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Feeling Like an Impostor? Here are 8 Tips to Cope

3-minute read

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome can be a mental struggle, but you can work through it, like this woman at her computer is doing.
Mariah Bliss

Mariah Bliss

25 July 2019

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Starting a small business is exciting, but it often takes time for things to get going.

If you’re dealing with impostor syndrome while building up your new business, don’t worry — you’re not alone! I’m happy to share the eight tips that I’ve used while building up my own small biz.

8 Tips to Cope with Impostor Syndrome

  1. Treat Your Small Business as a 9-to-5 Job

    When you go in with the mindset of treating your small business as seriously as you would a corporate role, you feel more legitimate about what you’re doing. Even when I have days where I can’t put attention on my small business, I make up for it by scheduling a block of time dedicated to the work.

    Also, when you have the mindset that this is your 9-to-5 job, you feel better about what you’re doing. Naturally, you may find yourself becoming better at being organized and on top of things. If you aren’t organized, make that a priority. For example, keep track of your tasks with a checklist. Go over everything that needs to be done, and then prioritize. At the end of the day, check off what you’ve accomplished and give yourself a pat on the back.

    Remember this too: You are now the founder and CEO of your own business, and that is a great accomplishment.

  2. Find a Coach

    Working with either a life coach or a business coach (or both) can help when it comes to impostor syndrome. First, it can give you a boost of confidence to have someone else assure you that you’re on the right path. Second, if things aren’t working out and you’re panicking, having an outsider can help spot easy fixes.

    The other reason to have a coach is that they probably know how to help you specifically deal with impostor syndrome and can provide you a plan to overcome it.

  3. Do One Thing for Your Business Every Day

    Some days you’ll be exhausted and lacking the motivation to get any work done. To avoid feeling guilty and like a failure, choose just one thing you can do every day. For example, I will look at my social media calendar and update it with at least one thing. This helps me to feel proactive, even when I’m only able to do the bare minimum. You might make a single social media post or phone call and then rest. That’s OK. You aren’t expected to be perfect, but if there are more days when you lack motivation rather than feeling excited to work, you should rethink the path of an entrepreneur (or your small business idea).

  4. Take Care of Yourself

    Sometimes the impostor syndrome can indicate that there’s something else going on emotionally. Becoming more self-aware can help you realize when you need more positivity in your life, or when you should seek counsel from a professional (such as a therapist).

    Taking care of yourself also involves caring for your body; if you’re feeling sick, see a doctor. If you aren’t feeling 100%, your work can suffer as well. And if your business isn’t doing well because of your performance, that won’t help you cope with impostor syndrome.

  5. Fake It Till You Make It

    I know you’ve likely heard this phrase before. The thing is, while you may think other business owners are confident (and therefore you feel like an impostor because you lack confidence), some people pretend they’ve got it together. If you show up every day believing you’re a super successful business owner, you’ll start seeing evidence of it happening.

    In other words, your positive energy will boost your work — and most of all, it will help you overcome impostor syndrome.

  6. Self-Awareness

    In order to overcome something, you need to recognize when it’s happening. So when you notice the thoughts and feelings associated with impostor syndrome, use that time to shift to positive thinking.

  7. Focus on Your Product or Service

    One of the best ways to distract yourself is by working, and also by focusing on developing your product or service. Let’s say you’re a new contractor, and your first project is to help remodel someone’s basement. When you start noticing negative self-talk and feelings of impostor syndrome, turn your focus to how you can do your best work with the project. What do you need to transform your customer’s basement? Consider the best quality materials as well as how you can improve your workmanship.

  8. Develop Yourself

    It’s difficult to feel like an impostor when you have a lot going for you. Even if you consider your trade to be simple and straightforward, your job isn’t entirely who you are. Though it is wise to gain new skillsets for your career and small business, you should also explore external opportunities. Think about other interests that you have; what are some activities you can pursue?

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Mariah Bliss

Written by

Mariah Bliss

I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!

Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.

This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer

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