Tackling Imposter Syndrome as a sole founder
Building a business is hard. In this blog, we go through a number of different tactics to help unstick you when things get difficult and you’re worrying about where to go from here.
Building a business is hard. That’s probably not news to you if you’re reading this, but sometimes I think that people really gloss over just how hard it can be.
When you decide to build something of your own, whether it’s part time until it’s stable enough to be full time, whether it’s raising capital so you can have a team from day one, however you do it you have moments of doubt. And if it gets strong enough, you can get entirely overwhelmed and not know which way to turn, so you get stuck.
So what can you do when doubt hits you and starts paralysing you?
In this blog, we go through a number of different tactics to help unstick you when things get difficult and you’re worrying about where to go from here.
- Talk it out
- Pick a task, any task
- Fake it
- Write a blog post about it
- Take a break
Talk it out
I know, but honestly this is often one of the most powerful things you can do. Find someone who cares about you but has absolutely zero investment in your business, but understands how businesses work. This is important, because sometimes the right answers are to pivot entirely, or walk away from a particular feature or service you were trying to build. Someone who is relying on income from you or the business might not be able to be objective (just like sometimes you can’t, because it’s yours).
Talk honestly, openly and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, the worries we have are entirely self-fabricated. Sometimes they’re totally justified and we need to manage the risk. Sometimes we are avoiding another thing altogether. These things are really hard to identify without a neutral party. And they’re especially hard if you’re in crisis mode. This is where you have real needs that aren’t being met, and now you’re panicking. This is where bad decisions get made, so do your utmost to move away from crisis mode, and into action mode.
Pick a task, any task
Decision fatigue can often be one of the major hurdles for solo founders or small teams. You’re wearing so many hats, there are just always so. many. things. to. Do.
One of my personal faves is to just choose a task that I know is important, put on a 30 minute timer and just start. This can be really helpful to kick start your brain back into action (so picking an easy task is helpful here) and then you can get onto bigger things.
This one is tricky as there is a very fine line between faking it and deceiving people / lying. BUT if you’re very new or struggling to get customers, find ways to build case studies or social proof that don’t rely on paying customers. It could be doing a couple of pro bono jobs in exchange for a detailed testimonial, or a knowledge share with another company. However you decide to go about it, the objective is to be able to showcase what you can do, so that prospective customers can see it and pay you for it.
Write a blog post about it
*cough* this definitely isn’t what I’m doing right now *cough*. If content creation is something you do as part of your marketing process, sit and make something about this situation. There are so many of us trying to build something out in the world, and you are NOT alone. Someone else feels this way too. It’s totally normal and isn’t spoken about enough.
So, even if you don’t put it anywhere, write / talk / record / draw about it. You never know what inspiration might come out of it.
Take a break
Walking away from your computer or out of your workspace, even just for 5 minutes can be so helpful. Put on a song and dance, take a pet for a walk or just go for one yourself, stretch on the floor for a few minutes. Whatever it is, make sure it’s totally away from work, just for a second. Your brain sometimes needs a different environment to think things through from other angles.
If you’re also struggling with imposter syndrome or just not sure where to go next in your journey, let's chat!