Imposter syndrome can strike at the most unlikely times – it is crippling. In fact, it can make you feel inadequate, like a fraud, or just not good enough.
Creative entrepreneurs experience this often, especially edupreneurs who package and sell information (e.g. online course creators). However, while every entrepreneur will feel this at some point, by no means does it have to cripple your efforts.
In this article, I’ll share 11 ways to beat self-doubt and imposter syndrome as an edupreneur — specifically a course creator. (However, this advice has wide application for most entrepreneurs.)
Overcome imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome kicks in when we spend more time focusing on the things we don’t have and can’t do, instead of all of the things that we do have and can do. Here is a simple fact: it is impossible to know everything about a topic.
Yet, imposter syndrome overwhelms us when we start:
comparing ourselves to others
assuming someone else must be an “expert” in order to be worthy of the title
There is so much information (e.g., research, data, opinions, studies, theories, ideas, discussions and more) out there. It is not humanly possible to keep up with and retain all of that information.
We’re all an expert to somebody
As a course creator, you have a wealth of valuable content and expertise to share, even if you don’t know what it is yet. You have expertise that other people don’t have yet. It could be cooking, communicating, a professional or academic skill, a passionate hobby or a unique talent. However, people are not going to praise you or give you awards for all of the stuff you don’t know, or for keeping everything that you do know locked up in your head.
You see, we are all an expert to somebody. We all have abilities that exceed someone else’s. When you accept the fact that you are an expert, all you need to do is tell people what you know. Teach them how they can know and do it too. That’s it!
Here are 11 tips to help you manage imposter syndrome and overcome self-doubt when your creating online courses (or just about anything).
1. Focus on what you know
Remember that you have a message. Your knowledge is invaluable to others; it has the power to transform lives, businesses and industries – as well as your own business and bottom line; if only you’d just unleash it!
2. Your business depends on it
Downloading knowledge from your brain and sharing with others is the highest converting method to build a strong and viable business. This is the true essence of edupreneurship — educating others in a commercially profitable manner. It’s business, where everyone’s a winner.
3. It doesn’t have to be perfect
Make the most of what you do have now – you can share what else you learn later. Don’t think you have to wait until you have the perfect recipe, or have attained all of the knowledge on the planet. First of all, not only is that entirely impossible, but you couldn’t share it all in one blog post, workshop or video tutorial anyway. Start sharing the bits you’re most comfortable with in a way that is the quickest and easiest for you.
4. Tap into your abundance
You got to where you are in life today, by learning a few things. Start by listing 100 things you think other people should know. It could be insights you discovered in practice; through formal or informal training, through life experience, something you read or saw on TV; or something you heard someone else talk about – anything. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to share.
5. Make the most out of your content
You don’t have to have a bottomless well of content to share. You just have to learn to share what you do know in as many ways as possible. For example, break your knowledge down into micro topics. Then share it in multiple formats (e.g., blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, etc.). If you missed something, or learned something new later, then share an update later. Never wait – just share it.
6. You don’t have to be famous
You don’t have to be a globally proclaimed authority to add value, share expertise and help others. You simply have to share information about what you do know with someone who doesn’t yet know something. There are 7.2 billion people in the world, so your chances of finding a few are pretty high.
7. Lessons learned are lessons to give
Remind yourself that you’ve learned a lot so far. Don’t think you have to be the stereotypical success story to be able to guide and teach others. In fact, you will have endless lessons to share from your mishaps and mistakes. There truly is as much of a market for “what not to do” as there is for “what to do.” It’s your job and purpose in the world to help people acquire new knowledge to make their lives and businesses better.
8. They will love you when you help them
Educating others in your industry automatically positions you as the good guy … the helper, the guru. Disseminating helpful information makes people trust you, like you, want more from you, become grateful to you – and want to pay you for more. Everyone has a message and level of expertise. All you have to do is see your expertise as a valuable and saleable resource that is needed by others.
9. Share your personal journey
If you have achieved success in something or survived an experience or situation, you can teach others how you personally overcame it or acheived results. Nobody can say you are wrong, incorrect or insufficient in your explanation because you are basing your training on what you did, how you see it and what you have used to get your unique results.
10. Check you’re alignment
There is a difference between being afraid and being totally out of alignment. Putting yourself out to the world, especially if this is your first time, is scary. If you don’t have the tiniest bit of apprehension then maybe you don’t care enough.
Fear, when utilized in the right way, is healthy. Fear makes you check and double check that you are delivering the best of your abilities. However, if you’re feeling dread (i.e., something you simply don’t enjoy whatsoever) then it’s likely you are going down the wrong path entirely. Perhaps you should reconsider where the self-doubt is coming from.
11. Always reflect on these things
There is no greater affirmation of your innate abilities than showing yourself that you have the answers to questions others are asking. And then they come back to you with gratitude and enlightenment. But sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes you fail. When you do, reflect on:
why you started
what you love
all of the people over the years you have helped
the stuff you know that is super helpful to others
how you can make a positive difference in the lives of more people
the fact that you are a good person
The more you give, the more everyone gets.
While self-doubt can be crippling, it doesn’t have to control you. So, say goodbye to self-doubt and start creating.
The greatest barrier to our own success, is feeling like we are not good enough. But the world’s biggest failure has the most lessons to share.
This article has been edited.
A three-time international number one best-selling author, TV host, Podcaster, qualified educator and professional speaker.’ Huffington Posts’ ‘Top 50 Must-Follow Female Entrepreneur for 2017’. 11 years in business & education, over 7,000 students in 130 countries and multiple awards – Sarah Cordiner combines education and entrepreneurship as the EDUpreneur’s internationally acclaimed leader in ‘profitably educating your marketplace’. If you would like, qualified educator and e-learning strategist, Sarah Cordiner to help you transition your course or employee training into online learning, contact her today. Connect with @CordinerSarah on Twitter.