How To Believe In Your Idea (And Yourself) Even When Others Don’t
1, Surround yourself with cheerleaders, but don’t make them your test audience:
Whether it’s confidence in your idea or in your worth as a human, it’s tough to argue the importance of cheerleaders. The cofounders emphasize curating a supportive circle, with one exception: “Don’t make them your test audience. They will tell you what you want to hear and it’s not what you need.” Make your test audience a more representative sample of your market in pursuit of proof of concept instead. “Once you have proof of concept on a tiny scale, you have confidence. You don’t have to move forward with crazy doubt.”
The pair also recommends looking for category validation, which they learned the hard way with their failed second venture. “If the category exists, you have your proof. There are comps and brands doing exceptionally well without an exceptional product,” Sakoutis explains.
2, Reframe your lack of knowledge or experience as a potential strength:
The duo believes their naivety worked to their advantage in the initial stages of Blueprint.
“If you tried to build a business model out of it, there were so many unknowns because it hadn’t been done before. Someone with formal business training would’ve been like this will never work,” Huss explains.
In the same way activism is often attributed to idealism, knowing “too much” can often result in finding all the logical reasons an idea won’t work – versus believing in it and being motivated by passion. As you realize your idea, remind yourself that knowledge gaps are not only inevitable, they can actually be a strength.
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3, Know where you need help, and ask for it:
That said, the women knew what they didn’t know, and utilized their resources to fill in the gaps. Sakoutis recalls calling up an ex boyfriend and asking for help with a business plan. She then pitched the owner of a catering kitchen on her idea, ultimately utilizing his resources in exchange for a slice of Blueprint’s profit. The catering business later went under, with the Blueprint Cleanse being the store’s most lucrative revenue stream.
Your independence might be responsible for your idea’s conception, but it’s your ability to ask for help and put the right partners in place that will ultimately lead to your idea’s success.
4, See your idea (and yourself) as a continuously iterated-upon draft:
We live in a culture—and many of us are raised in homes—that demands perfection. And in the age of social media where it seems like every move is on display (or could be if someone films it), there’s even more pressure to not screw up. “You have to be open to change and not attached to what the final outcome looks like,” says Huss. As a therapist and executive coach, this resonates with what I recommend for clients: viewing your idea as a constantly iterated-upon draft will prevent you from feeling defeated when you encounter challenge. Personally, I actually like to congratulate myself whenever I experience (perceived) failure or rejection. It means I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and am growing as an entrepreneur and human.
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5, Remember another perspective is a potentially valuable opinion, but not necessarily a fact:
Feedback is an invaluable part of realizing and refining your idea. “Not every idea is a good one. Not every idea should be pursued,” Huss cautions. The cofounders recommend not letting “ego” get in the way of hearing others’ perspectives, while viewing them as just that—perspectives. “People thought it was a fad,” says Huss with a smile.