Thanks to my mum, I’ve inherited an entrepreneurial streak and a strong work ethic, but by nature, I’m quite shy and reserved.
But, in 2016, when I found myself in a feminine care aisle, wholly disappointed by the choice of products on offer, I decided to start a business to tackle that problem. Called WooWoo, it offered an all-natural range of feminine health, self-care and pleasure products.
My vision was to create a brand and range of products with purpose and to start open and bold conversations on ‘care down there’ that would help tackle societal norms and taboos around feminine care. I wanted the company to play a part in closing the pleasure equality gap.
But, when I first set it up, I finally had to tackle another problem: my imposter syndrome. Anyone who knows me well knows what a monumental journey of self-discovery it took to get me to the point of launching the business.
Putting myself out there in the early days for meetings with a roomfull of investors and potential retailers was excruciating. Looking back now, despite the absolute blind faith I had in the concept, like many female entrepreneurs getting over my imposter syndrome was my first and biggest battle.
I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have self-confidence and belief in yourself and your idea. If you don’t, how can you convince a room full of potential investors or retailers to take a risk on you and your business?
If like me you suffer from imposter syndrome, here are my top tips on how to tackle those inner demons. While I’m not a psychologist, these are just the ways I’ve found worked for me.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
If you’re a shy and reserved person like me, try channelling a bolder and braver alter ego in situations you know you’ll find challenging. Picture your alter ego in your head, for example: Wonder Woman. When you have to do something that seems scary, get yourself into alter ego mode and act the part in your alter ego’s mindset.
Believe in You
I work in the retail sector, which is intense and not for the faint-hearted. I love it, but you need to be ballsy and never undervalue yourself or your brand and product. I’ve walked away from big potential retail partners as the profit margins were just too squeezed. If you’re not naturally confident, do whatever you need to do to get there. I’ve found that what works for me is a combination of spinning classes, practising my Miracle Morning Routines and some serious Amy Cuddy Power Posing.
You need to have absolute faith in yourself and what you can bring to a role or what your business can bring to an industry. I received a lot of ‘no’s in the early days of launching WooWoo, but I truly believed in the concept as I’d interviewed over 2,500 women and had designed our range around what they said they’d needed. Several years later, with our products stocked in multiple high street and online retailers across the UK, Europe and Australia, a tribe of loyal brand fans would suggest we were right.
Lean in and Ask for Help
Stepping into a new role or setting up your own business can be a daunting experience. One of my critical pieces of advice is to have a good support network, whether that be a mentoring group, or even just a group of family, friends and colleagues who you can go to for advice. They’ll know you better than anyone else and will always have your back, and offer you sound advice and support.