4 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome as an Entrepreneur

how to overcome imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur
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As wonderful as it is to be a creative entrepreneur, it can also be an emotional rollercoaster thanks to imposter syndrome. One day you feel unstoppable – clients are signing you left and right – and the next day you may feel like no one’s going to hire you again. We all have that little voice whispering doubts and making us question our ability to own a business. After sitting down with one of my photography mentors on my podcast, I learned two things:

  1. Impostor syndrome sneaks up on us all, at every level of business
  2. Not enough people are talking about it

So, if you find yourself nodding along to that podcast episode, keep reading. I’ll give you our best tips to overcome impostor syndrome as a creative entrepreneur.

First, let’s go over what imposter syndrome looks like

When you think of imposter syndrome, you probably think of feeling like you’re not good enough. I wish the signs were cut and dry. Truth is, impostor syndrome doesn’t always wave a big red flag when it arrives. Sometimes, it really is the quiet voice that makes you question yourself. Those are the more obvious signs.

Other Obvious Signs:

  • You may shy away from pitching to a dream client because you feel you’re not big enough yet
  • You don’t apply for an award because you think others are more deserving

But imposter syndrome also has less obvious signs. 

Less Obvious Signs:

  • You may bury yourself in “busy work” to the point that you don’t outsource or take the actions necessary to grow your business
  • Maybe you continue to charge less for fear of raising your prices and losing clients

Do any of these sound like you? These are all signs of self-doubt. Whether the signs are obvious or subtle, they leave you feeling horrible about yourself and worse off in business. You feel beat down by your own brain. You start making choices that stunt your growth. That’s why it’s so important to check in with yourself often. If you spot imposter syndrome, take steps to reverse your mindset.

How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Recognize It

The first step in overcoming impostor syndrome is to recognize it for what it is – thoughts based on our own fears and views of ourselves. That’s it, just thoughts. Often, there’s not even evidence for these thoughts. Entrepreneurs are infamous for overlooking our own achievements. Creatives are even worse because we are so connected to the work we produce. Acknowledge these feelings when they arise and label them as what they are – nerves. This recognition alone can reduce their power over you.

Put Blinders On

Have you ever seen a racehorse? They wear these big patches on the sides of their eyes. They’re blinders to prevent them from seeing the other horses around them. It keeps them focused on their own lane, so they don’t slow down. You need mental blinders that allow you to only focus on your own path. 

It’s easy to feel inadequate when you compare yourself to others, especially on social media. It’s hard to remember that social media is just a curated highlight reel of what people want you to see. But when you’re dealing with imposter syndrome, you need to put up blinders. Concentrate on your goals, your progress, and your achievements. Don’t worry about what others are or are not doing. 

I also find it helpful to mute notifications on social media from time to time. This quiets that outside noise, so you can focus on doing your own thing and only tune back in when you feel ready.

Give Yourself Wins To Build Confidence

I’m not a consistent list-maker, but I do love the power of recognizing “little wins”. Little wins are the things you can achieve daily or weekly that show your progress. When you’re dealing with negative self-thoughts, you need something to boost your confidence. Anything can be a little win, from posting consistently on social media for a week to snagging a new client. Small, achievable goals give you a reason to recognize that you’re moving the needle. Once you start racking up these wins, no matter how small they are, you’ll see a positive change in your self-confidence. 

Share Your Wins With Others

As you start to get little wins, or even big wins, it’s important to share your success with others. There’s power in what we say. Sometimes, you need to hear the things you’ve accomplished out loud to really let them sink in. Sharing your successes with friends, family, or a supportive community can wake you up to your achievements. 

But take it from me, this isn’t always easy. Sharing is actually the hardest step for me. It can feel boastful to talk about wins if you weren’t raised to do that. (I just dealt with this last week!) Sometimes you may not even realize you had a win until someone else tells you. You get so used to having high expectations of yourself that you don’t stop to realize you’ve actually been succeeding this whole time. I won’t say this makes talking about your own achievements feel normal, but it does help your confidence.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Is About Believing You’re Good Enough

Ultimately, overcoming impostor syndrome is about believing in yourself and understanding that you are good enough, just as you are. It’s about accepting that while there is always room for growth, you are already competent, capable, and deserving of your goals. And on a personal note, it’s nice to know that every entrepreneur experiences self-doubt at some point. The key is to take steps to not let it hold you back. 

If you’re struggling with self-worth issues in your business, it’s time to let them go. I have 3 openings for one-on-one coaching right now. Let’s work on getting your mindset back on track together.

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