Is it something they're born with or is it something else?
One question we get time and time again is: "How do I gain self-confidence in business?"
Many people believe that they need self-confidence in order to start working towards their dream. The reality is that self-confidence only starts building once you've started working towards your dream. This thinking trap cages most entrepreneurs and paralyses them from action.
In today's video I sat down with Nick Fisher to discuss self-confidence, the thinking trap that plagues most entrepreneurs and how to systematically build self confidence no matter who you are.
Here's what we cover:
Why the real thing holding people back is not confidence, it's practice
How to cross pollinate the fundamentals success in sport and business
Turning your thoughts upside-down and getting exceptionally good at what you do
Lessons learned from early stages of business growth
The interesting observation of how humans self-sabotage themselves
Changing your environment to induce change in your life/ habits
My personal plan for mastery - Wake up, go to desk
Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments?
Nick : Cool, so the next point I wanted to touch on is all about confidence. There's a lot of people that are writing in, and one particular person said, "I'm 19 years old, and I have no self-confidence at all. How do I even get started developing confidence in what I can do?"
Sam: Well, the important thing to know is that you're not born with confidence. You don't just have confidence. When you start something new, you definitely don't have confidence in it. We could find a very confident person, and if I asked them to fly an airplane to Australia, they're not going to have much confidence.
Nick : Right.
Sam: You know what I mean? People think I'm just supposed to be confident, but it takes practice, and you need to get good at the thing before you have confidence. Otherwise, no one's going to just be confident doing something they've never done. That's the first mind trick that people do to themselves. They might try business for a day. They don't feel very confident in it, so they feel like, "Oh, I'm just not good at this," or, "I don't have the confidence." They might say that the confidence is the thing stopping them from doing the business, but it's not. They need to keep doing it, keep doing it, and then they get it.
The key really is, is practice. It's like, let's say you wanted to be good at basketball or football or whatever, or swimming. It takes practice, and that's like hours in the pool or hours on the court or the amount of miles you've run, if you're training for a marathon or whatever. You need to practice, and you need to practice a lot. Pretty much, someone's confidence is in direct proportion to practice.
Why are some pilots so confident to land in really tough airports? Because there's airports around the world, Hong Kong's one of them, where it's really hard to land. Queenstown in New Zealand, that's another one that's really hard, because of the mountains and everything.
Nick : Oh, got it.
Sam: They're the pilots that have done the most hours, and they're the pilots that have flown in really tough situations. That's how they gain confidence.
Why was that dude willing to walk across that wire between the Twin Towers?
Nick : I didn't know someone did that.
Sam: When the Twin Towers were there, there was a wire that went between them, and a dude walked across it, like a tight rope.
Nick : Got it.
Sam: It’s like a documentary, Man on Wire, or something, it's really good. But why was he confident to do that? Would you or I be confident to do that? No way. It's because he practiced that his entire life. That's how he got the confidence to do it.
So, I bet you the person asking that question, "How do I gain self-confidence?" Well, in what? That's the first question, and then once you've defined that, then it's practice of that.
If it's like, "How do I gain self-confidence in business?" Like, "How do I gain self-confidence in order to sell to people?" Well, practice. Practice doing that, and it doesn't have to be a good cheat to get around the actual thing, because sometimes people think, "In order to get good at sales, I have to just do sales." But, that's easier said than done, because they're petrified of sales. So, how can you do sales to get good at it, when you're petrified to even start? So you get stuck, it's like a stalemate.
One thing that I figured out, when training our students in the consulting.com programs, is I could teach them how to sell really well. For some people, that gave the confidence they needed to start. But still, for most, even if they knew what to do, and they had the script, and they knew who to do the calls with, they still didn't have the confidence to do it.
So, I thought, "How can we get around this?" The best way to do it, is I just thought about sports. There's a lot you can learn from looking at sports in business. Because in sports, they have practice. They have mock games. They have drills. They have different exercises that they do, so that they're confident when those situations happen during the game.
If you think about a live sales call with an actual prospect as the game, then you want to start thinking of what can be a good practice environment. The best way I've found so far, is to pair the students up. We tell everyone in our program, "Post in the Facebook group and look for someone who is willing to practice the sales script with you." What happens is, people pair up and they role play. Someone will be the prospect, and then someone will be the consultant, and they'll go through a mock conversation. Then they go through levels of intensity. So, if someone's brand new to selling, the prospect will be easy on them. But as they get better, the prospect gets more and more difficult to deal with, to practice.
At first, I had my reservations about doing this, because I was like, "Will this really simulate the real-world environment and everything?" And it definitely did. People would just do these practice calls, and then after they did enough of them, they weren't scared at all, to do the real ones. So, it seems silly to practice something like a sales call, but it isn't because just think about it like in sports. No one just goes out and jumps into an NBA game, without a whole lot of practice. And no one goes and competes at the Olympics without four years of preparation for that one race. Behind an Olympic race is four years of prep, and then probably a whole lifetime before that, of practice as well.
Nick : Absolutely.
Sam: So, to answer his question, self-confidence in what? Because no one is just self-confident in everything, and if they are, they're an idiot, because they're going to get burned. You shouldn't be self-confident in everything.
Nick : It becomes arrogance at that point.
Sam: It becomes stupidity, because the person can't fly an airplane. So, he's going to die. That's why you don't have self-confidence in everything. So, "In what?" is the question. Then once we know what that is, then the answer is practice. And if he's too scared to practice with the real-world environment, simulate one.
Nick : What if they're too scared to even reach out and ask someone else for practice.
Sam: That's a good question. The stage before that is learning. You can't practice until you know what to do. So the stage, really, before practice is learning. That's just reading, and just being a sponge and sucking up information. So, you want to read books on sales. I'm assuming, let's just say for this conversation's sake, that it's sales, because it's a big one.
Nick : It probably is.
Sam: Pretty much, everyone's afraid of sales. I was, and a lot of people are. So, you're not going to be confident practicing until you know what to do. So, read sales books. Read at least five books. Once you read five books, you're going to know quite a lot. Then, figure out how sales is done for your particular thing, which you are doing. Then, once you know all of the information, then start practicing in a simulated environment. Once you're good there, go to the real-world one.
Nick : Got it. On the sales calls too, I agree, I think they can get through just about anything, and then even the prospects can ask more difficult questions, where they have to objection handle and what-not. But what about the actual taking of the money? I feel like when people go to make an ask for a money, and I had this problem early in my career too, is there's always that slight hesitation when you want to flip the corner, and then you're going to make your offer. I see it time, and time again with people in the community too, is when they drop the price, it comes something like this, "And, um, it's uh, $3,000 for the service." How did you get over the fear of asking people for money, yourself?
Sam: That's a good question. You can't just get over it. It takes time, right? Because it's really conditioned in you, from not having money and not being able to buy things. When someone's young, they can't, because they don't have lots of money. So, they're used to not being able to afford anything and being let down when the price is more. So, you're conditioned this way.
It takes time, and it's a gradual process to get over it more, and more, and more, and more. But the best way, really, is to get so good at what you do, and what you're selling, that you feel like you're doing the person a disservice by not selling them your thing. So, you turn it upside down.
People think they're doing a disservice by taking someone's money. Well, I think that I'm doing a disservice by not taking someone's money and giving them what I've got. Because if someone gives me their money, and they take my training program, and they actually do it, they're going to make way more money than what they gave me. So, it's a no-brainer for me. I have that actual mindset. I don't feel an ounce of guilt, at all, because I know what I've got is good, and it's proven and everything. So, the best way to change that belief is to make your thing insanely good. Just keep working on it, keep working on it, keep working on it, until you are really confident in it that you have that belief.
Nick : Now, I know we get people to come up to us too. Maybe another factor, too, is people always say, "Oh, that's too cheap. You should be selling that for more." Do you think that you should strategically price what you have a little bit under what people perceive the value is, just so you have that confidence that what you're selling is not only great and going to have the results, but it's also way, way more valuable than you could potentially have by increasing the price. Say like, people are like, "I'd may five times that amount." What's the right price, is it okay to sell something that someone only gets 1.5 times the amount of value from investing one in? What's that ratio that you can have extreme self-confidence?
Sam: It's speculative, price, that there is no formula, and I don't think there ever will be, because it's just one of those things. It's what someone's willing to pay. It's like, What is a particular painting worth? I think last week, someone bought a famous painting for 400 million US. How can we prove the value ratio on that? So price is a very weird thing. The best way, when you're starting out, is to really look at what other people are charging, and price similar to that. Because, when you're starting out, your price isn't the main thing. When you're starting out, getting started is the main thing, and doing it. Because, from there, everything else happens. So, you don't want to be too scientific about all of the stuff, because over time, everything's going to change. The main thing, when you're getting started, is to start.
So, if I think back to my first things, when I was selling one of my first ever things was the online job board. I just looked at what other job boards charged, and I priced below that. Then, with my property inspection software app, I looked at what the market was charging, and I just positioned, pretty much, around that. There was no science behind that, but that wasn't the main thing. The thing I needed to be improving on was just doing it. Then, overtime, the price morphs and changes, and it gets to the right space. So, I think when starting out, just look at what other people are doing, match that. Also, a good value ratio is really like, look at the value someone can get from what you provide.
I think a real good sweet spot is 10:1. So, if you help someone with a service, and they make $10,000, or if you charge $1,000 for your service, that's insanely good value. A person who gets ten grand from one grand in services, they're going to recommend that to their friends, they're going to do all of that. And the higher you can get that ratio of value to price, the more viral your thing's going to become.
Like the iPhone, it's got a lot of stuff, for the $600 or $800 price that it's got. It's really good value, that's why people talk about it a lot. They could probably price the iPhone at 10 grand and still have a huge market. They want it to be down there, so that people just rave about it. Then, the net effect, is they're going to make more.
That takes time and practice to play with, and everything, and I do think that it's always better to have people rave about it and price cheaper, than it is to price expensive, make more money, but not have it spread like a virus.
Nick : Got it. It's a better long-term play. I agree. Then also, I guess, going back to the confidence thing too, when you were starting, what was the biggest break point where you had to jump out of your comfort zone? What was the situation, you were terrified, and how did you overcome? Like, if you had to think about, business-wise, the most terrified you ever were in a certain situation.
Sam: There's lots of things. Probably one of the first ones I ever had was sales calls. One of the very first ones I had was when I had that job board business. That didn't require sales calls, it required marketing. I had no idea how to market anything, so I thought, I'm just going to go the universities on foot and just hand out brochures. So, I spent pretty much the last 500 bucks I had printing brochures, this huge box of them. I think I got 5,000 of them. Then, I was like, "Yeah, I'll hand out 5,000 easy."
Then, I arrived there in my car with this box of brochures, and I was so nervous to get out, that I didn't go the first day. I just sat there. Then the second day, I came back and I somehow mustered you up the courage to start handing them out. No one wanted them, so it was even harder. I definitely remember that. That's vivid in my memory. That business didn't work out.
Then the next business I did required phone calls to try and sell websites and things to people. I remember I was petrified of that. I'd put it off. I wouldn't get out of bed. I'd tell myself, "I'll call them at 9 am when they get into the office." But then 9 am would come, and I'd be like, "Oh, they're probably just getting into the office. I'll let them get their things under control, then I'll call them." Then mid-morning would come. Then I'd think, "Oh, they're probably getting ready for lunch." Then I'd get to the end of the day, and then it would be the next day. The more I put it off ... That was really hard. That really got me, the sales calls.
Probably more than the brochure thing was the first one, but the sales call one was way worse. Because the first cold call I ever made, the guy just hung up on me straightaway. That was so hard to get around, because I had such a bad start. I tried everything, even having a couple of beers before doing the phone calls. Man, that was a tough one.
Nick : Have you ever dialed someone then hung up before they could even answer?
Sam: I can't remember. Probably. But I remember when I was calling, I was always hoping that they actually didn't pick up.
Nick : That it'd go to voicemail. Yeah.
Sam: Which is kind of messed up, because you're really trying to sell things, but your brain just plays trick with you.
Nick : That's funny, so what was the tipping point there. Was there any moment that you can remember, where you're like, "Maybe it was starting to get easier," where it was a gradual process? Or was there one moment where you're like, "Okay. I got this"? What was that point?
Sam: It's just practice. Honestly, nothing really changed. The amount of people who would hang up on me, or not listen to me, or whatever, was still the Sam:e. But I'd just done it more, so it just rolled off my tongue easier, and I just got hardened to the rejection and everything. Overtime you get hardened. Like a good way to put it might be, if you've spent time in the cold. Like out in snow and everything like that. When cold comes around, you're all right. You're like, "Oh, I've been here. This is fine. This isn't even cold." But the first time you have that, you think you're going to die.
Like, I've had friends come over from Florida, and they're freaking out, totally freaking out in New York. One of them won't even come. Just no flying in the winter, because they're petrified of it. It's just like that. You're just not used to it, and you haven't been exposed to it, so it's going to scare you.
Another good example might be the window washers that I see out here. Dude, I look at them, and I'm scared for them, and I'm uncomfortable. I'm getting sweaty and stuff just looking at them, because it's so high. But they've just done it enough times, it's not scary anymore. Phone calls is just like that. After you do it, the amount that it takes for the fear to disappear, it isn't that many times. It's just that initial hump. I'd say after two weeks of actually doing it daily, the fear started to disappear.
Nick : Got it. It's just a matter of just, when you woke up, knowing that you had to do that and you were going to do it no matter. On some of them, you said you would procrastinate, like 9:15. Would you eventually call those people, or would you just call it a day, let's say at 5 pm, and be like, "oh, yeah"?
Sam: In the beginning, I'd just call it a day. But once I started consistently doing it daily, that's when I started to conquer the fear. The keys is once you let it slip for one day, it's like, one day becomes two. Two becomes a week. A week becomes a month. A month becomes a year. Like an avalanche happens from one small thing. You've got to be extremely careful of that. You can't lie to yourself. Even now, I think about it with going to the gym in the morning. If I let one day go, I know what's going to happen. Like it's an avalanche. One day's going to become a week, and all of those. Sam:e with diet, if you let your diet slip or any of these things. The key is to consistently do it, and not lie to yourself and think, "Oh, this one day doesn't matter."
Nick : Right. Yeah. And also, we had someone who wrote in. This is very similar to what they were kind of experiencing. They said what they're struggling with is the fear of knowing what they must do. I'm guessing that what they know they must do is probably the sales call. They know that, that's what they need to do in order to make money, make their whole business work. And then, doing something without knowing they'll be able to pull it off is their biggest fear. How do you get past that, of they know they got to do it but they're just sitting there, paralyzed, not knowing if they're going to pull it off or not?
Sam: Well, you never know if you're going to be able to do it or not. You get a higher level of possibility of being able to pull it off over time, but it's dangerous to think you're going to pull anything off, because that means that you've broken the universe and that you control the world, pretty much. Even the best investors in the world, they say the times when they've lost everything is when they think they know everything. You're never going to get to that point, because it doesn't exist. You just get slightly more confidence each time.
But, to answer his question, why is he afraid to do the thing he knows he must do? That's honestly messed up. That's the human condition. He's asking the question which could fix the whole world. Really, what I've noticed and observed is that people's choice of daily actions, totally misaligned to their desired future. So, someone might have this desired future for them self and their life, and then their choice of daily actions is pretty much the exact opposite of that.
I used to have a vision and a desired future to have a successful business, and all of this, but it was very hard to change my daily actions of partying, drinking, going out with friends, and going out for lunch, and keeping up social appearances and things like that. Really, it's just, it's a misalignment of future, and current, and present. The present, you've got to break habits. That's the problem with the present. The future, you can change your vision out here. It's very easy to change your vision, but the hard part is to break the habits that make the vision.
I'm guessing that whatever his vision is, the habits he's got now don't equal that, and he's got to break those thing.
Nick : Oftentimes, I remember you mentioning before, you had to change your environment before you could even do that, too. Because-
Sam: That's the easiest way. It's like a hack. It's like a computer cheat. If ever you want to change your habits, just change your environment, because then, pretty much, it all goes.
Nick : Right. So for you, how many times do you think you've actually changed your environment in a big way, through the course of your career so far?
Sam: The first one was moving out of my parents. Actually, before that, I used to have roommates and stuff, and we'd be renting, when I first was at college and everything. Then, to start my own business, I actually had to move back in with my parents, because I had to sacrifice the being cool and having the freedom and everything. I had to sacrifice that to have the money to start the business. So there was the first environment change.
While the environment, moving back home, it meant there wasn't parties and everything, there wasn't always people to talk to. But it was also a decision to sacrifice something. I was purposely putting myself in a worse situation, so that I could win in the future. That was a good decision. I was sacrificing now for the future. It's like putting skin in the game. That was the first environment change.
Then the second one was moving out of there and into my first apartment, which I had to myself. That was a big jump, because that involved having a lease to commit to. I'd grown my business up to the point where it was making about five grand a month in my parents garage, and having no actual, real obligations. My parents didn't force me to pay anything. All of the expenses we had could be canceled within a month. This was my first like, it was a two year lease. I was like, "Am I going to be able to make money consistently?" I'd never thought about my five grand a month, is that really good every month? So that changed there, put me on the hook for something. That was really good, because it literally fire in me and that's when my business took a big jump. Because all the sudden, I was on the hook, so I worked harder.
Then the next one was probably the biggest jump I've ever done, was moving from New Zealand to New York. Because, you bring New Zealand dollars to America and they're just cut in half. Then everything in New York is the most expensive in the world. My power bill here, per month was pretty much more than my rent. So that was one hell of a jump, and that scared the shit out of me. Everything was so expensive. I moved straight into this place, which is really expensive, and all of a sudden, everything just got way more expensive, and my money got cut in half, and I was in a foreign country. Logically that means, that it's a stupid decision, but what happened in reality, was it just lit a massive fire in me, and I just worked harder than ever. That's when I made the biggest jump I've ever made.
In the beginning, I think it's good to change your environment. Sometimes you've got to move backwards a bit, because you've loaded yourself up with too many personal life expenses, which you don't need. So the first one is a decision to sacrifice. Then once you have sacrificed and you've gotten started, it's a decision to play at a bigger level. You know what I mean?
Nick : Right. Yeah, and at this point too, you always hear the phrases of people that say, "Always live within your means." It's good advice, but it doesn't always work, and it doesn't always get you to where you need to go, if you are wanting something more out of life, I suppose.
Sam: I think in the beginning, most people live outside of their means, and that's their problem. Most people that I know that have a day job and wish they didn't, they spend all their money every month. When they get paid, it's like, "We can go out tonight to the pub." These people are my age, and some of them even make six figure salaries. That sort of behavior is not going to help you, ever. You should never live like that. It's not the way to live. Because it's no self-control. It's not saving anything for a rainy day, and it's pretty much thinking that it's always going to be there, and it's not. That's a bad way to live.
I think most people need to learn, first, to go within their means. It's a bit of self-control. Once they've mastered that, though, there's decisions of playing at a bigger level. That's deciding to put yourself on the hook for big expenses and things, knowing that by doing that, it's going to light a fire in you to stretch there.
Nick : Yeah, and it doesn't have to be, necessarily, like a living situation, too, it could be a business investment as well. Just like something that they're leveling up their playing field. Maybe it's rent for their office or a business loan because they need the inventory to cover a purchase order that they just purchased, something like that.
Sam: If it's a smart business decision, but it stretches you, that's a good one. You don't want to be stretching yourself for a Lamborghini. Sometimes, even things like that, can make someone work. I read a book on psychology, and they said that if you gave a sales rep a Ferrari, and then said, "if you don't meet your quota, we take it back," they work really hard. Once someone's achieved a level, they will never want to let it go. Sometimes, even weird things like that can light fires in you. But I think in the beginning, most people are too used to living outside, and they've got to pull it back. Then comes the increase.
Nick : Got it. That makes sense. Then, alternatively, that was a person saying, "fear of knowing what I must do." Then, alternatively, there was someone who I thought was interesting, that said, "the fear of knowing what to do." It's like the exact opposite. Someone who, they know exactly what they do, and their just paralyzed, but then someone who has so many options that are also paralyzed. Both people are equally paralyzed. What did you do about putting yourself out there in the beginning and feeling insecure about the different things you were considering? What's the best possible situation for someone considering a lot of things?
Sam: Sure. You really learn in life that you can do almost nothing. With the amount of time you have in your life, and the amount of time in your days and weeks and years, you can pretty much achieve nothing, unless you just go all-in on one thing, and even then, it's hard. So, I think a lot of people think starting multiple business, and having a side gig here, and a side gig here ... it never works like that. The people who do good at things just do one thing, and that's it.
Like Michael Phelps daily to-do list was: wake up, get in pool.
Nick : I love that.
Sam: That was it.
And pretty much, mine is: wake up, go to desk. That is pretty much all I do. I don't do anything else, so then, that's how I get good at it. Really, you've got to understand that to get good at things, you're going to have to sacrifice everything that isn't that thing.
I think a lot of people, they think that they can start a business and keep their social life as it is, and keep their drinking life, if they like going out and partying, and keep their video game life, and keep all of these lives while starting this business. It's not really true. Starting a business, and becoming ... You can start a mediocre business with a whole bunch going on, right, but to get really good at something, you got to sacrifice it all. Everything's got to get cut. You can still have a family, and a relationship, and those things. But all of those other things, which you're probably used to, they're going to get cut.
If I was that person asking that question, I would think, "What do I truly want? Like, one year, three years, five years, what do I want?" Maybe they can't answer it specifically, but what sort of life do they want? Where do they want to live? What do they want to do? How much money do they want to have? Paint that picture in the future, and that will dictate what they need to do now. Then, they need to practice non-attachment to all of these things, because you need to get rid of it all. I had to get rid of everything, because you carry around so much baggage of things, that you need to just drop it all, and just channel everything in.
Nick : So if someone's considering three different business, and they're like, "I'm going to do three at once," which obviously, most of the time, is a bad idea, what's the better way to evaluate, which of those three business they should do? Should they just pick one and go after that randomly, like flip a coin? Or should they maybe, evaluate each one separately, learn a little bit more about it?
Sam: This method will be the Sam:e for a gun to your head.
Nick : Gun to your head?
Sam: So just imagine that someone literally pulls a gun, puts it to your head. They're like, "You have to choose the one business that's going to be successful. And if it isn't successful and you chose it, you get killed anyway. But if you don't pick one in the next, two minutes, you get killed anyway." All right?
Nick : Right.
Sam: "And be serious about that decision." Sometimes I get people do this, and they're like, "Oh, but I can't do that." And I'm like, "But then you're dead, so you have to." And they still can't get their head around it, but they're dead, so you have to choose one. Then you're trying to use logic and all of this stuff, but you don't have time for that. You don't have time to evaluate pros, cons. All of that stuff's pretty much bullshit anyway.
When you're put in a situation like that, where it's life or death, you make really good decisions. So that's what I would do every time. Gun to your head, what is it? Then start with that. Because the beauty of it is, if that's wrong anyway, it doesn't matter, because at least you've started. Now you can start on the second one, and you've already got the momentum. Pretty much, the first thing people start with is never the thing that's successful. So they key is just to start. But a lot of people get paralyzed at the start lines, trying to find the right business.
When I first started, the people who were paralyzed there with me, they're still there now. I've done 12 wrong things, and found the right one. But they still haven't picked the right one, because it's impossible. So the key is, just do the gun to your head exercise. Whatever it is, start it. If that's wrong, it doesn't matter. Start the next one. Put a gun to your head again, and just keep going.
Nick : I like it.