My Business Name is My Wingwoman

I’ve written to you before about how I see issues of confidence as the #1 thing that holds women back from their full potential — no matter where they are in their career — it just shows up in different ways.

For that reason, I’ll soon be releasing Defeat Self Doubt, a mini course that I’ve created to help you put self doubt to the side. It will help you rewire your brain for more confidence and ease. Rewiring your brain is all about little hacks that help you build a new reality that you first start to live–then start to believe. Over the next few weeks I want to share with you a few hacks that I used to do that for myself, especially when starting my business–which was imposter syndrome central for me.

Hack # 1: My Business Name is My Wingwoman

When I started my design research consultancy a few years ago, I felt a lot of self doubt. I was just out of grad school and even though I’d been freelancing and had started my own research initiative, I felt young and green, and even more importantly, I felt like I looked young and green.

I didn’t totally believe in myself yet–and that just takes time, I now know.

But I felt so much pressure. I started my business without a lot of extra capital and was watching my bank account every month. My livelihood was riding on this. I was pitching people who were 10, 15, even 20 years older than me, and I felt unqualified. I knew I needed to look confident and that made me feel even more insecure. I felt like a fraud, like a fake.

And if it didn’t feel real to me, how would it ever feel real enough to inspire someone to hire me?

When you start a business you want to focus on all the things you need to do and to learn in order to get it off the ground–you don’t want to be trapped inside your head overthinking your worth.

The solution came from my business wingwoman who I’ve mentioned before–Kristen Gallagher who runs Edify out of Portland, Oregon. She and I meet regularly to discuss business challenges and cheer each other on as we grew our businesses.

“Why don’t you name your business?” she said. “It’s a lot easier for me to feel like this thing is real because it has a name. I’m not just Kristen, I’m Edify”

It took me a long time, but I found my business name–Creative Agency. It felt like it spoke about what I wanted to do–to bring creative skills to bear on bringing great social impact, empowerment and justice. It felt like finding a good power outfit that you wear when you know you need to feel rockin’. It gave me power when I pitched what I could do for companies I wanted to hire me.

It was a hack but it worked. Eventually I started to believe it myself.

And it did more for me. It also meant that I started to see what I did as not just ‘what Mia does for livelihood’ but as a real entity I was building. When I hired my first subcontractors for my design projects–other female creative professionals in my area–it was a Creative Agency move, It was about growing this larger vision to include more people.

We hear in grade school that labels are bad. And sometimes they are, but sometimes they’re a tool, a crutch that helps us get over a rough patch. My business name is my wingwoman–it got me through. What’s yours in your career and your life?