Business

Ep 119.  Working Through Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome as a photographer
I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

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Do you ever struggle with thoughts of feeling inadequate as a photographer?

Perhaps you don’t feel like your work is good enough or that you are worth charging more. Do you ever find yourself comparing your work to other photographers; wishing that you were further along in your business? If so my friend, you might be experiencing Imposter Syndrome.

This is something that we all experience, whether you’re a new photographer or an experienced photographer. There are times in our business where we feel inadequate and we feel less than. In today’s episode, I want to help you figure out how to work through these feelings.

These feelings will not just disappear overnight. However, I am going to share five different strategies of how you can work through these feelings.

  • Learn to value yourself
  • Lean on others for support
  • Replace jealousy with praise
  • Stay in your own lane
  • Become the expert

Having these tools in your kit to know how to handle this will be essential. You’ll be armed with the strategies to work through this, and not let it hold you back in your business. So, if you’re ready, let’s jump right in!

Five Strategies to Work Through Imposter Syndrome

Strategy #1: Learn to Value Yourself

There will always be people who don’t value the price of your sessions. There will always be people who can’t afford your sessions. That in no way means that you are not worth what you are charging.

Journaling

Anytime I am dealing with imposter syndrome, it is so helpful for me to journal out all my feelings. If you’re a believer, I always recommend pouring out your heart to God in that same way with a journal. So many any aha moments have come out of this. Many things I’ve uncovered that I never even knew were bothering. Ditch the perfection. No editing allowed. It doesn’t matter if things are spelled correctly, or if you have excellent punctuation. Just brain dump everything that is on your mind. Once you’re done, then you can back and read what you’ve written.. Be sure to pinpoint the areas in which you need to focus on.

Gratitude + Prayer

Anytime you’re going through these awful feelings of not feeling good enough, I want you to those thoughts captive and instead turn them into gratitude. If you’re a believer, I 100% recommend prayer. I have been doing this recently because I’ve just been confused about certain things. Or when imposter syndrome creeps in, I will pray through it and ask that God reveal to me what he wants me to learn in this moment.

Create a Love List

This love list is going to be your best friend. Create this as a note on your phone or a wherever you’ll be able to easily refer back to. This love list is going to be any encouragement or testimonial or review that you get from clients. This could even be from your friends or family. Anything that someone sends you that just lifts your spirits and makes you so happy, take a screenshot of it and save it in this love list. Then when you feel that doubt creep in, when you are feeling like you’re just not good enough and you’re just not worth it and you’re wondering how you can keep going, refer back to this and read the kind comments and remember that there are more of those people out there and they need you.

Learn to value yourself!

You are so important and when you shift your focus on who you are and what you offer and who you can serve, and you remember those people who have worked with you and loved you, it makes this part a little bit easier.

Strategy #2: Lean on Others for Support

If you’re a believer, don’t forget the most important thing you can do is allow God into your business, allowing him to guide and direct your steps. I have struggled with this for a while, I am very diligent, I feel about my prayer life and I try to read the Bible as often as I can. But like just sometimes I get real excited about my business and I forget to invite him as the CEO in my business. And really I want him to guide and direct the business and I want to be just fulfilling his mission. What I have started to do is again, take out my journal and just journal through the things that are on my mind and maybe the areas in which I feel really confused about my business.

Then, I just pray about it and I wait for that still small voice to let me know that I’m headed in the right direction. It’s really helpful to reach out to a trusted friend and on the podcast, I’ve talked about this before about having trusted advisors. You want to reach out to someone that you can trust, someone that will give you the tough love, but someone that will be there to help support you when you just need a shoulder to cry on. You just need someone who will listen to what you have to say and will provide you with that support and encouragement.

Find a Community

Finally, it’s so important that you find a community of people who get what it’s like. So, I personally struggled for so many years with imposter syndrome and I so wish that I had a community that I could have turned to during this time. Back in 2019, I didn’t have a community of photographer friends, or just mom business owner friends in general. I had a lot of mom friends, I had a lot of business owner friends, but I don’t even think I could think of more than one or two that did both. I just so desperately needed that community and so that is actually how The Purpose Gathering was born.

Find this community in your area or create a community and it doesn’t have to be something big. It can be just two to three other photographers that you meet with, or two to three other business owners that you can create a small community with. In addition to finding a local community, I also recommend joining our online community called the Purpose Gathering Mamas. It’s a totally free Facebook group where you can come feel poured into, encouraged and supported and just have a really great network of people who you can lean on when you are feeling this imposter syndrome creep in. You can join over at thepurposegathering.com/mamas.

Strategy #3: Replace Jealousy with Praise to Combat Imposter Syndrome

I can’t tell you how many times I got on Instagram and saw a fellow photographer totally crushing it when I was having the worst day ever and comparing myself to this particular photographer and just feeling crushed. The imposter syndrome might have been a little bit there when I got on Instagram, but when I left like, oh man, it was intense! I don’t know if you can relate to this, but there are just so many times where Instagram just kills your confidence. I’ve dealt with this so many times and so, one thing that I feel like has really helped me in this area is to channel this jealousy into praise. Anytime I am feeling jealous, I will reach out to that particular person that I’m feeling jealous of and I will let them know how much I admire them. I will point out all the areas in which I feel they’re crushing it and I will compliment them and just let them know that I think they’re doing an incredible job. When I do this, my feelings of jealousy really start to dissipate.

I also think it’s really helpful to journal through your thoughts when you’re feeling jealous, like actually write down the person that you’re feeling jealous of. These things just really help you pinpoint the areas in which you’re struggling because imposter syndrome comes from so many different things. But I think one of the most important ones is that jealousy piece, that comparison piece. When we see what everybody else is doing all the time, it just makes it that much more apparent of what we’re not doing. And so, I think that it’s really important to figure out where are those feelings coming from.

Strategy #4: Stay in Your Own Lane

We talked about how we can compare ourselves and we can get really down on ourselves and we can feel as though everyone else is doing what we want to be doing. But it’s really important to remember that you can’t compare what you see on Instagram to be the whole story.

People typically don’t get on social media and talk about their worst day.

They don’t talk about the client that ghosted them. They don’t talk about the bathroom moment where they’re lying on the bathroom floor crying because they literally don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills. You don’t know what these people are sacrificing to show up the way that they are on Instagram. You don’t know what they’re sacrificing to find that type of success in their business. And so, we can never compare ourselves to that reality because that’s just not the whole picture, if that makes sense.

I can think of one specific photographer who I used to be so envious of. I loved her photography and I loved all the opportunities that she got. She had the opportunity to photograph so many gorgeous weddings and it was really a difficult thing for me to see quite honestly. And then one day, I stopped hearing about her husband and seeing her husband in all of her pictures and all of her stories and she ended up getting divorced. You never know what’s going on and it’s just really important to remember that.

Maybe you need to mute some accounts.

Normally I would recommend really digging into the heart issue behind why you need to mute an account. But when you are going through some severe imposter syndrome and you are having a hard time just getting through the day because you’re feeling so inferior compared to these people, I think it’s absolutely okay to mute these accounts and set a time limit. Mute them for a certain amount of time and just see how your heart changes in that time. Remember, you should only be comparing yourself to who you once were.

I think it’s really valuable to look back at your growth over the past few years and see how far you’ve come and if you are not growing exponentially each and every year, then figure out why and create a plan based on that. Don’t allow other people’s lives and other people’s businesses to hold you back from living your own life and from building the business that you love and that you dream of. You get to choose your revenue, you get to choose how many hours you work, you really get to be specific and don’t compare your business to someone else.

Strategy #5: Become the Expert

You might hear that and be like, Wow! That’s a lot of work!. I get it, but I’m speaking from personal experience because anytime I’ve ever experienced this imposter syndrome, there’s always been this layer of me not feeling confident in a certain area. The question that I want you to be thinking about right now, that I want you to answer at the end of this episode and send me a DM over on Instagram is what area do I not feel confident in when it comes to photography? Is it posing? Is it booking clients? Maybe that sales process of trying to sell your services feels really daunting. Maybe it’s the editing portion that you just don’t feel confident in your editing skills or maybe it’s pricing. Whatever in your business right now you’re just kind of feeling a little bit clueless about, this is really where I want you to start focusing on. Figure out what you can do in order to become an expert in that area so that you feel more confident.

Lacking in a certain business skill?

So, let’s say that you are lacking in business skills and maybe you really just want the roadmap for figuring out how to run a successful photography business. Hiring a coach is the best thing that you can do in that moment because that’s someone who’s going to give you the fast track. Who’s going to tell you, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. And that is what the Side Hustler to CEO program does. I designed it to be everything that I wish I would’ve known 12 years ago when I started my photography business. So, hiring a coach is something that can be so impactful. To this day, if I am struggling in a certain area, I hire someone, that’s the first thing I do. When I hire someone that knows what they’re doing, they’re giving me straight to the point no fluff. This is what you need to do kind of information and that’s what I’m looking for.

Let’s say you’re uncomfortable with posing, you could grab a posing course, something that is specified and specific to posing. Perhaps you grab some friends and you practice on them until you feel more confident. Practice flow posing, where you basically memorize posing for each session. Whatever your flow posing looks like, you’re going to create a guide and take that guide with you as you’re learning. Once you’ve done flow posing so often, it becomes second nature and then you won’t need a reference guide anymore.

Put yourself in your ideal clients shoes!

Get curious about what would they need or want from a photographer. When you see things from their perspective you become the expert on what they need. You’ll also feel so much more confident when you are selling to them because you know that you have the solution to their problem. You know what their pain points are. This is why it’s incredibly important that you figure out where you’re feeling stressed or where you are feeling like you are lacking and do something about it. `You hear me talk about this all the time in my podcast, get off the sidelines and take serious action. That is the only way that you are going to step out of this imposter syndrome.

Strategy #6: Just Practice

And finally, the last strategy or the last tip here, it’s so simple. Just practice! We all start somewhere as photographers and the more that you practice something, the more it becomes second nature.

ACTION STEPS

Let’s recap the five strategies you need to work through imposter syndrome:

  1. Learn to value yourself.
  2. Lean on others for support.
  3. Replace jealousy with praise.
  4. Stay in your own lane.
  5. Become the expert.

I am so excited to hear how you plan to move forward with this episode.

As always, mama, I am here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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