Imposter syndrome is a common challenge that most service providers have and I most certainly have dealt with. There is that tiny, pesky voice in your head that says,
“Are you sure you’re all that? ” Are you sure you should increase your rates?”
So we keep working hard, learning and delivering quality work but we are not confident enough to ask for what we are worth. It’s been my story too! More often than not, this is the case for many people, especially women. Now we all know beginnings can be hard for everyone regardless of where they are from. But my experience as an African woman in the online space has been that I have had to prove myself and squeeze between the crowd because there’s an assumption that I should be at the back of the queue, after everybody else dominating the online services space. I have heard people question my credibility based on where I am located.
A community is important to offer encouragement and support you in your journey, that is why I started The African VA Network. Join the Facebook group here
I also got a lot of support from my sisters over at The VASL Community, which is such a great community of women of colour!
Our confidence levels must be on steroids most of the time, especially while prospecting and taking those discovery calls. This also translates to how we price our services, how we negotiate and the boundaries we set with the clients. Ultimately it affects how much money we make and how fast our businesses grow.
We need each other now more than ever for encouragement, accountability and knowledge exchange.
Do women experience more imposter syndrome?
It’s a known fact that women seldom negotiate for pay rises and promotions, regardless of the fact that they’re doing the same job as their male counterparts and achieving the same or even better outcomes for the company. Imposter syndrome isn’t the only reason for this but it’s certainly one of them.
However, I must say that is changing; at least in the online space. The amount of lady bosses rocking especially in the online space offering Coaching, Marketing, creating Online Courses and so on is astounding to say the least.
How can I set my boundaries?
There is the mindset factor to consider, but for now, let’s talk about the practical things we can do.
The biggest one is setting up systems for your business.
Systems, systems, systems. Yes, I said it thrice!
Systems and SOPs are a must-have for small business owners wanting to grow and scale. For example, if you have a sales target of making 10 prospect calls a day, you have to dictate how long each call takes so that your goal is achieved.
How do you do that? In this case you could schedule 15-minute calls using a scheduling tool like Calendly or Acuity. This tool will send a link to your recipient to not only confirm the call and reduce no shows but also to make it clear to your prospect and to yourself that this is a 15-minute call and not more. The boundaries are set beforehand.
You can also have boundaries on how long the client journey takes and the steps to get them to perform the action you want them to, This basically qualifies a client faster. For example, after a 15-minute call with a prospect, you could send them a proposal with three options: I accept, I have questions or I decline. A tool like 17Hats allows you to upload your contract and have the client sign it virtually.
These boundaries shorten the decision-making process and move you a step further in the journey. If prospects are not the right fit, they will fall through from there and you will use the time and resources for other prospects.
Your prospect has many decisions to make in a day starting from what they’ll wear in the morning. So narrowing the options prompts them to make a quicker decision and reduces that decision fatigue.
If you don’t have these systems in place, then the back and forth email exchanges can be endless.
One of the most important aspects of a service based business or any other really is collecting payments. With CRMs or accounting tools, you can create workflows and set automatic invoice reminders. The best way is to inform the client during the on-boarding process that they will get reminders. Boundaries can be set here too, either late payment fees, suspension of services etc.
Most entrepreneurs think that these tools are only available for big companies. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I am convinced that there are way more tools geared towards small businesses than there are for corporate companies nowadays with the gig-economy.
So let’s use systems to help us set boundaries.
Do you need to implement systems and are wondering which tools best suit your needs? Are you already set up and you need someone to manage them? Schedule a call with me here