Young Entrepreneur dealing with Impostor Syndrome? Here's how to deal with it
I thought I should touch up on this issue because I think it's very real for a lot of us and many will relate.
I was 22 when I first went "out" and started doing my own thing. I took on a major management role with no preparation and my ideas, logic and theoretical knowledge were the only assets that landed me the position. I had no experience, no major list of accomplishments, nothing. And that was fine at that job. I never felt I could be persecuted there because of my lack of experience. Turns out, my employer trusted me within the first month at the job and he's supported me ever since.
However, when I took the leap to open my own company, I faced a few problems.
People thought I was too young to know my stuff or too young to charge what I charge. That I was too young to know how the business world works. Too young for them to take my opinions seriously. And that caused me a temporary impostor syndrome. After bringing my former employee over £1 MILLION IN REVENUE. Singlehandedly. There are people in their 60s who haven't accomplished that and I did it by the time I was 23, in my first year in that position.
But I was still catalogued as the "website girl" or the "social media girl". Which is infuriating because that's just 1% of what we do. However, I don't even bother correcting those anymore because it won't change their opinion and in the end it's a waste of my time. You just need to learn to stop caring about everyone's opinion!
So, how did I deal with it?
You have to own your craft. Your confidence in the matter is what will make or break any future contact you make.
Don't just shut up and say nothing. But don't go overboard either. Simply walk people through what you do and why it works. That should be enough to convince them and if not.. they are not worth your time, just stop there. Don't offer free trials just for the sake of doing it. Don't undervalue your services just because you are young. Own your thing. And whomever agrees to your terms is a damn lucky person!
Accept the fact that "older people" may get the job instead of you. And in most cases, it's not because they are better prepared. Some of them will be a lot worse than you. But they have years of experience of talking a good game, a bigger network and they seem more respectable because they can brag they've been in the industry for 100 years. Very few actually stop and ask them of their real accomplishments and they don't face the scrutiny we have to face. I actually know people who've rejected me, chose someone else and they went belly up within a year. I, in turn, during that time have gained so many amazing clients who valued me, that I didn't care. The only thing that bugged me was that I lost the contracts just because I was young, even though I saw their failure coming from miles away in both cases.
People underestimate what you can learn in your 20s. Not everyone understands that learning a craft in your 20s, especially in the digital Era, can make up for the lack of a 30 year career. Let's face it: your brain is better equipped to handle new information, we're used to researching all kinds of things since we were kids, technology is something we were basically born with, we don't have any family obligations and no stress because most of us don't have any debt crippling us! Entrepreneurs in their 20s usually chose this path to pursue their passion and freedom... and money is just an added benefit. Moreover, things that mattered 10 years ago, don't anymore! Everything changes periodically. The way you do business changes, the way you advertise changes, even the products you may sell change. So all that matters is your results in the past 5 years tops!
Don't feel like you are less equipped than someone else just because you're in your 20s. It is actually a major advantage and those dream clients of yours probably see that already!
Until next time,