Starting your own accounting business is an exciting endeavor that requires not only technical expertise but also a strong sense of self-confidence. However, it’s not uncommon for new entrepreneurs to experience imposter syndrome—the persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud or feeling inadequate despite evidence of their competence. In this article, we will explore five effective strategies that can help individuals overcome imposter syndrome and thrive in their accounting businesses.
#1: Recognize and Reframe Negative Self-Talk
At our recent conference for accounting professionals, a Universal Accounting Alumni named Teena Chandler gave a talk about how she was able to shed the weight of her challenges and start her own accounting business. Chandler looked at her challenges –having another job, feeling clueless about accounting and more — as excuses before she started, she said. Everything changed when she reframed those excuses as realities in her life. They were real, and they weren’t going anywhere, but she decided they didn’t have to hold her back anymore. She would carry them with her.
Imposter syndrome often stems from negative self-talk and internalized doubts. Start by identifying the negative thoughts that contribute to your feelings of inadequacy. Challenge these thoughts by examining the evidence that contradicts them and reframing them in a more positive and realistic light. Focus on your accomplishments, skills, and the value you bring to your clients. Practice self-compassion and treat yourself with the same kindness you would extend to others.
#2: Seek Support and Mentorship
Building a strong support network is essential when battling imposter syndrome. Chandler relied on Universal Accounting’s expert mentorship on her pathway to starting her business. She passed on the realities she once saw as excuses on to her coaches — including her fear of making sales, feeling unprepared and how to balance her time between her new business and her family.
Surround yourself with like-minded professionals who understand the challenges of starting an accounting business. Seek out mentors who can offer guidance, share their experiences, and provide reassurance when self-doubt creeps in. Engaging in networking events, industry conferences, and online communities can help you connect with peers and find support. All of these are built into Universal Accounting’s turnkey process for starting an accounting business.
#3: Embrace Continuous Learning
Imposter syndrome can be exacerbated by a fear of being exposed as lacking knowledge or expertise. Combat this by embracing a mindset of continuous learning. Stay up to date with industry trends, regulations, and technological advancements with Universal Accounting Center’s online training courses.
With these training programs, you can certify your abilities as an accounting professional, whether it be as a Professional Bookkeeper, Professional Tax Preparer, or Profit and Growth Expert. You can certify your skills with the IRS each year with Universal’s training programs and become an IRS approved Enrolled Agent as well. Pursue professional development opportunities, such as attending workshops, webinars, and seminars, to enhance your skills and knowledge base. By investing in your professional growth, you’ll gain confidence in your abilities and stay ahead in the dynamic field of accounting.
#4: Celebrate Achievements and Set Realistic Goals:
Imposter syndrome often blinds us to our accomplishments, leading to a cycle of self-doubt. Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, both big and small. Maintain a record of positive feedback from clients, testimonials, and successful projects. This documentation can serve as a reminder of your capabilities during moments of self-doubt. Additionally, set realistic and attainable goals for your business. Breaking down larger objectives into smaller milestones can help you track progress and build confidence as you achieve them.
#5: Practice Self-Care and Manage Stress
Taking care of your mental and physical well-being is crucial for combating imposter syndrome. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation outside of work. Regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, and hobbies can help alleviate stress and enhance your overall sense of self-worth. Prioritize self-care routines and maintain a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout. By nurturing yourself, you’ll be better equipped to tackle imposter syndrome head-on.
Accounting Entrepreneur Natalia Zacharin, who started her own firm in 2019 after years of working for other firms, shares her experience in overcoming imposter syndrome in the latest episode of the Building the Premier Accounting Firm podcast with Universal Accounting Center President Roger Knecht.
Imposter syndrome may affect even the most accomplished individuals, but it doesn’t have to hinder your success in starting and growing your accounting business. By employing the strategies outlined above—recognizing negative self-talk, seeking support, embracing continuous learning, celebrating achievements, and practicing self-care—you can overcome imposter syndrome and cultivate the confidence needed to excel in your field.
You can get the skills, knowledge, and resilience to make your accounting business thrive with Universal Accounting Center’s training programs and individualized coaching programs. Believe in yourself, and others will too. Leave your excuses behind and start on the path to a successful accounting business today by calling Universal Accounting at 877-801-8080, or schedule a time that’s most convenient for you HERE.