Heights Platform How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome When Selling Online Courses

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome When Selling Online Courses

5 minute read

Imposter Syndrome is defined as the fear of being seen as a fraud or not being good enough where high achieving people doubt their ability and undermine their accomplishments.

Like many creative entrepreneurs, online course creators are a group often commonly affected by imposter syndrome.

When it comes to teaching others, many course creators feel as if they are not qualified for the job and their knowledge or experience is not valuable enough. If you have similar thoughts or fears, you might suffer from imposter syndrome.

In today's article we will share our advice to get over imposter syndrome and turn feelings of inadequacy into confidence to thrive as a creative entrepreneur.

Why Do We Suffer From Imposter Syndrome?

Despite concrete evidence of their achievements and knowledge, creators who experience imposter syndrome tend to not accept the fact that they deserve their success or luck. Instead, they believe to be deceiving others by portraying themselves as more capable or successful than they are in reality.

Impostor syndrome has the potential to restrain creators from achieving their full potential in business or even in personal life.

So why do we suffer from imposter syndrome even when we have external evidence and validation of our success?

Imposter syndrome is not an official diagnosis. However, psychologists and others professionals acknowledge that this condition is a real and specific form of intellectual self-doubt. People affected by imposter syndrome tend to experience feelings of anxiety and, in some cases, depression.

The term, Imposter Syndrome, was coined in 1978 by psychologist Drs. Clance and Imes, after their work treating professors, administrators, and students who experienced feelings of concern about being exposed as a fraud.

70-84% of people in the US report that they have experienced the feeling of imposter syndrome at least once during their professional career.

The causes that lead to imposter syndrome are not clear. However, they might originate from one person's childhood, family expectations, professional or personal setting, and other personality traits.

Studies show that individuals who feel different from their peers or are in settings where they stand out from others in one way or another are more likely to experience imposter syndrome. Examples of this include women in high-tech professional roles, first-generation college students, people who are part of ethnic minorities and so on...

Family history and societal pressure are other causes that can spark the feelings of imposter syndrome in high-achieving professionals.

How to Deal With Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome has the potential to seriously affect one's personal and professional life. Here are some of our advice to get over these feelings of inadequacy and turn imposter syndrome into confidence:

Learn About Imposter Syndrome

If you are aware of what causes imposter syndrome, you can better understand why you are feeling a certain way and make an educated decision on how to move past this.

So the fact that you are reading this article shows that you are aware of your feeling and are willing to try to work on them! Check out this collection of resources that can help you understand more about imposter syndrome.

Remind Yourself of Your Achievements

When you are experiencing feelings of self-doubt, it can help to make a list of all the achievements you are proud of. These don't have to be huge accomplishments, but can be small day-to-day actions that you achieved.

Keep a record of positive feedback you received from your peers in the past and make sure you can access them whenever you feel like a fraud.

Understand Your Experience Has Value to Someone

Whether you are truly the best in the world at what you do or not, your experience has value. There are others out there who want to know what you know and who want to grow to reach the level you are at. So even if you aren't completely confident or happy with your current abilities, you can still provide value to many others.

The value you have to offer doesn't change in the eyes of your potential customers if you are the most successful in your industry or not. In fact, being closer to the level of ability that your customer is at can actually be a benefit that the most successful person in your industry cannot offer because they are so far from those early struggles and problems that came up in their growth, putting you in a better position to answer questions for customers just below the level you are currently at.

Talk to Someone You Trust

Most of the time, individuals affected by imposter syndrome do not share this feeling with others for fear of being exposed as a fraud.

However, talking about your feeling with people who are close to you and you trust can help you get a fresh perspective and look at the problem from a different angle.

Chances are that when you start opening up to others and voice your feelings out loud, you might realize how unfounded and conjectural they are.

Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Measuring yourself to other people's achievements or comparing yourself to others who are in a different stage of business growth can only leave you feeling inadequate.

In many cases, social media plays a big part in this. We tend to only share a perfect side of ourselves and our professional achievements on social media, leaving out the challenges and failures that brought us there.

So comparing yourself to others according to what you see on social media means setting up impossible standards for you to achieve.

That said, other successful entrepreneurs in your niche can be an inspiration and an example for you to follow. So instead of beating yourself up for not being like them, try to understand what part of their lives or career you admire and what are the steps you need to take in order to have a similar experience for yourself.

Validate Your Business Idea

When you are starting a business from scratch, you are more prone to experience imposter syndrome as you didn't receive any form of validation yet (you didn't make a first sale, get feedback from your clients or gain a good review).

This doesn't mean that you should feel like a fraud. Instead, try to actively get the validation you need to not only feel better but start a viable business.

If you are thinking about starting an online course but are affected by imposter syndrome, you could try pre-selling your online course as a way to validate your idea, get valuable feedback from early customers and even make a few sales!

When you pre-sell an online course, your audience and potential students will be more forgiving of any gaps or improvements in your program, plus you'll get the validation you need in order to keep building your online course and shut down the feeling of being an imposter.

Learn how to pre-sell an online course in this article from our blog: How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course and Profit Before the Launch


Imposter syndrome is a psychological occurrence that leaves high achieving individuals feeling like a fraud and thinking they are not good enough.

It is especially common among online course creators, who tend to feel inadequate or not experienced enough in order to teach others.

If you are experiencing similar feelings, you might be suffering from imposter syndrome. To get over these feelings, try talking to a friend or someone you trust, keeping a journal or a list of achievements you are proud of. Stop setting impossible standards for you to achieve and comparing yourself to others, especially to unrealistic ideas you see on social media.

Last but not least, gaining feedback about your new business idea or online course can help you beat imposter syndrome and turn your fears into confidence. A great way to gain validation for your new online course is to hold a pre-sale before you launch your course.

If you are looking for an online course platform that lets you pre-sell your online courses and grow a community where your audience can share feedback and validate your idea (and much more...), look no further and start your Heights Platform free account!

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