We sat down with Keap’s CEO, Clate Mask, who shared his quiet the doubters story with us. While Keap is a multi-million dollar company with nearly 40,000 customers, 250,000 users and nearly 500 employees today, like many business owners, Clate experienced bouts of extreme doubt while trying to get his business off the ground.
Also, like many cash-strapped entrepreneurs, he was pushing through this skepticism while trying to chip away at a mountain of student loan debt, pay a mortgage and support his family, who had their own doubts about his new business venture.
“Its brutally hard. It’s harder than anybody can imagine ... And when I talk to entrepreneurs all the time, I hear this over and over and over,” he said.
For nearly three years, Clate said it was difficult for him and his family to keep their heads above the water. Additionally, his software developer partners weren’t able to do the sales, marketing and customer service end of the job and therefore, he was stretched thin and locked in.
His self doubt started to lift, however, when he was able to use the software and see how customers were using it. He then knew it was less about whether the product would work and more about waiting it out until the product started working financially. As Clate’s self doubt started to fade and his confidence grew, his wife Charisse, who was initially one of his biggest supporters started to experience more uncertainty.
Clate was further able to deal with his own doubt by focusing on the positive aspects of the business like the customers who weren’t struggling any more or how a marketing message may have resonated with an audience.
“Whatever those things are, you have to celebrate the good things because there's so many challenges if you don't consciously focus on the good. The bad will cause you to have a bad day everyday,” he said.
Clate tries to drive home that the sacrifices small business owners make are worth it.
“It's worth it financially. It's worth it from a relationship standpoint. It's worth it from an accomplishment standpoint, from an impact on the world. It's worth it to your customer. It's worth it to your partners and your employees. It's worth it,” he said.
Have you experienced your own doubt as a small business owner? Let us know about it at #KeapNoDoubt