The Imposter Syndrome and the Entrepreneur

We all suffer from 'The Imposter Syndrome' at some stage in our lives, don't we?

Unless, of course, you were born with an out of control ego and a sense of entitlement that knows no bounds, then I guess you will be happy in your own bubble of selfishness.

Yeah, we all have at least one person in mind!

Good luck to them.

I had an attack of self doubt recently and I realized quite quickly, that I needed to refresh. The first thing I did, was sit back for a day and do nothing. It really helped put things in perspective.

I was utterly floored by the accusation that I had come from nowhere and was copying the lovely Expat Chateau lot.

I had to remind myself of how long I've been doing what I do, my worth, talents and indeed how to move forward positively. Bizarrely, I had to justify my love of everything from food to interiors to myself. None of which has changed because of anyone else in 35 years.

Okay, so the comments were few and far between, but were enough to make me think seriously about giving it all up even if just for a day.

Of course I won't give up, because I'm the sort of person you tell not to do something, I will do it twice and take pictures!

Believe in yourself. I believe in me.

Absolutely, but don't believe you are 'it' and you can do 'it' all by yourself. You'll need help along the way.

'The imposter syndrome' is a great leveller, it pulls you up sharp, makes you question what you are doing, how and why? It's a good thing. It keeps you moving forward, improving yourself and stops you from being self centred.

You know what the difference between you and them is?

They simply dared to do it.

If you don't dare then you will die with your dreams still just dreams.

If you want something go for it, but be prepared to work for it, eh!

I also wish you some luck along the way. Someone to give you a lift on the way up.

Questioning your abilities, talents and skills every so often is almost like self quality control.

The imposter Syndrome is Self Help for Entrepreneurs.

Remember, If something doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.

Don't let it crowd you out though! The noise which is 'The Imposter Syndrome' must be turned down to a volume you can cope with.

You are good enough. You are doing well and you are gonna get there in the end. Keep balancing those negative vibes with some pats on the back. Look how far you've come?

Nothing is perfect. Remember that. It never will be, but keep tweaking it anyway. Make whatever you are doing the best it can be.

Take your business very seriously.

Learn about your business from others.

Are you not getting the bookings expected for your Gite?

Time to take off those rose tinted specs and live in it for a week!

Look around you? What's the competition like? Where do you fit? What's your target market?

How are the competitors bookings looking!

All booked up?

Then you are doing something wrong. Even a bag of poo marketed and presented well, will sell.

Harsh, I know.

Don't be afraid to hear the constructive criticism. Yeah it bites but don't bite back. Consider it for a moment. Those poor reviews may be warranted?

People are happy to spend their money but do expect value added. They work hard for every penny and like to spend it wisely and on something they can't always have, which is luxury.

When did you last decorate? Update the soft furnishings? They won't last forever you know.

Marketing? Don't be afraid to spend 50 quid a month on social media marketing to get your phone ringing!

I mean why wouldn't you?

Listen, you'd pay a whole heap of your profit but you won't pay FACEBOOK a dime, to access the largest collection of potential customers on earth in one place?

Build it and they will come......if they can find you!

Make sure when you do give away your profit for services, you can't actually do it yourself first!

In business, we all have periods where things don't quite go as planned. We get overwhelmed and stuck. It's okay. Rome wasn't built in a day was it?.

You speed up, run out of steam and have to slow down or worst still, stop.

It really is a rollercoaster of emotion on top of everything else and you must manage yourself and others and avoid melt downs.

If success is not coming, then what?

Re evaluate your plan?

Where are the obvious failings?

What isn't working?

Why would you keep doing what isn't working after say, a period of a year?

Can you find a mentor? Someone to help you clear some of your bad habits?

Be the boss of your own business and life, but don't be too scared to ask for help along the way.

I've learnt a lot over the years by spending a lot of time building online communities. Still, sometimes the odd throwaway hurtful comment can rock my confidence, just like everyone else.

It still befuddles me why people are mean to each other online? Why they can't simply be happy for someone's success? Whilst I've never been a fan of bragging, I don't expect folks to hide what they worked hard for either.

These days online meanness can be quite upfront, brutal or hidden in a posted quote! You read it and you wonder? Is it me they are talking about? Choose your words carefully.

Running a large online community has its moments of joy, sure, but often it's a real balancing act of personalities. I've learnt that some people just don't fit together and never will, but I won't adios one to suit the other, never have. If I've made a commitment to you, I keep it, even if that means I work with you away from others. Communities are built with all kinds of people, from all walks of life. Learning to manage and embrace these differences is key to running a successful community.

'The imposter syndrome' becomes damaging when you over evaluate yourself and your achievements. It will kill ambition dead because you won't believe you can!

Every so often, in business we hit dead ends. It is stressful and often you will throw your hands up in the air and accept defeat, don't! Most of the billionaires on this planet have been bankrupt more than once!

By becoming an entrepreneur, you are already believing in yourself, you already have fire in your belly, just don't let self doubt snuff it out.

Being a successful entrepreneur doesn't always start with money and a building. It's generally an idea, service or product. Just be sure not to make the same mistake twice. One simply cant keep throwing money at something forever with no success, without changing the game plan substantially. Learn from your mistakes.

We all have flaws. It's important to recognize them. You may be in charge, but this doesn't mean you have all the skills needed, are beyond reproach or can ride rough shod over anyone you like. Being an entrepreneur means more control, more discipline and leading by example. Don't ask people to do things in your name you wouldn't do yourself.

Balancing your chosen career path with your mental and physical health is often an issue. Entrepreneurs work longer, harder, faster days than most. It's your business and online platforms have made it nigh on impossible to switch off but you must.

No one is indispensable and you can't be awake, alert and present 24/7, you will simply crash and burn.

Pick your battles.

Move away from your desk, take it to the beach. Take a day off and make sure your work world knows you aren't going to be available. Radio silence is good. Rarely will the world collapse because you took a day off.

Diary in rest and recreation and keep those creative juices flowing. Stand up at your desk. Take your desk home or to the roof top of your building! No one said it had to be a static business, all day, everyday.

Stop travelling so much and get a bit modern eh? Use the communication platforms available to you to conference, rather than travel 50 miles each way for a one hour meeting.

I cope by writing lists and then ensuring I cut that list by half every day. You learn to prioritize.

Ask yourself, what will happen if I don't complete that task today, tomorrow, by next week?

Morning coffee is a great time to set out your day. I am an evening person. I write a list and go to bed. I sleep well because of it. I already have a plan in place and I don't need to worry.

I hold my self accountable each and everyday. I balance my physical health better than I used to, I simply don't ignore it anymore.


You are going to meet a few. The want instant fame, to ride your success without any of the work. You will learn to recognize them and stay away.

That said, have at least one anchor in your work world. Someone you can trust. Might be your partner, but I would suggest someone neutral where possible. Someone you can chew over progress and issues with. Be that anchor for other people. Accept that your colleagues have real lives beyond work and ensure that they know they and their families are important to you.

Sometimes people just don't work well together. Not every mix is a decent recipe for success. Agree to disagree and move away from each other. Speak about each other in positive terms and wish each other well. You never know, you may need each other again soon.

It's a small world. Use your gut instinct! Don't gang up on people or listen to the leader of a group without questioning him or her. Remember, people often have an agenda and you would be wise to find out what that is, before throwing your lot in with them.

Don't be afraid to be wrong, say sorry, recognize talent better than yours. Don't be afraid to give people a chance. Open your eyes wide and look at those stood in front of you in positive light. See the good, the opportunity and the oft hidden ability. Don't abuse people on the way to the top and don't look down on them either. Reach out that arm and help them up.

One thing to remember, is that France may seem huge but the Expat community is small. Be careful who you stamp on, on the way up! News travels fast and its not always kind or true.

What's that old saying?

"If you are more fortunate than others, build a bigger table not a bigger fence"?

Be kind to each other, even when reaching for the stars, for we are all imposters in our own lives.

D x

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