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Making Real Money Online: Confidence and Taking the Risk

Making money online need not be something you only dream about. In this series I hope I have given you some ideas and inspiration that show you really can do this. A common theme in feedback though has been an issue of confidence, so let’s address that now.

First let me say if you lack confidence, do not feel like you are alone. For most of us confidence is a varying thing, if you glanced at a graph of my confidence level over this year it would appear as a sine wave.

Confidence plays a big part in any endeavor. I guess it’s just part of life, especially when breaking out of your norms into undiscovered territory.

Can you remember what it was like to learn to ride a bike, to go swimming for the first time, or start a new class?

In most cases what helped you through those firsts was the support of someone around you, someone to give you encouragement, tell you everything will be ok, and give you some guidance for what to expect. This is one of the many reasons it is good to find mentors and friends to act as a mastermind group. They can tell you their own experiences, give you feedback on your ideas, and let you know if you are a genius or a complete nutcase ๐Ÿ™‚

You do need to have confidence if you are going to get things done, partially for your own needs but also if you communicate confidence to your investors and team that will motivate them to help you.

Confidence is not all about genetics though thankfully, you can grow your confidence and you will need to concentrate on three main areas:

  1. Confidence in your plan
  2. Confidence in your own abilities
  3. Confidence in the outcome

Business is partially about taking risks, but they do not have to be parachute jumps into the unknown, risk can be planned for and mitigated against.

Project Risk

Mitigating project risk is all about looking ahead and thinking what might go wrong. Put it this way, if you don’t do this then don’t be surprised when things do go wrong and you don’t have a backup plan!

Work out all the major steps and tasks that are required. Break big requirements into smaller chunks, small enough to know with confidence what is required and how long it will take.

For each task determine how much time is required, what needs to be in place, and what resources, human and otherwise, are necessary to complete a task. The way I do this is to work backwards from the goal.

What will the end result look like? What comes before? What needs to happen to get there?

If you think through every step and know what you will need and how soon you need it then a major part of risk is planned for. It often helps to pad time and finances a little for those unexpected mishaps. Also go through the plan over a few times, preferably with a second opinion from people with experience, make sure you have predicted what can be predicted and you have contingencies for anything you can imagine.

One of the most helpful things you can do is to prioritize features or elements of your project.

Especially when working online it is easy to “gold plate” your requirements, adding unnecessary complications in the process.

Over the years I have lost count of the number of ecommerce projects that have been specified as “the Amazon of _______” but with a budget a few digits shorter than would be required.

For each feature specify a Priority Number from 1 to 3:

  1. Essential
  2. Significant Value
  3. Nice to Have

If you get to the end of the project with all the #1 items complete then job well done. A bunch of Significant Value items will make it better. Any of the rest are gravy.

This reduces stress and focuses on the main essentials, it also tells you what areas need watching like a hawk and where risk is less of an issue.

Confidence in Yourself

Fears and panic are often caused by feeling a lack of control. Better planning alone can alleviate these feelings. I have found the more I have planned for something the better I feel in myself. Combine that with the support of a good team and things almost always feel better.

Some of your doubts will be valid, that is good, use those doubts as a checklist for things you need to fix or prepare for. Other doubts will be purely from fear and low self-esteem. While it is natural to feel this way all you can do is not allow a bubbly gut to hold you back.

As I said recently in the comments, confidence is like a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it grows. Get into the habit of trying things and supporting yourself with positive thinking. Remember if you believe you can or can’t, either way you are right.

It is often surprising how little practical difference there really is between people who do things and those who do not.

Whatever limitations you believe you have I bet someone has been there before you with the same perceived limitations or more.

In the previous process we broke the large project into bite sized chunks. These smaller tasks are less scary. You understand what is required more fully and know they are achievable in a certain time frame. Maybe you can take some of these small steps and before you know it you are finished? When you achieve even small successes the results come back, others respond, and your confidence grows.

Weighing Risk

How do you know a project is worth the risk? Look at the downside. What is the worst that could happen? Financially, personally, reputation. Are you willing to put that on the line?

Gamblers and investors say the same thing, only gamble what you can afford to lose.

Successful people are willing to fail. In fact they often fail more than most but are better at getting back up and brushing it off.

Knowing You Will Succeed

We are not psychic so knowing you will succeed is a matter of putting together the best plan and team you can and having faith that you have done everything in your power. If you create a good plan and really work it then that is the best you can do.

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Comments

  1. Just out of curiosity–why the partial feeds? I have added and removed you a few times because of the annoyance at partial feeds. Coming to your site doesn’t change my experience much, I get the article done and then CTRL+F4 it.

    Not a criticism, just a question.

  2. Just out of curiosity–why the partial feeds? I have added and removed you a few times because of the annoyance at partial feeds. Coming to your site doesn’t change my experience much, I get the article done and then CTRL+F4 it.

    Not a criticism, just a question.

  3. The feeds are published full but people complain when I do really long posts and don’t use the MORE tag to split them when they appear on the homepage. You will notice only this series is partial in the rss, the articles preceding it are published in full.

  4. Fear is such a non-motivator. I recently wrote about confidence as well in a post titled, Sometimes It Just Takes A Step. Everyone has a vast amount of potential, and confidence can open that potential up.

  5. The feeds are published full but people complain when I do really long posts and don’t use the MORE tag to split them when they appear on the homepage. You will notice only this series is partial in the rss, the articles preceding it are published in full.

  6. Fear is such a non-motivator. I recently wrote about confidence as well in a post titled, Sometimes It Just Takes A Step. Everyone has a vast amount of potential, and confidence can open that potential up.

  7. I will check your post out, cool. Perhaps I should do a roundup of confidence posts?

  8. I will check your post out, cool. Perhaps I should do a roundup of confidence posts?

  9. That could be interesting!

  10. That could be interesting!

  11. So many articles of this sort can be slotted into the “pep talk” category; while motivational pieces do have their place, I appreciate that what you’ve given us here is more of a concrete strategy for tackling the problem of confindence in starting a new venture.

  12. So many articles of this sort can be slotted into the “pep talk” category; while motivational pieces do have their place, I appreciate that what you’ve given us here is more of a concrete strategy for tackling the problem of confindence in starting a new venture.

  13. Thanks for the list of approaches, Chris.

    In my opinion, the term “confidence” is merely an abstract way of talking about:

    Fear – If you’re afraid, then you have a tendency to withdraw from the cause
    Incongruence – If you’re not absolutely certain about your path, then you might hesitate, just because you don’t completely believe in what you’re doing
    Self-esteem – If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to feel capable and courageous
    Skill – If you don’t know what you’re doing, then a lack of “confidence” is a natural response
    Exhaustion – If you’re tired, it’s hard to feel anything positive

    The list could probably go on.

    I think the reason people have so much trouble “building their confidence” is they lump all of these feelings under one, vague state of mind. It’s much easier to address it if you know precisely what you’re feeling and why.

    Then you can choose the approach that will lift you out of it. Because really, there are different approaches for each of those separate emotions.

  14. Thanks for the list of approaches, Chris.

    In my opinion, the term “confidence” is merely an abstract way of talking about:

    Fear – If you’re afraid, then you have a tendency to withdraw from the cause
    Incongruence – If you’re not absolutely certain about your path, then you might hesitate, just because you don’t completely believe in what you’re doing
    Self-esteem – If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to feel capable and courageous
    Skill – If you don’t know what you’re doing, then a lack of “confidence” is a natural response
    Exhaustion – If you’re tired, it’s hard to feel anything positive

    The list could probably go on.

    I think the reason people have so much trouble “building their confidence” is they lump all of these feelings under one, vague state of mind. It’s much easier to address it if you know precisely what you’re feeling and why.

    Then you can choose the approach that will lift you out of it. Because really, there are different approaches for each of those separate emotions.

  15. Another great article for this series, Chris.

    A little off topic, but I have to say that the image of a “confidence sine wave” was quite amusing to me.

  16. Another great article for this series, Chris.

    A little off topic, but I have to say that the image of a “confidence sine wave” was quite amusing to me.

  17. Hi Chris!
    “Knowing that you will succeed!” is the ultimate driver that can keep you going in hard times. Thanks for this series. And good luck for your plans. –John

  18. Hi Chris!
    “Knowing that you will succeed!” is the ultimate driver that can keep you going in hard times. Thanks for this series. And good luck for your plans. –John

  19. @Jen – I find very often people have only “pull yourself together” as advice, which is easy to say but not so easy to do ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Jon – You should write that up into a post ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Adam – Glad you like ๐Ÿ™‚

    @John – Yes, an inner knowing seems to be a consistent theme from biographies I have read

  20. @Jen – I find very often people have only “pull yourself together” as advice, which is easy to say but not so easy to do ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Jon – You should write that up into a post ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Adam – Glad you like ๐Ÿ™‚

    @John – Yes, an inner knowing seems to be a consistent theme from biographies I have read