It is great to be able to turn your hobby or passion into a full-time occupation. The idea of giving the old two-fingered salute to a much-despised boss, pettifogging bureaucracy and irritating colleagues is living the dream for many of us. Even so, those who have made the switch may have escaped the corporate gaol, but can still feel as if they are on the run and about to be recaptured.
‘When will they find me out?’ That haunted phrase rattles anxiously around the brain of many a business owner, particularly at networking events. Although Imposter Syndrome, the fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’, happens to the employed too – with more folk than ever starting to work for themselves (whilst secretly worrying if they made the right move) I.S. is becoming increasingly common.
When times are tough it is easy to ruminate on whether you are capable of coping with the capricious ups and downs of being your own boss. And that is where the doubts creep in. ‘Am I good enough?’ In my experience, it is mostly female entrepreneurs who think they may have somehow tiptoed into business under false pretences. I’m sure some guys feel this way too – maybe it is just that women are better at owning up to the feeling?
I find this cropping up regularly in my role as a Business Communication Coach, especially when it comes to teaching folk how to build confidence when presenting in public: blowing their own trumpet about their business products or showing off their superior services. It’s partly a Brit thing; we like to be known as modest and self-deprecating, in fact, it’s bordering on discourtesy to succeed in the UK today! However, Britain is still a nation, if not of shopkeepers, certainly of entrepreneurial spirit and guts. So, what can we do to prevent Imposter Syndrome stealing our success when we least expect it?
- Get used to talking about the benefits rather than the practicalities of what your business does. Join local network groups and see how others do it. Practice introducing yourself warmly and openly, smile often and don’t be too quick to rush into sales spiel. Most folk like a little ‘getting to know you’ foreplay before hopping into business bed with you.
- Offer to speak at events and seminars. That way you get your message across to everyone, not just the two or three that you bumped into over a cup of execrable conference coffee. Don’t be put off by not having much (any!) public speaking experience, it is an art that can be learned – just like any other business skill.
- Above all, remember why you started your business in the first place; if you are great at what you do, don’t hide behind false modesty. Look back on testimonials and thank you letters to boost your confidence and use them in promotional literature to blow your trumpet for you (always with the provider’s permission of course).
Your Reaction: If you want to use your networking time wisely and speak up in the introduction/guest speaker slots more confidently then contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team. We can arrange 1:1 relaxed, informal but informative coaching sessions to help you (your team) achieve a more positive impact within your networking circuit.