Does anyone else feel like they're an impostor?

You’re an impostor.

You had a good idea one day. Your good idea turned into a great product. Slowly but surely, you gained customers who paid for your product. Then you started employing people. People who looked up to you, trusted you, followed you. You’re successful - both the business and you personally.

And yet, there’s still that little voice in your head…

You’re an impostor. You don’t know what you’re doing. Everyone’s going to realise you have no idea what you’re doing and it’s all going to fall apart.

Someone I admire a lot recently said to me, “I have great respect for what you have done as an entrepreneur”. I winced. And felt slightly less of him. How could someone that smart not see through me?

Jason Cohen (Founder, WPEngine & Smart Bear) is familiar with these thoughts. Hell, everyone is familiar with these thoughts. If Mike Myers thinks he’s not funny enough for SNL, then Lord help the rest of us. It’s not an unusual feeling but when you’ve founded, built and sold four successful companies and your latest creation has reached $100 million revenue and just received a $250 million private equity investment, you might be considered a ‘success’. So why do founders like this still often feel like impostors?

We’re hosting a Q&A session with Jason at 12.00 EST on 22nd February about overcoming impostor syndrome and founder doubt. Hopefully it’ll be helpful - even if you can’t join live, sign up and we’ll send you the replay.

Isn’t this just normal for most aspects in life? Starting a business, raising a child, buying a house…


Aha, that’s definitely my experience so far! Doesn’t mean it’s not good to talk about it though - especially in the context of running a business where it can feel like so much is depending on you.

Never compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides.

Not to minimize the effect of it, but , I think a big part of Imposter Syndrome is buying into the story that things are (inside) the way they look outside.
I can remember somehow wandering in the back rooms of some department store or electronics store and thinking “this is so… unprofessional”. It wasn’t. It just didn’t look professional

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Yes, but everyone assumes everyone ELSE is “together” as they SEEM.

If you feel like an imposter then just take a look at politicians. They clearly have no idea what they are doing (in my country, at least), and they are running the country!


I embrace it nowadays: I know that I’m far from being a top developer, my sense of markets is quite poor, I struggle with many basic processes required for scalable business (hiring and managing other people? oh no!), etc.

So I’m not trying to be clever in any field. I write dumb code, use boring tech stacks, search for proven ideas where I can do better than competitors without relying on others too much. Another example: I write in a simple style for our blog because I’m not a native speaker but people say it’s nice and easy to read.