5 Tricks to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a New Entrepreneur

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by Agatha Brewer

Let me first say: as a new entrepreneur, you will doubt yourself. But it’s the way you overcome the doubt that makes the difference between success and failure.

First of all, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you haven’t figured it all out. Why would you expect that?

You’ve just started your business and you’re testing everything – including your marketing, the products or services you’re selling, even your business idea in general. Additionally, if you are a service provider, your entire business can rely on a skill that you recently learned. You need to sell your services while still mastering the skills yourself. So of course you will feel a little out of your league.

Knowing this, many of us get caught up in comparing ourselves to other successful entrepreneurs, forgetting that we may have had difficult journeys to where we are now.

So how can new entrepreneurs deal with impostor syndrome so they can keep going?

1. Collect evidence of success.

Our brains are wired with an innate negativity bias, so we usually look for the negative in our surroundings rather than looking for the positive. When you’re used to being self-critical, you tend to ignore external affirmations and rationalize any positive feedback you receive. The next time someone compliments you, accept the compliment graciously and add it to your memory of positive evidence.

And while it looks like all you have to report in your company is failures, you want to be on the lookout for indicators of success early on. For example, did you get a great customer testimonial? Personalize it or paste it in a note on your phone. In my case, I look at feedback from previous customers when I have a moment of self-doubt.

And a pro tip: you want to get feedback from trusted sources. If your old high school friend doesn’t understand why you’re starting a business, don’t worry. Look for feedback from mentors, past clients, and people who understand what you’re doing.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others.

As I mentioned earlier, it is important to stop comparing yourself to others. With the advent of social media, we’ve made it even more difficult to end the comparison game and the inevitable spirals of self-doubt that it entails. It’s so easy to compare yourself to a role model in your industry and wonder why you’re not there yet. But they shouldn’t be on your level; That is why they are a role model!

When you find yourself comparing yourself to a successful entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions:

  • What quality do I see in them that I don’t see in myself? How can I promote this quality?
  • When did you start your business? Is that the same period as mine?
  • Will comparing this person help me move forward?

Ideally, you should drop all comparisons to others and measure your success against an earlier version of yourself. Have you become more confident, made more sales, or achieved another goal that you set for yourself? It doesn’t matter what your competition is doing. You’re not them, and your customers don’t care as much as you think they are anyway. They care about the results you bring them.

3. Normalize the feeling.

The more you come to terms with the fact that you may feel uncomfortable as a new entrepreneur, the faster you will accept it and move on. A recent study by Kajabi found that 84 percent of entrepreneurs and new business owners suffer from imposter syndrome.

Be aware that every entrepreneur – even the experienced – sometimes feels insecure.

The one question that Oprah hears most often after interviews is a version of, “Was that okay?” “How was I?” And she’s interviewed all of world leaders, successful athletes, and CEOs – all of whom we consider to be pretty confident on the outside.

This proves that self-confidence is not something you have to feel around the clock to be successful. As long as you can access it when you need it, everything is fine.

4. Separate your inherent value from your business success.

Linking your own worth to (or lack of) success in your business is easy. But they are two different things. You are born with an inherent value – you don’t add anything to it or remove it over time, and nothing you do can change that.

See your successes and failures in your company differently. If you fail at something, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means that you may have to rearrange or change your business.

5. Work with a coach.

If you are still struggling with imposter syndrome, it can be helpful to work with a coach as they can find the cause of why you are feeling this way. For example, you may find that you have a lot of perfectionist tendencies. Or, they may see you telling each other outdated stories about why you can’t be successful and help you break them down so that they no longer have any power over you. Trainers are trained to spot your blind spots and have tools that can help you change the way you view yourself or a situation in your life.

Agatha Brewer is the founder of Agatha Brewer Coaching, where she works with new entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their business. She combines more than 15 years of experience in digital marketing and her coach training (Whole Person Certified Coach®) to help new business owners to implement their ideas from their heads into reality, create the right strategic foundations and solve all mental blocks, that stand in their way.

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