Let me first begin with this quote from Paul Rand, American art director and graphic designer for big-name companies like IBM, UPS, and Enron, to name a few:
“Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.”
If we all thought that way as entrepreneurs, don’t you think there’d be more startups, business ideas, products, and services in the world? You bet.
But, far too often, most people who have an itch or inkling of desire to branch out on their own and bring their dreams and concepts to life reluctantly get held back by one thing in particular: impostor syndrome.
Yup, that’s right. It’s “commonly understood as a false and sometimes crippling belief that one’s successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill.” And, many top names in business have experienced this—from Maya Angelou to Seth Godin, Sonia Sotomayor, and even Harry Potter star Emma Watson.
You see, when the dreaded impostor syndrome kicks in, it only means one thing: an impending strike on your business, and, ultimately, your confidence in selling your product or service.
Dun, dun, dun.
Let me guess… that’s one of the last things you want to happen. Am I right?
I knew it! I read your mind. So, because of that, I’m here to share how you can combat it. Overcome it. Defeat it. Conquer it. Any synonym you can think of for: crushing it and leaving it in the dust.
That way, you can regain focus on that awesome product or service of yours, and get back to winning those coveted sales.
Okay, you ready to hear those impostor-crumbling tips? Let’s get right to it…
1. Stop yourself from continuously falling into the comparison trap.
Jumping back to Paul Rand’s quote from earlier, in today’s day and age, 100% original ideas are few and far between. For example, you might have a product or service that was created to take things to the next level after learning what original product X or service X doesn’t offer that you can. You’re creating a better variation, so to speak.
Heck, think of all the options you have when standing in various aisles at your local grocery store—from the type of laundry detergent to toilet paper, oatmeal, spaghetti sauces, yogurt, and so much more. There are so many options out there for everything under the sun!
Competition is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurship and overall business world. And, in a way, it can be completely beneficial to you and your success. That said, do yourself a favor and resist the urge to continuously fall into the comparison trap.
What I mean by that is, stop reading other entrepreneurs’ income reports or post launch results. Stop focusing on the number of people they have following their social media accounts. Stop becoming infatuated with the plethora of signups they get for their product release webinars. Just stop. Stop it right now.
Once you do, instead of comparing yourself to the winners of your industry, focus on the distinct differences that help set you apart and serve as the reason why people would want to become your customer. Open your eyes to room for improvement and use their successes as a starting point to kick things up a notch. Spin the thief of joy (aka comparison) into the stepping stone for your advancements.
2. Focus on delivering value to your people.
As Kyle Eschenroeder, author on LifeHacker.com, puts it best, it’s easy to feel like a fraud when you’re uber-focused on yourself. What will people think of me? What will they think of my product or service? I don’t know nearly enough about topic X as entrepreneur X.
That’s complete garbage. That brilliant product or service concept that popped into your mind one night? Yeah, that wasn’t by accident. It was actually because you truly felt a need for it in your industry. And, you wanted to help those who stay up until the wee hours of the night searching high and low for a solution like yours.
So, focus on delivering value to your people—through the unbeatable insight and offerings you have on your side to share with the rest of the world. You’ll be well on your way to feeling like less of an impostor. And, more of an entrepreneur who has something legendary to contribute to your ideal customers.
3. Keep a record of the great things people say about your creation.
As Mark Twain once said, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” Genuine, sincere praise from people in your industry and your customers is always, always nice to hear. After all, it proves to you that you have a clue as to what it is you’re doing. And, you’re gaining momentum in achieving your goals.
Time to do a happy dance, right? Absolutely. Just be sure to avoid letting those compliments and genuine praises evaporate from your memory. Write them down. Document them. And, plaster them across your website and sales materials—from email sequences to sales letters, video sales letters, press releases; you name it.
When you do, you can quickly bring to light the number of people you’ve helped if you ever feel yourself slipping into the impostor syndrome vortex. Your testimonials are pure evidence that you’ve got wins you should be proud of!
4. Focus on what you have to say. Not what you wish you could.
Throughout all of the various pieces of copy and content you put out into the universe, one of your main goals should be to position yourself as an authority figure in your industry. Reason being, reaching authority status can seriously help your business take off into the fast lane towards one destination: success.
The problem is, many people think reaching authority status means you must know everything there is to know about your particular field or industry. The good news? That’s so far from true. As an entrepreneur, no matter what product or service it is you’re offering, you must be prepared for continuous learning. Webinars. Trainings. Conferences. Seminars. It never ends. Whatever you can attend to expand your horizons and business savvy, do it. Don’t hesitate.
Until then, focus only on the information and insight you have to share. And, avoid BS-ing your readers and ideal customers with information and insight you aren’t fully confident in. They’ll appreciate you and admire you so much more for taking that route.
5. Remember: everyone’s winging it. For the most part.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Amanda Palmer, “In both the art and business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple: the professionals know they’re winging it. The amateurs pretend they’re not.”
Yes, you probably have a solid plan. Yes, you probably have greater goals and are working towards accomplishing them. And, yes, there are probably other people out there tackling the same things as you, with a similar product or service as yours.
Yet, as much as you may think your competitors have everything together, they don’t. We all have our ups, downs, and complete 360s as entrepreneurs. It’s just a matter of learning to wing it and bring it.
Remember, the people (and competitors) you’re holding up on a pillar of success are most likely facing the same battle as you: impostor syndrome. Therefore, take these five key pieces of advice to bring back your inner superhero, and get back to selling your product or service with confidence—sans feelings of being a fraud or phony.
And, if you’re feeling lost on how exactly you can collect some testimonials that’ll boost your confidence level, be sure to get your FREE copy of Raise Your Business Street Cred: How to Swiftly Get Testimonials and Create Killer Case Studies to Lure in New Customers, delivered straight to your inbox.
Just drop your email into the box below, and you’ll get it right away!
We want to know: have you dealt with impostor syndrome? Share any tips we might’ve missed in the comments section below!