Have you ever heard about the imposter syndrome? You know, this feeling we have when we doubt our skills, when we consider that we are not enough experienced and illegitimate towards our prospects or clients – as an “imposter”, a “fraud”, ready to be exposed. Today, I want to share my experience as an entrepreneur and my fight against this imposter syndrome.
When we set up a business, one of the first things we do is defining our prices. I can see myself at the early stages of Salted Limón, researching on Google “how to price my services?”. Sure, Google helped me with useful answers – incomplete though. The actual question to ask is: what is the value of my work? And there, it struck me! I was facing the imposter syndrome.
“If I apply these prices, nobody will buy my services”
“Who am I to offer services at that price?”
“I’ve just created my company, am I legit?”
Here was the king of thought I had. So I offered a lot of discounts to be sure to sign contracts, thinking it was the best way to grow my business. But at the end of the day, as you can imagine, it was actually the best way to fail!
How to know your value?
Do you think that you are paid enough? As an employee or an entrepreneur, we often feel like we are underpaid. However, it’s clear that nobody will pay you what you worth. They will only pay you what they think you worth. And that’s a huge difference. It means it is our role to communicate our value and change the other’s perception of our work, so he can understand our legitimacy as well!
We must stop depreciating our work by saying things like “I have a small communication agency”, “oh, it’s not much, anybody can do it”. The way we talk about our company affects the perception of others. Whether it is to our friends or a perfect stranger, let’s get into the habit of communicating our value when we are talking about our projects.
To do so, we need to fully understand our value and the fair price we should ask for our work.
At this point, I had to clear my mind and remember where I come from. I followed the appropriate studies; I graduated with success and then started to work as an employee. All along, I met professionals in communication and graphic design, in different kind of company, with various clients and expectations. My professional career as it is certifies my experience. Plus, reviews and feedbacks of my former co-workers or managers and now my clients prove even more my value. And we all can agree on the fact that a happy client is a client who comes back. Here is my value, here is my expertise, and I am fully legit!
So… Why this imposter syndrome?
If I am confident in my skills, confident in my expertise, why do I still doubt?
I truly think that the doubt is encouraged by the new role of being an entrepreneur. Becoming our own boss is a dream for a lot of people. But we don’t necessarily think at first that there is a huge difference between these two worlds. Indeed, to be an employee means that your work ends when you go home. You have a certain safety, a comfort zone where people tell you what to do, what they are expecting of you. Your day is clearly defined with fixed hours. But becoming self-employed shakes our habits. We then need some time to adjust, to learn or new rhythm, the way we actually function on our own.
Also, these new habits come with a lot of new responsibilities. The survival of our business is now depending on us. We have to be on top of things. But sometimes, this coat feels a bit too large to wear. And I think that’s the imposter syndrome. We need to learn to take our place in this new coat, to fill the space completely. In other words: trust yourself!