60% of women put off starting a business due to Imposter Syndrome 

According to recent research carried out by Nat West, 60% of women put off starting a business due to Imposter Syndrome. This stat is alarmingly high, so what can be done about this?

What is Imposter Syndrome? 

Firstly, let's be clear about what Imposter Syndrome is. According to the Oxford dictionary Imposter Syndrome is 'the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skill'.

So why is the statistic so high for women? Men surely suffer from Imposter Syndrome too?

The reality is that both genders suffer from Imposter Syndrome and it would be unwise to suggest this is a female only challenge however the responses between the genders are quite different.

Men will experience feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence and will tend to move through these feelings and will keep going in spite of these feelings. Women on the other hand tend to be more held back by a lack of confidence and are less likely to take the plunge and start their own business.

More needs to be done to support new and aspiring female entrepreneurs particularly with such a volatile economic and political landscape. We need diversity, creativity and innovation now more than ever so what support is available?

NatWest have launched #OwnYourImposter campaign, which aims to support aspiring female entrepreneurs by building confidence to start or grow their business, which is encouraging.

So what can we do ourselves to tackle Imposter Syndrome? 

Here are 5 top tips:

1. Create a vision for your business

Whether you are just starting out, have achieved a good level of growth or yet to take the plunge, your vision should inspire yourself and others. 

Think about what your mission is, what your purpose is and connect with that feeling of why you are doing this. Get inspired by your mission and believe in the fact that you are actually already making a positive impact to your customers. For those who are thinking about starting a business, what does success look like for you? Getting excited is all part of the process.

2. Be kind to yourself

It's important to distinguish feelings from fact. Negative self-talk is largely based on feelings, our own feelings based on zero evidence to back this up, so why do we torture ourselves? 

Be kind to yourself and acknowledge how you speak to yourself. Would you speak to a friend or family member in the same way. Instead what positive words can you use to encourage positive self-talk. 

Positive affirmations are a great way to quieten down that negative self-talk, try 'My possibilities are endless, today I am going to achieve great things or I'm proud of myself'

3. Build up your support network

Setting up and running your own business can be a lonely affair and particularly when we face insecurities we don't have the support in place that organisations would ordinarily be able to provide. Facebook and LinkedIn are great for finding like-minded peer support groups. 

Meet-up is also great for networking, both virtually and now in real life. By joining communities of like-minded people, you'll benefit from having access to a diverse, inspiring and creative support network that can help you get through those tougher days and in turn you'll have a chance to pay it back by supporting others.

4. Strive for excellence, not perfection

Brene Brown talks about the unhealthy nature of perfectionism and instead what we should strive towards in excellence. As an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur you'll make mistakes, it's par for the course however when we strive for perfectionism, we hold ourselves up to unrealistic, unachievable and unsustainable standards. 

Instead we should focus on being comfortable with iterating, testing, measuring and learning as a continuous cycle, we then build our business through customer insights rather than our own untested assumptions.

5. Get a mentor

There are so many people that have walked the path we are on. Mentoring has been around for a number of years and many successful people have employed mentors as a way to accelerate learnings and take on board useful tips and advice. Look at someone who has achieved success in the type of products or services you operate in, how did they overcome obstacles? what did they do differently? A mentor can be invaluable to you and your business.