Imposter Syndrome: Starting a Startup When You Don't Know What You're Doing
So maybe you feel like a fraud.
Let’s just cut to the chase. You’re normal. Facing some self-doubt when starting your business comes with the territory. You’re NOT an imposter. You’re someone with a dream that will figure it out as you go! Okay? So ditch the feeling like you need to know it all. Every day in your business you will learn something new! That’s what makes it fun, right?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your own business (and how to escape that negative self-talk)!
Know that it’s OK not to know it all.
Like I mentioned before…on what planet does a person know EVERYTHING there is to know about business, or specifically, your business? Probably THEIR planet, if they have an out of control ego. But let’s get real for a minute. We can’t know everything, and honestly, would you WANT to? The journey is the best part! If you look at your business each year, you’ll notice growth, wins, losses and a heck of a lot of perspective! You can’t jump into business year one and make $1mil (unless you’re really lucky or know something most of us don’t). It takes work!
Wait? When am I allowed to call myself an entrepreneur?
Whenever you want to. That’s really what it comes down to, having the guts to declare it to the world. Some people do this after ten years of dabbling in business, or 10 minutes after their very first genius idea. Entrepreneurship isn’t something you need a college degree to pursue, in fact, many of the most successful business gurus didn’t go to college at all. And they still call themselves business owners! It’s not the title, it’s the amout of work you’re going to pour into your startup that matters!
Don’t worry about other people’s opinions!
I get it. It’s super awkward. You don’t know what your family or friends will say, or if they’ll judge you or criticize your work. And maybe they will (mainly because that’s already what they love to do). Here’s the thing, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, THAT becomes FAR more important than anything anyone has to say about it. Spread the love…I promise the world will make a place for you.
I don’t have a big budget.
Nope, not buying it. Let me let you in on a secret. There are people starting hugely successful businesses and they do it on a budget of ZERO. Does money buy more opportunities for most? Absolutely! But not having a big budget just means that you have to be more creative and find other ways of getting things done!
I JUST started my business last year! I have no clue what I’m doing!
Yes, you DO! Are you continually improving yourself? I mean, you’re reading this article, so that means you’re working harder than most. Do you read everything there is to read about your business sector? Have you invested a boatload of money and time into your business? Then you DO have a clue, and those clues are growing by the second. When you do what you love and pour your soul and time into your passion, you’ve already won the battle.
But I didn’t get a degree in business! I’m a fake!
I’d guess that 75% of entrepreneurs don’t have formal training in business (like an MBA). BUT, let me remind you that you’ve probably spent money on courses, training, watched an absurd amount of YouTube videos, have purchased 59,395 books, and have spent time reading things online. I’d argue that it’s MORE valuable than a college degree because YOU had to do it without prompting from a professor that gave you a hard date on when to turn in an assignment. Street hustle, having skin in the game and learning about failure the hard way, is FAR more valuable than a piece of paper, my friends. A degree doesn’t put in the work, YOU DO!
What does help are things like international incubators that will allow you to meet with other emerging entrepreneurs! CEU iLab offers one of the most unique opportunities in Europe to meet with REAL successful business pioneers that will share their knowledge and help your business! Make sure to check out next incubator!
Success is NOT about making the most money. I promise you.
Success is about the following:
- The love you have for your work.
- HUSTLE. Straight up working hard for what you want.
- Persistence. Not giving up in the face of repeated failures.
- Courage to do what you love and take risks (even in the face of criticism or judgment).
- Treating every client/customer as a friend and making SURE their experience is top-notch.
- Knowing when to shift when something isn’t working, and try something new.
- Being open to new ideas.
- BEING yourself. In a world where everyone is copying one another, people who stand out, do so for a reason.
You’ve got this. You ARE an entrepreneur. You’re allowed to be here and to do what you love for money. Keep going, friend! Remember that this is YOUR life, and at the end of it, you’ll be disappointed for all the things you DIDN’T go after, versus the things you DID.