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How to overcome limiting beliefs when running your own business

If you have never run your own business before, or never worked as a freelance, one of the most important steps on your journey to becoming a Language Teacher Rebel is to work on your mindset.

But to be honest, even as someone who has worked as a Language Teacher Rebel for over 12 years, I still work on my mindset all the time; it’s work in progress. I’m by no means perfect; I try all the time to be aware of my mindset, but my god it’s difficult sometimes!

But it’s hugely important for your success and ability to develop.

Your mindset is all your beliefs that influence how you see yourself and the world around you. It could be beliefs you have inherited from your parents, from previous experiences, or from people and society around you.

Belief statements often come together with words like ‘because’, ‘will’, ‘won’t’, ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’. And sometimes (or actually, quite often), these beliefs can stop us from achieving what we want.

So how can you make sure your mindset supports you instead of hindering you?

There are many things you can do to work on your mindset, but here are some specific aspects that will help you as you transition to becoming a Language Teacher Rebel.

Challenge limiting beliefs

Firstly, you need to start recognising what your beliefs are. This can be tricky at first, as we are often not even aware of our own beliefs. But you can start by reflecting on a couple of areas that are important if you are going to run your own business.

If you allow yourself to be dominated by beliefs that you are not even aware of, it can have serious consequences for your business. So we need to figure out what they are first, and then evaluate if they are limiting us or not.

And by the way, just because you challenge your beliefs once, it doesn’t mean you might have to take them on later on your journey.

Let’s look at two areas that often cause issues and anxiety; money and work.


Ask yourself the following questions, and note down your response to each one.

How do you look at money?

Is it the root of all evil?

Is it not that important?

Is it there to be spent?

Do you feel you are good with money?

Do you feel you have to work hard to become wealthy?

Is it selfish to want to become rich?

Do you believe that you can you earn a lot of money doing what you love?

I want you to take the time, right now, to try and get hold of what your current beliefs are about money. This is a sensitive issue, so be brave and don’t hold back or try and be correct.

Honestly ask yourself how you feel about money, and don’t feel ashamed about any of your responses. Just simply acknowledge them and note them down.

Then do the following exercise.

Fill in the blank:

Money is _____________.

Money for me means _____________.

When you have filled in the blanks, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is this belief serving me right now?

If it is, then great. Keep it. But if you have a sneaky feeling it might not serve you, try and outline why it’s not serving you. In what way is this belief limiting what you are trying to do with your language business?

2. What would be a more helpful belief?

Have a think of how you could change your limiting beliefs about money, to something that would be more useful for you in your current situation. Could you turn it on its head? Could you change some of the words to something less emotionally charged?

3. What evidence is there to support this new belief?

Look around, and you’ll find lots of good examples that support this new belief. It could be a person that you find inspiring, a book, a podcast, or anything really. The important thing is for you to realise that this new belief actually has some evidence, once you open your eyes to it. This will support you while you transition from your old beliefs into your new ones.


There are three main categories of limiting beliefs about work.

- Beliefs about yourself (I’m too introverted / I’m not smart enough / I never succeed)

- Beliefs about other people (Nobody’s interested in X / People aren’t naturally supportive / They’ll think I’m crazy)

- Beliefs about the way the world is organised (You can’t become successful if you don’t have connections / You have to have at least X year’s worth of savings to make a leap / The ‘system’ is set up to make it hard)

Go through these three categories and try to sense what your honest beliefs are.

And again, don’t feel ashamed if you realise that you have beliefs that you don’t like. This is a part of the process.

Once you have clarified what your current beliefs are, ask yourself the same questions as you did when you looked at beliefs about money:

1. Is this belief serving me right now?

2. What would be a more helpful belief?

3. What evidence is there to support this new belief?

5 common limiting beliefs

Here are five very common limiting beliefs and how you can challenge them. Oh, and by the way, remember these when you start teaching online, as your clients will most likely struggle with some of these while they are learning your language!

1. ‘It’s hopeless’

Fill in the blank: I’ll never be able to start teaching online, because ________________.

The problem with this belief is that if you think something isn’t possible, you won’t even try to do it. You can easily challenge this belief by instead of thinking that it’s hopeless; ask ‘How is it possible?’

2. ‘I’m helpless’

An example could be that you think you’ll never be able to run your own online language teaching business, because no one has taught you how to run a business. Maybe you are not good with budgeting, or marketing, as you have never been taught. As you have never learnt how to do it, you will stay away from it, as it makes you uncomfortable. When you don’t know how to do something or if you think a goal is too big, you start to feel helpless. The weight of the goal, or the steps involved, seems too difficult, and you give up. Ask yourself instead; “What do I already know about it?” and “What can I do to learn more?”

3. It’s useless

You might think that it’s too late to start teaching online, or that you shouldn’t bother learning about it, as it will take too much time before you see a result. If something doesn’t seem desirable, you may view it as useless. But most events have both a short-term and long-term result. If you only focus on short-term results you can miss an opportunity.

Ask yourself instead: ‘How is it desirable?’ ‘What could be good/positive about it?’

4. I’m blameless

With this belief, you’ll blame someone or something else externally for why you can’t do what you want to do. For example, ‘I can’t start my own business, because the economy is so bad at the moment and it would be a risk’. To be honest, blaming external events or situations is the easy and lazy way out. Interestingly though, once the current external event is over (the economy gets better), you quickly find something else to blame for your situation.

Ask yourself instead: ‘How am I responsible?’

5. I’m worthless

‘I can’t run my own online business, because I’m not smart/techy/business-minded/entrepreneurial enough’. Feeling worthless and undeserving puts the blinders on you. You fail to notice what you’re good at and consequently think you’re worthless. Ask yourself instead: ‘How do I deserve it?’

When you address and challenge your beliefs, it can be a little bit scary at first (or even super frightening!). You are basically rocking the foundations of a belief system that you have probably had for a long time.

But when you choose to change a belief, the effect can be both immediate and dramatic.

You can actually choose to just believe something else. It’s your choice!

I’ll say that again: You can actually CHOOSE to just believe something else.

Imagine that!

And the more you look around for evidence of your new belief, the more examples you will find, which will help to build your confidence in your new belief system.

I have a step-by-step guide to getting rid of a limiting belief, that you can download here.

#languageteacherrebel #mindset #belief

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