What is the imposter syndrome in entrepreneurship?

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Understanding the imposter syndrome in entrepreneurship

The imposter syndrome is the tendency to feel like you don’t belong in a particular setting – you are an imposter that has somehow snuck into the setting. It can make you feel isolated, as though everyone else is better qualified for the situation and you lack the necessary credentials that others have. 

In the entrepreneurship environment, this is common. It is easy to look around and see others and believe that you don’t have the necessary experiences that others have. This is a dangerous tendency – the truth is that everyone at one point was a first-time entrepreneur, and they too may be feeling like an imposter.

The danger of the imposter syndrome

The danger caused by the imposter syndrome is that you don’t feel cut out for being an entrepreneur. You put it off, thinking others are better than you. Rather than seeing entrepreneurship as being something that you can gradually get more experienced in, the tendency can cause a reluctance to reach out to others and gradually build your skills. The fear of being judged, and caught as an imposter that somehow snuck in may make you hesitant to actually take the steps that may be needed for your business to prosper.

Causes of the imposter syndrome

Some of the reasons why entrepreneurs can feel like imposters include:

  • First time going through the startup process
  • Entrepreneurship requires developing knowledge in multiple different areas
  • No formal pathway – no qualification or specific requirements
  • Comparisons to the mega-successful founders