Silencing the inner critic: How to conquer imposter syndrome and bring on more new clients for your practice

Jun 20, 2023 | Key Business skills, Referrals, Sole practitioners

I hope this post will be of general interest even though it is intended primarily for those accountants in practice who have a degree of imposter syndrome or who struggle with low self-worth or low self-esteem. Such struggles invariably impact self confidence and this can have a negative impact on the prospect of receiving referrals and recommendations, of closing deals with new clients and on discussions about increases in fees.

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It’s based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can feel difficult to change. It’s not wildly different to self-worth which can be described as a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.

It’s common for self-worth to be where things break down for many of us. And, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, the more generally recognised ‘imposter syndrome’ is much more common than we might imagine.

These feelings can greatly impact your success when you are in conversation with prospective clients, with introducers and even when negotiating fees with existing clients.

I cannot recall any of my 1-2-1 mentoring clients who mentioned such concerns when they originally approached me. But equally, as a result of conversations with certain clients, I realise that imposter syndrome is part of what is holding many of them back.

Whether you are aware of such feelings or not, I invite you to get in touch so that we can clarify what is holding YOU back from achieving what you seek for your practice.

Often accountants start in the wrong place when considering this question. Maybe that’s an issue for you too?

Here are some pointers about self-worth that can help you overcome your concerns and enable you to be more successful:

Be a better person: Instead of focusing solely on being a better accountant, focus on being a better person. When you genuinely care about others, show empathy, and build meaningful relationships, more people will be attracted to choose you as their accountant.

Don’t worry about credentials: I hate to admit this but few clients choose accountants due to their professional qualifications. If these were crucial then there wouldn’t be as many successful yet unqualified accountants around. Of course you’re proud of your qualifications if you have them and absolutely you should highlight these in your marketing. But keep in mind that what people are really buying from you are your apparent confidence that you can help them, your expertise, and your relevance, value, and results. You need to walk a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance – which si rarely an admirable or attractive quality in an accountant.

Help more people and connect with more people: By genuinely helping others and adding value, you can establish yourself as a trusted accountants when you are talking with potential introducers and prospective clients. The more people you help, the more your self-worth and confidence will grow.

Focus on outcomes: Remember that people buy outcomes, not just products or services. Keep the focus of your conversations on the outcomes your clients want to achieve, and tailor your solutions and advice to meet their specific needs.

Remind yourself of your successes: When self confidence is lacking is easy to focus only on the negatives. I have encouraged a number of clients to keep a success file, to cut and paste positive thanks and compliments from clients into a ‘confidence’ document. If you do this I would encourage you to review this regularly to remind yourself how highly your clients rate you. And to especially check out your ‘confidence’ file when you receive a knock-back. This is a much more constructive response than to reinforce the negative feelings: This always happens to me; I keep doing stupid things; I’ll never win any more clients.

Blow your own horn: Be confident in promoting yourself and your abilities. If you don’t believe in your own worth, why should anyone else – such as introducers and prospective clients? Share your achievements, skills, and expertise with pride.

Reflect on your strengths: Take the time to identify your strengths by answering questions like: What do you receive compliments about? What do people ask you to do? What do people seek your advice about? Again, I have helped some of my clients with this so that they can recognise consistent themes or patterns in such statements.

If you’re struggling with low self-worth or low self-esteem as an accountant in practice, I am here to help. Contact me for a conversation about how you can receive specific advice and ongoing support to boost your self-worth and improve your practice.

Remember, you are capable, skilled, honest and valuable. Don’t let a lack of self-worth or self-esteem hold you back from achieving the success you deserve. Take action today and reach out for support.

If you’d value a chat on anything prompted by this post, do get in touch >>>

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