything.  But, most business owners are pretty resourceful at “figuring things out”.  So build up your knowledge base and read something.  Whether you choose to perfect your craft, or learn something new, reading is very empowering. (Stay tuned… in the next few weeks I’ll be covering my favorite reads.)

4 – Find a Mentor

Similar to finding a partner, having a mentor can be extremely helpful.  A mentor is someone who has experience in your field and can help you achieve your goals. He or she is that very wise person that you look up to and want to be like.  (Can you picture them?)  If you can’t envision who that is, here’s some help… MicroMentor is a nonprofit program that connects emerging entrepreneurs with volunteer business professionals in mentoring relationships. They’re dedicated to helping entrepreneurs like you access the expertise you need to build your business. The organization pairs people in need of a mentor with established business owners.

5 – Practice

Everything, everything, everything takes practice.  Start with something small and go from there.  You don’t need to accomplish every challenge in one day.  Pick one challenge, one risk, and go for it.  The more you practice risk-taking, the better you will become at taking risks.

And, with that… I’ll see you in line for the entrepreneurial roller-coaster! I can’t wait to get back on!


Entry filed under: Inspiration, Life Lessons.

The Plateau – If you’re at a Flat Point in your Business The Side Business – If You Have a Job, But Want To Do Your Biz

2 Comments Add your own

  • […] And, if you are feeling a little scared… you may need to go back and read about The Shy One. […]

  • 2. Samantha  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:35 am


    My name is Samantha and I am the Program Associate at MicroMentor. We appreciate that you thought of us while writing this blog and we couldn’t agree more that finding a business mentor can be incredibly helpful to business owner’s at all stages of business development.

    I wanted to let you know that the URL that you linked to is no longer valid – it is still currently up but we are working on taking it down.

    The correct URL is

    Thanks again for your support and we look forward to seeing you and your readers within our community.

    Best wishes,


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