Limiting beliefs affect entrepreneurs at all levels, albeit in very different ways.
Our individual wiring, past struggles and prior experiences will help define these limitations but it is important to remember that they are only perceptions.
When someone is starting out on their entrepreneurial journey it’s often easy to identify these limiting beliefs and they can often look like the following:
“Am I smart enough?”
“Will anyone care about my product or idea?”
“I don’t really care about money or the ‘business stuff’ - I just want to create.”
As we mature as business owners we are usually forced to move past these limitations and look back and laugh at how ‘naive’ we were when we started.
Be careful, this way of thinking can be a trap - limiting beliefs will continue to follow us and we will have to do some searching to find where they lie.
In recent years I’ve come to recognize my limiting beliefs have often revolved around things like — confidence in raising money, being the leader I read about in all those business books and my ability to find that balance between working hard and living a full life.
Let’s dig into my own limiting beliefs around raising money.
When starting out, I never really thought that I could raise capital for a business.
I thought that investments either came from entrepreneurs who already had some degree of wealth (i.e. rich kids) or part of a broader network I was somehow unaware and excluded from (i.e. boys club).
I obviously needed to get out in the world a bit more and network with other entrepreneurs. I did that by building a local tech & startup community in the area and over the course of 10 years hosted over 400 events, launched an annual conference and personally connected with thousands of other entrepreneurs.
I came to realize how limited my thinking was and harboring an “us versus them” mentality was not only flawed, but toxic.
I also did not have a firm grasp on how financing worked — I remember looking at a building in Asbury Park circa 2010 for ~$200,000 and thinking that I’d never be able to save up that much money to buy something like that.
Meanwhile, my business was paying much more in rent to a landlord than I would have paid to a bank if I had put together a business plan, found a team of investors through my growing network and obtained a commercial mortgage.
This limiting belief didn’t just cost me years of rent to a landlord - had I recognized it early on and educated myself properly, I’d also own a building worth 10-15x what we would have acquired it for.
Fortunately, I was able to recognize my knowledge gap and have evolved my mindset — owning the real estate is a core component for more or less any project I am involved in and raising capital is much less of a challenge when you create and execute a solid business model.
Overcoming limiting beliefs is a lifelong process however, as I have learned to become more adept at spotting them, I have found it easier to get out of my own way.