The definition of the term “imposter syndrome” has become practically common knowledge. It’s easy to feel insufficient when other people’s success on social media sows seeds of self doubt. When we look at other people and see all of their achievements, we look at what we have and feel like we’re not enough.
This sense of self-doubt plagues entrepreneurs especially. While many struggle with imposter syndrome in the office, entrepreneurs struggle with so many more variables that encourage self doubt. It’s easy to tie your worth to the income you pull each month when you don’t rely on a paycheck.
So how do we as entrepreneurs deal with self doubt? How do we move forward through our insecurities?
Here are five ways you’ll find will help you deal with self doubt you experience as a business owner.
1. Let Your Self Doubt Enlighten You
Self doubt doesn’t need to be something we run from. If you can explore this feeling of self doubt without letting it consume or paralyze you, you might discover some essential insights into your psyche.
Forbes publisher Rich Kalgaard wisely said, “When properly managed, it can help combat complacency and improve our preparation and performance. It drives us to question results, experiment with new strategies, and be open to alternate ways to solve problems.”
While we don’t enjoy the feeling of pain, it alerts us to something that’s wrong with our body. It’s our body’s warning system; once it sends us an alert, it’s our job to discover the source and correct it.
Do the same thing with self doubt.
Where is this feeling coming from? In what areas do you feel the most doubt? Is it something you can control? Can you improve your skills to better handle it?
Once you find out where that feeling comes from, you can address it. If you can’t narrow down where the self doubt points to, question that doubt. If it doesn’t have a source or explanation, why should you let it hold you back?
2. Untie Your Worth from Your Income
It is so easy to use income and profit as a sign of success when you’re an entrepreneur. Months you made the most were the best months, right?
But were they?
Sure, maybe you had an amazing fiscal month in September. You made $5,000 more than you usually do. How did you manage that?
Maybe you sold a lot of inventory because you had a great back to school marketing campaign.
Or maybe you got a new client that’s completely toxic and destroyed your mental health.
What does success look like? And does it have to be dollar signs?
Why did you start your own business? Why don’t you just take a job with a steady paycheck? If money and security is the most important thing to you, then owning your own business doesn’t make sense.
If you opened your own business to follow a passion, then measure your success by when you feel most connected with your craft. Not when you made the most money.
3. Pursue New Knowledge
Sometimes self doubt comes from not knowing something. We feel insecure because we don’t know enough about a certain topic.
What if you tried to learn more about it?
You don’t have to become an accounting expert in order to not have a panic attack when you think about bookkeeping. But taking the time to learn more about the subject will make you more confident when it’s time to face it in the future.
You don’t even have to learn something necessarily related to your business. The act of learning and mastering new skills can bring you more confidence in your self reliance. So whether you want to learn more about the printing process or you want to take up ax throwing, put yourself out there and try something new.
4. Outsource Your Insecurities
Sometimes no amount of practice can make you an expert in something. If your brain just isn’t wired for numbers, doing taxes can cause a lot of stress.
If it’s within your budget, outsource the tasks you don’t need to do. As entrepreneurs, we have this sense that we need to do it all. When we don’t muscle through every hurdle on our own, we feel it’s a sign of weakness.
However, if you look at it from a practical standpoint, it just makes more sense to hand those tasks over. The expert will get it done in significantly less time and that buys you more hours in the week to do what you excel in.
If you’re an Etsy seller and love to make handmade mugs but struggle to do product photography, hiring a product photographer can completely change your workflow. No more putting off listing new products simply because you don’t feel confident enough in your photography skills. And now you can spend the most time actually making more product. You not only practice self compassion this way, you’re also just making a smart move for your business.
5. Remind Yourself Why You Do This
While some entrepreneurs skyrocket to financial success, entrepreneurship is by no means a get rich quick scheme. There’s probably a deeper reason you chose this path for yourself. Were you following a passion? You wanted to build something you were proud of? You wanted to maintain your independence?
Think about why you started on this journey. Think about what inspired you to become an entrepreneur. Whenever you doubt yourself, remember why you started and how far you’ve come.
Overcome Self Doubt
We all deal with self doubt. Anyone who says they have never once doubted themselves is either lying or needs to be examined as a psychological anomaly. If self doubt is holding you back, try to let it teach you something. Learn to examine and grow from your insecurities. It’s how we grow as entrepreneurs.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.