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The Clarity Journal

Tactics, Tools, and Truth for Creative Entrepreneurs

3 Sneaky Limiting Beliefs that Can Sabotage Your Business

What You’re Doing vs. Who You’re Being

We often start our businesses by focusing on practical concerns, strategies, and tasks. We ask things like: How will I price my work? Should I change my Instagram profile to a business profile? Do I need to file an LLC? In other words, we focus all of our attention on what we need to be DOING.

While the DOING matters, it isn’t what holds people back the most when they are first getting started. Instead, what holds people back is their mindset and beliefs. We all come into entrepreneurship with our own set of beliefs, and those beliefs have a massive – and often unacknowledged – impact on the way we behave and the results we experience. 

If left unaddressed, limiting beliefs can follow around you as you start and grow your business and sabotage you without you even knowing it. You will sabotage the things you are DOING because of the person you are BEING.

The Most Important Step in Starting a Business

The most important thing to do when you are starting your business isn’t to choose the right marketing strategy, create the perfect website, or pick the right name. The most important work that needs to be done is the inner work of uncovering the limiting beliefs you are carrying with you and replacing them with beliefs that will help you on your journey.

Uncovering and replacing limiting beliefs will allow you to be the leader your business needs to get the results you want. 

Here are three sneaky limiting beliefs that can sabotage your creative business.

I’m Not a Business Person

Have you ever said something like this: “I’m a great photographer/designer/stylist/fill-in-the-blank, but I’m not the best business owner.” Or, “I’m not a business person.”

This belief has massive sabotage potential. If you subconsciously believe that you are bad at business, how is that going to affect how you show up in your business day after day? Will you feel confident sending proposals to new clients? Will you be able to handle yourself when your clients don’t pay? Will you invest strategically? Will you come to your business with vision and energy?

Your business needs you to be a great business owner, not just great at your craft. You may not be starting with a background or education in business, but that’s ok. There are things you need to learn, and you are capable of learning them.

Alternative Beliefs: 
I’m capable of learning new things. 
I am a strong business owner.

I’m Not Ready

This belief manifests in different ways. You may not feel ready to make a big investment. You may not feel ready to hire. You may not feel ready to launch your new product or program. You may not feel ready to start your business in the first place. You may not feel ready to quit your part-time job and go all-in on your business.

I think this belief can be evidence of one of three fears that are holding you back.

  • Fear of not being perfect. You don’t want to move forward with something until it is 110% perfect.

  • Fear of being judged. You are waiting for some external validation or sign to give you permission to do the thing you want to do.

  • Fear of failure. You are afraid the step you want to take isn’t going to “work” for you, so you would rather not take it.

You may never feel ready to do the thing you want to do. You have to move forward anyway, in spite of fear.

Alternative Beliefs: 
Progress is more important than perfection.
I don’t need permission to take a step.
I don’t have to feel ready to be ready.
There is no failure, only lessons.

I Have to Hustle to Be Successful.

Many people come into business with the belief that success can only come to those who work really hard. The source of this belief can differ from person to person. For some, this comes from a deeply internalized, blue-collar mindset that we pick up from childhood (“money doesn’t grow on trees”). If you watched your parents work incredibly long, hard hours for little financial gain, it probably affects your beliefs about how hard you might need to work for your business to get results.

This belief can also come from our societal narrative of the struggling entrepreneur. The way most people talk about entrepreneurship can lead us to believe that struggle, heartache, and overwork are a normal and expected right of passage for any successful business.

If you BELIEVE that success comes from grit and hustle, you are likely to overwork, overcommit, and try to do too much on your own without help. You have to address this belief if you are ever going to make your business sustainable for the long-term.

Alternative Beliefs: 
The less I do, the more I make.
Money doesn’t come from effort.

Which one of these can you relate to?


Tools + TacticsKatie Wussow