How to overcome self-doubt and start your own business

Kim Palmer, founder of Clementine app

In the same way that ‘everyone has a novel in them’, it’s possible that everyone has a business. But how do you know when the right time is to get started? And what’s the best way to overcome all that self-doubt? Kim Palmer, founder of Clementine app, gives some pointers…

Kim Palmer is the founder of Clementine – an app by women, for women who are struggling with confidence issues. It launched this month and is already helping women to overcome self-doubt and go for their dreams.

I’m a doer. When I decide I want to do something, I always do it. But it sometimes takes me a while to get there because, like most women, I suffer with self-doubt. I have a fear of failure. Case in point: starting a business.

I’d wanted to start a business for years but just didn’t have the guts to do it. I didn’t think I would have a good enough idea. I often admired what other entrepreneurs had created and put them up on a pedestal thinking: I’ll never be able to think of something as good as that.

My confidence in my own ability has always been 50/50. There’s a constant battle between my inner self-doubt and the part of me that knows I can succeed, because of my experience and capabilities. It’s something I’ve always struggled with.

But it took a seriously dark period in my life – experiencing panic attacks and anxiety that left me with zero confidence – to then rebuild myself back up again and realise that I could do it. I could start a business.

There were about five big lightbulbs moments along the way that really helped me to lose the self-doubt and just get on with it. So in case you’re full of self-doubt, as I was (and in some ways, still am – feeling confident is an on-going process), this might help…

How to overcome self-doubt and start your own business

Understand your vision and values
It’s important to create a vision of what you want your life to look and feel like. What matters to you? I spent a good couple of months mulling this over with two bits of paper. One for my values and the other with my family vision. By family vision, I mean how we wanted to raise our son, where we wanted to live, community aspects, how we wanted to spend time together, work life balance – all that jazz.

This is where I had lightbulb moment no.1. My values and family vision were all clearly pointing to one thing (in my head) – to starting my own business so that I could be the master of my own destiny and forge a path for our family that allowed us to be more connected and spend more time together.

Tell everyone what you are doing
Once I’d finally decided that I wanted to start a business I needed to make it real so I told everyone. By saying it out loud, it made me commit to it.

Trust your instincts
It’s important to listen to others but be guided by your own intuition. This was a big one in helping me to land on the idea. I just literally couldn’t stop thinking about it and had heard another entrepreneur say that the best idea is the one you can’t stop thinking about; that you’re dreaming about 24/7.

That was Clementine for me. From the moment it popped into my head I just couldn’t stop imagining how great it could be. I knew that I absolutely had to make it happen, and that I couldn’t let anything get in the way (definitely not self-doubt!),

Along the way, I’ve had a lot of advice, which has been amazing. But it’s important to know when to listen, when to take the advice and when to simple say thanks, and politely leave the advice behind. Perhaps it will help in the future, but you don’t need to do everything that everyone says right now. It needs to be your vision so trust your instincts and go with it.

Park it
Park the stuff in your life that just isn’t important so you can focus on building a business. For me, that meant making a list of things I wouldn’t be doing any more – and committing to it. For example, no more pottering and tidying around the house, no more ironing of the sheets and stuff that no one ever sees, no more doing-my-nails every two nights. Not only did this free up my time but it has seriously helped with my overall anxiety levels, as I’m just way more chilled about stuff.

Just get started
It will never ever be perfect so rather than planning and fiddling around with things for too long, just get started. It will become perfect over time.

If you’d like to find out more about Kim Palmer and Clementine app, visit the website: and follow her on Instagram: @clementineappuk.