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2.1. Developing your self-confidence

As a female artist or creative running your own business, having self-confidence is such an important skill, especially when considering expanding your business overseas. Without self-confidence, business development and expansion can be difficult and can create barriers that hinder growth, both personally and in a business capacity.

Tips for increasing self-confidence

There are a number of ways to increase your self- confidence which will, in turn, build your confidence in your business and entrepreneurial abilities. Below are 5 of the simplest and most effective techniques to increase self- confidence:

Build your confidence ‘bank’:

Write a list of all the good qualities you have; all the things you are good at and all of your good personality traits. Then write down all of your good qualities as a creative entrepreneur. Look at this list every day and keep adding to it! Re-read the list until you feel you can truly believe all the things it says about you.

Practice positive self-talk:

This is the technique of keeping your inner voice positive in order to build your self- confidence. Be aware when you are criticising yourself and instead try to be a good friend to yourself. When you catch yourself being too hard on yourself, ask yourself if you would actually say that to a good friend! Remind yourself that you are doing well on a regular basis. The more you can focus on talking positively to yourself, the more positive your thoughts and self-belief will be.

Fake it till you make it:

Try to act as though you feel really confident and sure of yourself and, soon enough, it will start to feel more natural to be confident. Gradually, it will become part of who you are! See yourself as an actor playing the part of someone who is confident and positive about themselves 24/7.

Avoid negative people:

Try and find positive people (friends/family/work colleagues) who want you to be the best you can be. Avoid negative people who bring you down with negative thoughts and comments that make you feel worse about yourself.

Look for a confidence role model:

What do confident people do that makes them look confident? Find a role model that you could learn from and copy some of their behaviours, way of talking or non-verbal communication strategies! Confidence is a skill that you can learn from others!

Being assertive for the benefit of your business

As well as having the self-confidence to develop a creative business and expand overseas, being assertive is also highly beneficial. Many people misunderstand assertiveness for being aggressive; however, there is a big difference!

BEING AGGRESSIVE: People who are hostile and have little to no consideration for the other person’s feelings when stating what they want.

BEING ASSERTIVE: People who state what they would like in a direct but fair and empathetic manner. They will take into consideration the feelings and thoughts of those around them and will use negotiation and other techniques to find the best outcome. 

When dealing with potential buyers or investors, it is important to be assertive and clear about your business intentions and capabilities. Assertive entrepreneurs are highly successful as they can quickly reach agreements which are mutually beneficial, they have more self-assurance within the business context and they are generally less stressed, given their assertive nature. Therefore, developing assertiveness can be beneficial for both you as an individual and for your business.

2.2.      Dealing with Criticism

What is criticism? Some people believe that criticism is purely negative and intended to hurt or put you down. Others see criticism as constructive feedback which can be motivational and help to develop a person or business. Within a business environment, criticism should be seen as constructive feedback in order to grow as an artist/creative, an entrepreneur and a business owner. By taking on board the criticism you receive, you are able to redevelop and alter aspects of your business, branding or product in order to overcome the feedback received.

When you receive a piece of criticism, you should consider the following actions and points in order to be productive and not become demotivated:

How criticism can help you to develop your international business – a case study

Figure 2- Image from Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/DgCaEOnfBdo

Name: Susie

Business: Selling her artwork – abstract paintings

Background: Studied Art and Design at university

Her experience of criticism:
As a UK based entrepreneur, Susie had expanded her business over to Spain, selling her art to interested parties in Malaga. One day, Susie was selling her painting to an art enthusiast in Spain, who told her that her pricing was very high and is quite off-putting for many buyers in Malaga.

How criticism helped her to develop her international business:
Susie thought about this comment and decided to look into the difference in pricing in the UK and Spain. After extensive research, she amended her prices according to the economy in Spain and tried to sell her artwork again. She immediately had more interest in her paintings and was able to sell multiple pieces, making profit and expanding her business overseas. 

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