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Is it a confidence thing? How micro business might require us to dig very deep.

This blog post isn't about me, Emily, founder/owner of Simply GB although I am using my example that will sit alongside so many others I'm sure.


I was recently listening to a podcast episode by Mel Robbins, American confidence coach and podcaster. She has a super enthusiastic big sister tone that can both delight and overwhelm depending on the mood (sorry Mel)! But this episode (from Thursday the 22nd of Feb 2024) about 5 truths to you need to hear about confidence has seen me dig deep.


For those who know me, you may assume I have confidence. I run my own coaching and consultancy business and Simply GB, I have some. Those who know me really well, know that I'm also riddled with doubt.


The 5 truths shared were characterised as 'the lies we tell ourselves' and they all hit home. But specifically was the lie of the label. That moment when someone you've met, someone in your life who, maybe only once, told you something that you adopted as an actual label on your forehead about yourself.


It really hit home.


Mel's guest, Jamie Kern Lima, Founder of IT cosmetics, tells a story about going for some huge funding to develop her business at it's growth stage (she sold it to L'Oreal for over $20billion 6 years later) and was told by the investment company that people would never buy cosmetics from a woman who looked like her and with the weight she carried.


No...not in the 19th century folks!



Labels that eat away at confidence


And there was my label. When my Simply business was still called Simply Staffordshire, I went for some business funding (£5000) to create a new website for a national membership. I spent hours preparing the application form and creating a presentation for the board. I was interviewed and questioned. I had cashflow forecasts, business plans and layouts of this future website and its benefits.


They sniggered. They laughed. They rolled their eyes. They told me that creating a membership website for micro businesses across the UK was a non starter idea and could only ever be a 'lifestyle' business (said with said sneer). I cried all the way home. Not because I didn't get the money...you know why.


What I hadn't fully appreciated until this weekend was that I'd also popped a label on my heart that said 'none starter'.


Of course my application may not have been up to it and I'm sure it was far from perfect. But, in so many ways, this early experience has shaped my determination ever since and now we do have a blooming lovely, emerging membership across the UK of magical micros who get to enjoy our Member Hub delights from our (self funded) website.


But it had left me with a label that I'm only just beginning to try and peel off. It's bloody sticky!


I think one of the reasons it's so sticky is because I'm a micro business. It's not easy to get appraisals or feedback from someone who knows you. It's easier to spend a lot of time working alone and supergluing that label on harder. There's not a team around you necessarily, who can unpick your positives and negatives in a safe and constructive way.


Maybe confidence is harder to hold on to for micros?


I'm sharing this because by owning it, I'm not pretending that it's all easy or straight forward. I'm hopefully also opening the way for other conversations with micro business folk who may accidentally be sporting a label that's eating away at their confidence about their business or part of it or a skill they don't believe they have.


Confidence is a precious thing and you have some to get out there and set up a business. But....check your labels. They might be hiding and they might be very old, curled at the edges but clinging on.


The antidote? Creating a safe and welcoming community membership just for micros so that we can peel off our labels together. So that we will champion each other with collaboration not competition in our hearts and so we can find the collective confidence we need while we're building our own.


Wishing you much confidence and less labels, Emily xx



Simply Thrive event for micro business owners

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