Transcript: How to Overcome Feelings of Unworthiness & Create Entrepreneurial Freedom

September 2, 2021

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AMY PORTERFIELD: Do you ever feel unworthy, like an impostor? Maybe you compare yourself to other entrepreneurs on social media or think, “Who would ever want to hear what I have to say?” or the ever popular, “Who am I to… ?” Insert whatever limiting belief you struggle with. Maybe you've dealt with one or all of the things that I just mentioned. Well, dear listener, if you're an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, it's not uncommon to battle with feelings of unworthiness. But I'm not going to just tell you to trust me on this one. I'm going to share real-life stories of entrepreneurs who have battled these feelings, too. And trust me, you're going to find yourself relating to one or more of them, for sure. You're literally going to find yourself in their stories. So join me and three successful entrepreneurs to learn how they overcame feelings that were holding them back and turned them into a booming online business. 

INTRO: I'm Amy Porterfield, and this is Online Marketing Made Easy. 

Amel, Robert, and Masha. These are the three students I'm excited to introduce you to today, three of my students who have battled feelings of unworthiness, feelings of imposter syndrome, and have made it to the other side, where they found a way to deal with these unwelcome feelings and push through them to make a life and a business they love, one that allows them financial, time, location, and whatever type of freedom they desire. My students share their empowering stories with me and, more importantly, the actions and strategies they use to overcome those feelings. In this episode, I'll share their stories along with a couple of audio clips so that you can use what they've learned to get inspired and overcome any unworthy feelings you may be experiencing. 

But before we get there, I want to share something that has significantly helped me to overcome these feelings that I've come head to head with throughout my many years of being an entrepreneur, and that is to lean on a community of other supportive entrepreneurs and peers. Having a community who believed in me when I couldn't and who always lifts me up when I fall down has made such a difference in getting where I am today. And I want that for you. So before we dive in, we've put together a free thirty-day boot camp—totally free—where you can not only build a community that can do the same for you—pick you up when you fall down and cheer you on even when you don't believe in yourself—but also to help you start creating your digital course. Yep. During these thirty days, my team and I will be supporting you through seven important questions that you need to get clear on to kick-start your digital-course journey. You'll get Facebook Lives with me, prompts, worksheets, endless support. So if you've ever thought about creating a digital course or you're just starting to toy with the idea, this is where you belong. Head to to join, and I’ll be waiting for you on the other side. It's totally free. It's so much fun. Hurry up and go sign up because it’s only for thirty days. 

All right. So, for now, let's get to these amazing stories from my students. 

First, please meet Amel Derragui, my Digital Course Academy and Momentum student. Amel grew up with parents who were global nomads. So when she settled down and started a career as an adult, she was done traveling, and on top of that, swore she'd never give up her career for a man. Well, never say never, because after meeting her husband, that's exactly what she did. Her husband has to move countries every couple of years for work, and so she gave up a job she loved to be with him.  

However, what she didn't know was that this would lead her to something greater. She eventually started working as a consultant, helping businesses with their marketing, but given her husband's career, she knew she had to make her business portable.  

Fast forward. Amel has created two digital courses. One is called the Business Idea Accelerator, and the other is the Portable Business Accelerator. In her first Digital Course Academy-style launch, she generated $23,000 in revenue. Before she experienced that success, Amel had crippling fears around showing up, when she first started her business. She worried that she'd be judged, and when it came to it, she couldn't help but wonder, “Why would anyone want to hear what I have to say?” Maybe you can relate? I know that I felt that often when I was first starting out.  

But Amel leaned into something she once heard a mentor say, and here it is: “There will always be somebody in the room who wants to know what you know and wants to learn from you. So focus on those people instead of those who know more than you.” I firmly stand by that belief as well.  

Amel so bravely shared that last year was actually her best year ever in her business. And despite all the success she experienced, she couldn't celebrate. She says that she didn't feel like she was worthy of that success, and this actually caused anxiety attacks for her, but here’s what she did: she started by hiring a coach, and then she decided she needed a little more support and hired a therapist. She also says that she surrounded herself with other supportive, ambitious women in a mastermind and that this was a game changer for her. Amel shares that investing in the support she needed and surrounding herself with peers who were supportive were two key players in overcoming those heavy feelings of unworthiness.  

But here's the deal. What you'll notice about all of these stories is that even though they've had success in their business, they still butt heads with that feeling of unworthiness.  

Here's what Amel had to say about that: “Despite all of that, despite all the progress that I've made and the growth that I’ve experienced, I don't think that the imposter syndrome ever leaves for good. I do experience it coming back to me on a regular base. I just feel like I'm more equipped now to identify that this is what's happening to me, and then quickly react to it so that I can work through my limiting thoughts and my beliefs and my emotions, and redesign the narrative so that I can keep developing my mindset of growth. So I still feel like it keeps coming back. And the more I grow, the more my goals keep growing, the more I want to reach the next level, I have the feeling that imposter syndrome almost gets bigger. But I'm feeling that by being able to identify it, I'm more equipped to deal with it. Even if that imposter syndrome is trying to take a bigger space in my head, I know how to stop it. But there are days when it's not always easy. I have to say it. So, going back to the support network that I’ve created, to the books, to the podcasts, to my coach and my mastermind, all of that really helps me build the environment that I need to not let those negative thoughts and fears guide me and lead the way in this journey.” 

So, all in all, surround yourself with a community of support, and come back to it as often as you can to help keep those feelings of imposter syndrome at bay. The good news is that I have a community of support waiting for you at You’ll find support, guidance, and like-minded aspiring entrepreneurs who can believe in you and remind you of your magic even when you forget it yourself. So I hope you'll come join us over at the free boot camp. 

Next up, meet my DCA student, Rob Green. As a photographer hoping to create a digital course that would make him money, he says, “You want to talk about feeling unworthy? The photography-education space is loaded with rock stars already. Who was I to try to join the conversation?”  

This idea of who am I to do that? seems to be common among my students. And it was very common with me when I left my nine-to-five job. So I'm so glad to be able to share Rob's story.  

Rob went on to generate $12,000 during his launch week with his digital course on flash photography, and this was with a list of 150 email subscribers. That same course is on track to generate over $100,000 in its first year.  

But let's go back to that question, who was I to try to join the conversation? For Rob, figuring out how to earn a living as a photographer changed when his city was being shut down due to the global pandemic. He had to figure out a way to make a living when he couldn't leave his house. And while he was intimidated by the photography educational space, he went for it anyway. He said that he spent several months stuck at home, editing his course videos and connecting with beta testers. And while this was a great way to validate his course, he still found himself wondering, “Could this thing really take off? Could it ever be a key piece of my business revenue?”  

Rob recalls many moments of self-doubt. But there is one thing he's learned and abided by in those moments over the last few years of growth, and that is that action is the antidote to fear. Do I need to say it again? If you're multitasking, come back to me. Action is the antidote to fear. He says, “Leaders don't lack fear. They just fear something different. Where most people fear failure, leaders fear missing an opportunity.”  

When feelings of unworthiness came up, Rob would focus on taking the next step and the opportunity he had to help other photographers succeed with their craft and their business. When he came back to this opportunity, this mission, it gave him the inspiration that he needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when it was scary, even when he felt like an imposter. I want you to remember those words, even when. When you're scared, when you're fearful, when you feel like you're not enough, even when you feel that way, I want you to keep moving forward. You can do it scared, my friend.  

Here's the thing that we all need to come to terms with, and I think Rob is a great example of this. The feeling of unworthiness may never go away. I know. I know that's not what you wanted to hear, right? I think you know it intrinsically, but you don't want to hear it. I'll say it again, even though you don’t want to hear it. That feeling of unworthiness may never go away, but it can certainly be quieted. Even now, after being well on his way to a six-figure digital course, Rob says, “I keep waiting for the day where everyone finds out I'm just a normal person like them, not some big fancy educator who just walks around dropping wisdom everywhere I go. I'm just a guy with a proven roadmap to a result others seem to desire for themselves and who believes in sharing what I know with the world.”  

Oh, my gosh, Rob, I love this so much because you don't even know, my friends. I think I need to share this more often. I'm in my normal life, and I'm just walking around and picking up dog poop from Scout, or I am frustrated with Hobie for not cleaning the bathroom, or silly, ridiculous life things. And I think, “If anyone knew that this is my life, they might not think that I'm the person they want to learn from.” Have you ever felt that way? It's such a weird thing. When I talk about it, I'm embarrassed to tell you that. And it sounds a little loony, I know. But I do think that sometimes. When I'm just in my normal life, not teaching, not being on stage, not doing my Lives, not fully ready to go, and I think, “If people really realized just how normal of a person I am, not like an educator or someone with a multimillion-dollar business or someone who's been around in this industry for so long, but just this normal person that does, like, everything else that everyone else does, I get afraid that you wouldn't think I'm enough to be educating you, to be teaching you.”  

And so when I saw that Rob felt the same way, I thought, “Oh, wow. We need to talk about this more and more, because if Rob and I have felt this way, then you probably have too.” And it's not real. Of course, we're all normal people. No matter who you are, you put your pants on the same way as everyone else does. But for some reason, we think we need to be super human. Like, we can't be normal and an amazing educator,  

I hope this lands with you today if you needed to hear it, because I just felt compelled to, like, punctuate that point that Rob was making. I want to repeat that last thing that Rob said. He said, “I'm just a guy with a proven roadmap to results others seem to desire for themselves and who believes in sharing what I know with the world.” I feel like that is profound, what he just said there. Simple and profound.  

I hope that inspires you to keep moving forward. If you're listening to this, I want to remind you that you have a roadmap. Maybe it isn't as clear as Rob's just yet, but you, dear listener, have the skills and know-how around something that others want to know too. Abiding by is one step at a time, getting-into-action mentality has allowed Rob to keep doing what he can to cover a little more ground each day. And for him, the cumulative effect of each little bit of progress has led to an email list that should reach 3,000 by the end of the year, a student count that should reach 300, and an educational-product offering that has expanded from one course to a four-course educational suite that he plans to release next year. 

So this is the takeaway from Rob's story. Get into action. Take one step at a time, even when fear, imposter syndrome, and those paralyzing feelings of unworthiness start to creep in. What is the next action you can take? It can be as small as posting something on social media or as big as launching a beta test for your course idea. Action is the antidote for fear, plain and simple. 

Next, let me introduce you to my DCA and Momentum student, Masha Goins, a busy mom with a full-time job, who always dreamt of being an entrepreneur. But with the hectic demands of life, how in the world would she ever find time to run a business? And although she battled through feelings of being worthy and feeling like an impostor, she went on to create a three-week signature course called The Mom to Momfluencer Method, where she teaches busy moms and female entrepreneurs how to build, grow, and monetize Instagram. This course took her from dreaming about having her own business to making $38,000 in a very short period of time. And what once felt like Who am I to be an entrepreneur? has now turned into a viable business that supports herself and her family. On top of that, she was finally able to quit her day job and have more time to spend with the ones she loves the most, her kids.  

Now, you might be listening to this and thinking, “Good for her. But she probably didn't have the level of fear that I do,” and that's just not the case. For Masha, even though she knew she was destined to be an entrepreneur, she also knew that she was creating a business in, to be blunt, what seemed like an oversaturated market. And it's often that she finds herself coming face to face with feelings of unworthiness. For Masha, she found she was most often triggered by seeing a competitor’s success on social media.  

Here's Masha speaking about how feelings of unworthiness show up for her. “I'm in this saturated, oversaturated marketplace as an Instagram business coach, so the whole concept of worthiness and self-worth and imposter syndrome just is something that I really had to come to terms with right away, right off the bat, because it's not like it's a unique idea or something that nobody has thought of before. There are huge experts. So you're competing in a space that’s supersaturated.” 

So here is how Masha intentionally overcame and, honestly, continues to overcome unworthy beliefs. She says that when she feels those pangs of jealousy and insecurity that undoubtedly lead to feeling unworthy, she acknowledges where they are coming from. And then she actively changes her thoughts to celebrate her peer’s success and reminds herself that if they can make it happen, she can, too. I love this, and I love this next tip. She says that she does this, and she actually tells her students to as well, to acknowledge what content is triggering thoughts of unworthiness and analyze why it is. Once you have this knowledge, you can make a mental shift to how you want to move forward. Sometimes you just need to mute or unfollow them, and that's okay.  

So what I love about this is that she's not saying, like, just push the feelings away; don't think about it. She's like, let's look at this. Like, what's coming up for you, and why is it coming up for you? And it's okay to mute somebody. They could be amazing. But you know there’s that feature, let’s say on Instagram, where you can mute someone. They don’t know you are. And it’s not because they’re doing anything wrong. It's just that somehow or another, it's just not making you feel good, and you might need to work on your confidence, and you’re doing so right now. But in the meantime, you don't need those negative triggers.  

So Masha says, “My motto in general, especially for social media, consume less; create more,” and I agree. Consume less; create more. She goes on to share that you should find the people who motivate and inspire you to remove the lampshade you're hiding under, shine your light brightly, and show up fully as your next-level self.  

I think it's so easy as an entrepreneur to be consumed by what others are doing and sharing on social media. And it's a slippery slope, for sure. Oftentimes when you're in the thick of creating your business, it's better to keep your head down and focus on what you're doing.  

Now, I won't lie. Even twelve years into being an entrepreneur, it's still easy to get caught up in those feelings when you're on social media, “Oh, she's doing that, and he's doing this.” I get it. But I always go back to, “Head down, Amy. Stay in your own lane. Do your own work.” But I want you to hear Masha’s words in your head the next time you actually do that, where you get caught up in the comparison-itis and judging yourself against what others are doing. Consume less; create more. Words to live by, for sure. Remember that there is more than enough success and abundance to go around. There are more than enough people looking to learn what you already know. So lean into that, just like Masha does. 

All right. It's time for some action steps. Aren’t the stories from these students just amazing? I loved how practical and tangible and relatable they all are. I, for one, can relate to what each one said. Like, somewhere along their entrepreneurial journey, I get it. I get what they've gone through.  

So, let's recap the three big takeaways that you can use as your action items when you come up against feelings of unworthiness or feeling like an imposter. Just like Amel said, lean into a supportive community. Whether that be a coach, a therapist, or mastermind, find people who can help you work through that and can believe in you as you strengthen your belief in yourself. Action is the antidote for fear. This one is from Rob. Remember that when you start to feel those feelings of fear, get into action, just one step at a time. And last but certainly not least, the wise words from Masha, consume less; create more.  

And also, Masha had mentioned having a community and a support group is such an important part of building a business. And that's why I'm going to invite you one more time to my thirty-day boot camp. Totally free. It is an amazing community. Maybe you'll even find people to start your own peer-led mastermind with, people who can support you and you can support them on their journey. So come to Simple as that. Thirty-day bootcamp to help you get started with your first digital course. We’ll work through the seven most important questions to kick-start your digital-course journey. So you’ll meet new friends, you’ll find your community, and we’re going to dive into all things digital courses. I hope to see you there. 

Thanks, again, for joining me here today. I’ll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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