So I have another willing cowriter this month: THE Sam Bond of Sam Bond Photography: professional photographer specializing in weddings, elopements, couples, and seniors!
Sam and I are talking about self doubt and the feeling of imposter syndrome as small business owners. After our conversation, I have come up with some tips to overcome those bad vibes and feel more confidence in whatever you’re doing!
So for those who don’t know, here’s Sam Bond:
“I’m 25 years old from good ole Kingsport TN. I am an enneagram 7 so traveling and all the adventure is my thing!!! I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Kyle. No kids for us anytime soon but we do have a corgi who is our LOVE and 2 cats that torment the house hahaha
I have always loved taking photos ever since I was a kid! I had toy cameras and loved stealing the family camera! Haha I never thought about it as a career path oddly enough. My first session was simply for fun in 2017! The next week after I posted the photos to Facebook, someone paid me to take their daughter’s senior photos! After a few paid sessions within a few weeks, I decided to make a Facebook page for my photography. The rest was history. I’ll always be proud that I didn’t start photography with the idea to “make money.” It was simply an interest and felt like a fun thing to do. I was hooked immediately!”
Sam and I went to high school together, but our “business” friendship started like 3 years ago when I created Sam’s logo in exchange for pictures of my sister and I (that still hangs proudly and beautifully in my mom’s living room)! At this time I feel like we were both starting out and trying to find ourselves creatively and professionally.
Since, then our businesses’ have grown and changed a lot!
Overnight Success: from Zero to Hero(?)
H: I did not ever see myself owning a business or working for myself idk about you sam:
So I sometimes have these feelings that I had “overnight success?” like I was thrust into this situation because of the pandemic. I lost my “real job” and made a new one for myself to keep myself from having a nervous breakdown.
S: It’s funny, I always knew I’d create something. When I was in elementary school, I drew little pictures and sold them to kids for 10 cents or 25 cents. I actually got in trouble for doing this haha it seems like my brain was set to “hustle mode” from the start HAHAHA even in college, I told my boyfriend (husband now)I feel like I’m supposed to invent something. Although I’ve not yet invented anything, I definitely created a brand and a career I love so so much. I think deep down I knew I wasn’t going to do a “normal” job.
H: Now we are both full-time small business owners and doing pretty dang well haha.
I can’t help but having this feeling of fear. Like is the success going to run out? And I also compare myself to a one hit wonder.
S: I feel the exact same way. I have such a huge fear of not getting better every year whether that’s the amount of weddings I shoot or the amount of money I make. It’s a stressful place for my brain to live haha
Shying Away From Praise
H: I feel like another part of Imposter Syndrome is having a hard time accepting praise.
S: Yes!!! Every time!! Sometimes I get messages where people are praising me and I will leave them unread for a few hours or more (so bad I know) just because I just can’t process that someone feels that way about my work. It’s hard to grasp when I’m SO hard on myself. It’s like part of me feels like they shouldn’t be saying that so I can’t accept it.
H: Like I am pretty sure one time I was like “eh its not big deal Idk what I’m doing lolz”
S: I definitely agree with this!! A lot of times I’ll say “you made my job easy!!” When I get compliments on my work. Although these clients definitely do make my job easier because they rock their session, I know this is me trying to push my talent on to my clients. It’s like I’m saying, “Oh I didn’t do a good job, you did”
Fighting the bad vibes
So I am trying to think of ways to fight these feelings. Like Sam said, self doubt is a stressful place for you brain to live.
I believe that the reason we feel this way is because there is no blueprint or employee handbook for starting your own business and being a solopreneur.
As small business owners we are wearing a lot of hats that we didn’t think we’d ever wear…
CEO, Creative Director, Finance Manager, Communications and outreach pro, Brand and Social media manager, and more.
It is natural to not be confident doing a job you don’t have experience in. I feel like I use the phrase “fake it till you make it” a lot.
I also feel like it is natural to go through waves of confidence and also doubt. Like this process is definitely not linear.
bad vibe fighting tips:
1. Remember that you’re always learning and never try to stop but also never been ashamed of that.
2. There really isn’t a right or wrong path. There really isn’t a clear path at all. You are paving your own way. Scary but AWESOME
3. You have earned your praise. Just because your business feels like an overnight success, doesn’t mean that you haven\’t put in the work to succeed.
4. Accept that praise! But don’t be like me and said “oh lol it’s nbd” IT IS A BIG DEAL and it’s okay to be proud and say thank you!
5. You aren’t a one hit wonder, you’re simply still writing and producing the rest of your multi-platinum album.
And a great bonus tip for literally anyone that is a human: Don’t compare yourself to others! We are all on different journeys.
And check out Sam Bond on instagram! @sambondphotography