While starting a business, you’ll find yourself talking yourself into, and out of, a lot of choices. From idea to full-fledged enterprise, these mantras from real founders and executives will help you stay strong along the way. Pick and repeat the ones that speak to you the most.
#1. Corner yourself with courage—and go.
“You’ve got to somehow corner yourself, so that quitting is off the table,” says Jessica Honegger, founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection. “One way to do that is by linking yourself to someone else’s success, so that if you quit, you’re not just quitting on yourself.”
#2. Act as if.
“I tell a lot of people to act as if, to fake it till you make it,” says Amy Porter, CEO of AffiniPay. “Get a phone number, have business cards made, pretend to be in business until you actually are. When I started, I would even play silly secretary and answer my phone, ‘Yes, Amy’s here, one moment please.’”
#3. Make like a goldfish.
“This is from a song that I love, where the little plastic castle is a surprise every time to the little fish,” explains Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO of BRAVA Investments. “Be the goldfish with no short-term memory. For example, when someone doesn’t respond to your four emails, don’t write that this is the fifth time you’re emailing them—and sound hostile. Write like it’s the first time, every time.”
#4. Everything’s figure-out-able.
“I’ve realized this along the way: if something goes wrong, it’s figure-out-able,” says Lea Sims, assistant vice president at USAA. “I’ve had to lay off people. I’ve tried to grow too fast. I’ve tried to go too slow. The point is that you’re going to mess up, and that’s okay.”
#5. Do the next right thing.
“After I’d eaten the Halloween candy I wasn’t going to eat, my therapist told me, ‘Just do the next right thing for your body.’ Not the next 20 things, not the next thousand things—just the one next right thing,” Honegger says. “I’ve applied that to so many things in life since then. What is the next right thing for your idea? Go do it.”
#6. What’s my 2.0? What’s my 3.0?
“As you share your idea with individuals, your story will get better,” Sims says. “People will challenge you, and sometimes you’ll feel like you got shut down. But you should always think, ‘Okay, what do I change from here? What is my 2.0? What is my 3.0?’”
#7. Stay with it.
“Everybody loves the concept of the unicorn, and they want it to happen overnight,” Porter states. “But women have patience; we are willing to outwait anybody out there trying to compete against us. So stay with it, stay patient, it will come.”
#8. Fear is your friend.
“Fear is just part of the journey, so embrace it,” Honegger says. “Let it become your friend. Don’t be afraid of it, and don’t let it tell you what to do. Really, that is what courage is.”
#9. You are the source of your own supply.
“I say this when those doubting voices come into my head,” Niño says. “A mentor, who is an opera singer, once said it to me, and I just repeat it again and again. It has definitely helped keep me going.”
This article is based on 2018 Texas Conference for Women breakout session “Innovation Quotient: Making Your Mighty Idea a Reality.” Listen to it here.