Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? If so, are there any examples you can give and tips you can share with other women on how to overcome it?

Shazia Mustafa

Founder of Third Door

I think it’s only natural to question yourself. It doesn’t matter how confident you may appear on the outside, imposter syndrome can show its face when you least expect it. The key is seeing when and how it presents itself and then trying to avoid these situations moving forward. Likewise, it’s essential to tell yourself that it’s ok not to always know the answer. The other thing I do, which I would encourage others to do, is recognise and reward. I always congratulate myself if I have done something well and call out my success (even if just in my own head), rather than always focusing on the negatives. This is a key means to negate imposter syndrome. To be quite honest, I haven’t suffered from imposter syndrome for some time. This is because I talk to myself on a daily basis to remind myself of all the amazing things I have achieved in the past decade, both through the business, and through raising three amazing children with whom I spend a great deal of time with.

Not yet, by God’s grace. I never have felt it till date.

Tatjana Apukhtina

Co-Founder of TeaPro

Of course I have. I think that in a weird way experiencing an imposter syndrome is a healthy sign. Having occasional doubts about ourselves and our abilities means that we're not narcissistic sociopaths. It also allows us to grow and work on our weaknesses. However, if the "imposter syndrome" starts giving you anxiety and hindering your growth, here is a helpful tip on how to overcome it.

When you're discussing something from your field of expertise, focus on how that particular piece of knowledge can help the other person. There might be another "guru" out there, who knows way more than you do, but whose advice might not be as helpful or relevant as yours.

Laila Datoo

Founder of a.life.more.mindful

All the time! I think with social media it's very easy to look at others and doubt yourself and your own journey. I often think "what gives me the right to talk about well-being / mindfulness" when I've not been doing it 10 years like others.

It's vital to focus on your experience, your expertise and your journey. What you can offer is unique and we need to focus on that. I think it's also powerful to link up with others in your field and combine experience rather than be threatened by it - some of my most beneficial collaborations have come from working with women who are in my field.

Rani Malik

Co-Founder of Venue 5 and Social Dhaba

no I have never experienced it

Teresa Faley

Founder of Letterbox Brownies

Yes - I often find it hard to accept compliments or praise about my business, I think this is partly because it is still in relatively early stages! For example, I recently won the Harrow Business Den competition and that truly surprised me, despite extremely positive feedback from the judges and members of the audience, part of me felt like I didn't deserve it.

If I ever start to feel like an imposter, I just try to remind myself that the success I've experienced so far has been achieved through hard work and I shouldn't downplay my achievements.

Sarah Asgaraly

Founder of Beyond Sarah

Yes, I have doubted myself on a few occasions. When Net a Porter approached me for a collaboration, I felt under qualified and I was worried I would let them down. I had this irrational fear that they would be disappointed from the collaboration, when in fact I have exceed their expectations by closing many sales. The tips I would give is to say yes to everything because you never know what kind of opportunity you would get. Even if you feel under qualified, accept the role and learn to do it later.

Fei Yao

Co-Founder of NewCampus

Timely question :) See above. But yes – constantly. Like many other industries, I am building a company in industries traditionally built by men, and usually much older men in more established markets – education and technology. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have a place in the room – especially when you are starting out and don’t have much to back you yet. But it’s important to stick to your strengths, carve out a niche and focus on your unique insight. I may not have had the 30 years in education, nor the Silicon Valley experience behind me, but I do know what people my age in this part of the world are looking for, and I started from there.

Praneeja Roy

Founder of Roy Events

Almost everyday! It is something I am trying to work on everyday. It is impossible to not have experienced imposter syndrome when you are an entrepreneur as the journey itself can inflict lack of confidence and doubts in your ability. There are days before a big event and I cannot sleep the night before just worrying about how it will go!

There are a few ways to overcome imposter syndrome, firstly get yourself some entrepreneur buddies and a mentor/coach. I have both and it is so helpful as your friends who are not part of the same journey will not understand the struggles of running a business. Finally make it a point to do something way out of your comfort zone at least once a month.

Shabari Saha

Founder of the London Vegan Business Network

Whenever I attend business networking events, I often wonder whether I am worthy of being there, as I don’t know if I can really call myself an entrepreneur or am even cut out to be one because I am not earning the big bucks! If you are feeling the same way, the way to overcome that is to think it doesn’t matter what stage you are at, many people attending these networking events will be in the same boat and the purpose of these events are to help and support you.

Tenesia Pascal

Founder of Earth To Earth Organics


Carly Thompsett

Founder of Anaphase Store

Every so often I do get imposter syndrome – but it took me a while to even find out it was a real thing. it wasn’t until I was brave enough to speak to someone that I found out it was completely normal – I don’t get it very often but when I do, I just look back at everything I’ve achieved and it seems to do the trick.

Priya Shah

Founder of BAME in Property

I’ve sometimes attended networking events where I have so much to say but always feel embarrassed to ask a question. Ironic because now I have my own networking forum and I’m leading the conversation most of the time! When people doubt themselves, it’s usually because others have planted that idea in themselves or other people make you feel intimidated. But I’ve found that being surrounded by people who support your growth and development is key – they encourage you to believe in yourself and are your greatest champions. They really help you raise your voice.

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