If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome as the female boss of your business and it’s starting to stall in growth, then asking the opinions of others will do nothing to change this belief or situation…
You may be tempted to think that scaling to 6-figures, or beyond, and hiring a team will make you feel more focused, confident, and competent.
The truth is, if you secretly feel like a phoney as the boss and leader (which is more common than you realise), the more you ask others for opinion, the more you’ll feel like a fraud and eventually, your business will come to a grinding halt in growth.
How most high achieving businesswomen try to solve these feelings is to ask their team for more ideas and suggestions. They’ll also start looking outside their business for answers from experts, coaches, or consultants on how to grow and scale their business. ?
And although these things are seen as helpful activities, they won’t actually help. In fact, they’ll make things even worse.
Because the more you take on other people’s ideas and suggestions about your business and customers, the more you’ll start to feel overwhelmed as the leader and director (because you won’t be sure which ideas to implement for the best return on investment), even if you’ve reached 6-figures or more.
Why does this happen?
Well, imposter syndrome is an internal experience of believing that you’re not as competent as other people perceive you to be, which can be a big problem if you have a team of people looking to you for all the answers!
But the good news is that if you’re feeling a bit like a business boss imposter, it probably means that you’ve achieved some level of success and you’re craving more.
And, because my clients have already experienced 6-figure success in their business and have taken on teams, this is something I come across on a regular basis as a reason why their business is stalling in growth.
When Imposter Syndrome strikes, it will hit your anxiety levels and self-esteem even more. You’ll start questioning your business ability, asking other people for more ideas, or your team will pick up on this, and they’ll start bombarding you with what they believe are helpful suggestions (leaving your head swimming with more questions than answers).
This vicious circle can adversely affect your business performance, meaning a levelling off of income, decreased profitability, confused team members and scattered marketing activities.
So, one thing I know for sure is that if you’re trying to make yourself feel more confident, certain, and clear about your ‘next-level’ business direction and growth strategy, and you’re looking to other people, it simply won’t work.
The reason why is called ‘imprinting’.
Imprinting takes place when a business owner believes that other people know more about their business and customers than they do (yes, it’s directly linked to imposter syndrome), and this happens when other people put their creative interpretation, ideas and suggestions and overlay them or ‘imprint’ them onto the DNA and fabric of your business.
After all, you created your business and therefore it stands to reason that it would have a shadow of your DNA attached to it – like a business blueprint of core values and preferences.
The more that other people want to ‘make their mark’ on your business, the more it will be taken off track and you’ll be giving your power away (and that will make you doubt your own abilities even more) and in the end, you’ll feel like your business growth is derailing.
What you need to do, to solve this problem, is stop looking outside yourself for answers, and instead emotionalize rather than strategize, by connecting deeper to your business (as its owner and creator), and then understanding your customers at a cellular level.
We’re talking about the “whys” rather than the “hows”.
Take Helen for example, who admitted that she felt like an imposter at the top of her multiple 6-figure graphic art prints business in London.
She had a new, young, and very enthusiastic team who were constantly asking her questions and looking for more direction. In addition to this, they were also enthusiastically giving her loads of ideas and suggestions on different aspects of sales, marketing, and promotion of the business.
This left Helen feeling like she was ‘spinning on a top’, feeling unfocused and not quite knowing what ideas and suggestions to implement for the best return on investment. She knew what she wanted for the growth of her business, she just didn’t know how to move it to that next scaling milestone, and this was providing more uncertainty for her as the business owner.
She realised that because she’d become unfocussed, this was directly impacting her team who were confused by the lack of direction. And, like a huge vicious circle, this was leaving Helen feeling like she didn’t have all the answers in her own business, and even got her questioning if she should be running it at all.
So, the first step in removing the imposter syndrome is about taking away some of the pressure you’re putting on yourself to be a perfectionist, pushing yourself too far and becoming stressed, and then to identify the gaps causing the issues in your business right now.
To achieve this, the clarity method I use with my clients helps you clear away distractions by asking what you love about your business, what you don’t love, what you want to keep and remove, who you want to work with and why. Clearing away all distractions that may be preventing your business from moving forwards and upwards in growth.
By doing this business ‘clutter clearing’ exercise, Helen could now see what was missing; how she’d become distracted, and how she’d disconnected from her business because it had become too ‘transactional’. She could also see the impact it was having on her team and how this had been fuelling her imposter syndrome.
We were now ready to move on to reconnecting and realigning her with her business, customers, and team, so she could become stronger, more focused and self-assured as a (6 going on 7-figure) business owner and leader.
So, for the second part of the process, you need to take your business from being a transactional and functional ‘machine’ and personify it (thinking of it as if it’s a person), as a living, breathing entity with a beating heart and soul. A primary relationship between you and it.
The reason for doing this is it gives you greater emotional intelligence and insight into your business core values, personality, voice, style, and preferences which will influence your ENTIRE business, sales and marketing, and customer attraction strategy.
And because you can’t have a conversation (or meaningful relationship) with a 2D business plan or strategy document, it also allows you to have a far deeper emotional connection and communication with the business your own, so you become clearer on your business positioning and all decisions you need to make for its future growth.
I had Helen visualise her business as if it was a person, getting her to describe what it looked like, how it dressed, how it spoke, what it loved, what it hated, what valued, and what it wouldn’t tolerate. I also got her to ask her business who it wanted to serve, in terms of ideal customers, and why she was the best person to own and run this particular business.
To her surprise, her business answered all her questions and more, giving her messages that reinforced why Helen had started her business in the first place, the community links that she loved and the art that she was so passionate about and the ideal type of customers she needed to attract for her next-level growth strategy.
As I guided her through this powerful process, she was shocked at the details she was receiving, but also pleasantly reassured that she was in exactly the right place, at the right time and doing the right thing.
Any doubts she had, at that moment, about her ability to run her business at that level (and beyond), just disappeared…and with it went the Imposter Syndrome.
Helen immediately started taking back control of her business by using this clarity and insight for greater strategic focus and direction of her business, without even putting pen to paper!
For instance, her website imagery (stock photos with no character) pivoted to reflect the community links, people and local artists she served. She became clearer on what her team needed to do, and more importantly, what they should stop doing, so everything was 100% in alignment with her business core values, its personality and uniqueness.
And that’s not all, because the third part of this ‘persona’ process, was getting Helen (and her team) connected to those ideal customers that her business had identified as the best people to serve and support for next-level growth.
Again, using the power of imagination and the subconscious mind (which by the way, has been taking in all that information about human behaviour since you were born) I got Helen and her team to select a particular product line and then, using a ‘customer journeying’ process, got each of them to visualise an ideal customer who would absolutely love that product range!
Taking turns, each team member gave feedback on the type of person they were visualising, and why they’d love the product range they were buying.
They visualised what the person looked like, where they lived, what their home interior looked like, their buying preferences, how much they were willing to spend, why they wanted to buy it and why it was so emotionally important to them.
By doing this exercise, Helen realised how disconnected she’d personally become from her ideal customers. As her business had grown, she’d taken on more people and there had been a greater distance between her and her customers. That’s why it had been difficult to manage and direct her in-house marketing team who were all looking to her for strong strategic direction and answers.
As for her team, they all looked a little shocked when they opened their eyes! They realised the insights they’d each given had a commonality, depth and emotional understanding that they’d never received just using paper-based (or in-person) traditional customer research methods.
They realised that their marketing, to this point, had been too ‘samey’, with identical messaging and offers to all the same customers. This exercise showed them that how to diversify (and niche) their marketing and messaging so that they could ‘speak’ to different customer groups, about different products, with different offers, in a more powerful way.
It’s little wonder that their next marketing campaign led to one of their highest sales months on record in their 10 years of trading.
As or Helen, instead of feeling like an imposter (with thoughts of ‘throwing in the towel’) Helen felt truly aligned and connected with her business, her ideal customers and her team, feeling like the strong, feminine, confident boss she was meant to be in order to lead her business and team to the next scaling milestone.
And, as for the results of the business from these insights, clarity and focus that Helen gained going through this 3-step process…
⭐30% up on revenue (huge for a larger turnover company).
⭐Her staff became more focused, self-responsible and productive.
⭐Larger client accounts (wholesale and big retailers) reached out to work with them.
⭐Customers, suppliers, and the artists they support, all became more engaged with the business because of their powerful marketing communication and alignment to its core values, increasing loyalty to their brand.
You can watch Helen talking about this in an interview I did with her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z7K5kblER8…s
What I shared above is one of the main things I address with my clients in my 6-week intensive, 1 on 1 programme that takes 6-figure female business owners from feeling stressed and unfocused, with businesses that are starting to plateau in growth, to more confident, focused and self-assured female leaders who are driving their businesses forwards and upwards to achieve their next scaling milestone.
PM me on Facebook if you’re interested in this programme and we’ll have a chat over Messenger to see if you’re a good fit; If so, we can get started straight away.