Columnist Gracie Miller  

Startups and Strippers

Putting Yourself Out There


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Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. It often requires both logistical and mindset work. If you’re reading this, most likely you already have a business, and did the logistical work it took to bring it into being.

Good work, friend – that took guts. I know, I did it too. But do you ever find yourself shrinking away from things like marketing, promoting your business, or telling people what you do?

Are you ever afraid to “put yourself out there” or explain that you’re “waiting for the right opportunity” to launch a new aspect of your business? For an entrepreneur to succeed requires mindset work. Namely, the belief that you or your idea is worthy of success. The key is remembering that not everyone needs to like your business for you to be successful.

It’s a funny analogy, but starting a business is a lot like being a stripper. Think about it: you’re alone on a “stage” where everyone can see what you have to offer. You have to decide which of your skills to show off and what they are worth. People may not like what you’re doing. You’re just out there, for anyone to judge.

What if you aren’t good enough? What if you need some new moves? If you’ve never felt this way, you’ve clearly never done a Facebook Live.

Solopreneurs could learn a lot from strippers. Strippers just get out there and do their thing, knowing (erroneously or not) that they are the hottest thing since sliced bread. The confidence is palpable. Solopreneurs, on the other hand, have no instant validation that what they’re doing is right. We get a sense of if we’re headed in the right direction from focus groups or satisfied customers, but there’s never a crowd of people waiting to stuff money in our underwear. If that’s the case for your business, please tell me what industry you’re in!

I work with a lot of clients on confidence building because once the business concept has been decided upon and proven to be successful, the thing that typically stands in the business owner’s way is themselves. 

Showing who you are and what you have to offer can be scary both in life and in business. That’s why we gently uncover and remove the blocks you may have to “showing up” completely and authentically.

There is a lot of vulnerability inherent in running a business, from “What will my family think of me leaving my stable job?” to, “What will the client think of my bid?” Sometimes vulnerability comes up when something we did just didn’t work for a client or a market and we’ve decided we “failed” (learned).  Our skills, reputation, and self-confidence can come into question a lot as entrepreneurs. It’s easy to want to hide.

So where do you hide in your business? Is there something you wish you were offering, but out of fear of being judged or fear of failing you don’t offer it? Do you find yourself procrastinating on doing some aspects of your business?

Are you never on social media, for example, but know it would help you get the word out? What’s behind that? Is it laziness, or fear of putting yourself out there?

Some people hide behind a business they no longer even like. I spoke with a client recently who continues to run a business he’s outgrown because he’s afraid his employees will hate him if he leaves.

Where do you find your motivation coming from these days? Fear, or passion? You know you’re on the right track when you’re motivated by passion. Fear can be good in the short term, otherwise none of us would do our taxes. But long term, fear has little place in entrepreneurship.

See it for what it is and consciously decide to lead with passion. That may mean making some changes to the business. After all, you quit working for someone else to do something you really love, right? So get out there and show it off!


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