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Career advice for mums: from career coach Fay Blakey

I’m nearing the end of my maternity leave after having my second child, and I really don’t want to go back to work.

I’ve come up with a business idea that I think could work, however I’m struggling with imposter syndrome, and wondering if I really have what it takes to start a business. Do you have any tips for me?

Imposter syndrome is a real thing and so is comparison-itis (where you compare yourself to everyone else who’s doing what you want to do) – it’s also a very common thing, especially in women.
The thing to remember is that you do have skills and you will be skilled in an area that other businesses or consumers will pay you for.

These days more women than ever are starting their own businesses because the infrastructure of employment doesn’t suit our needs. As such there is a great deal of support, specifically online to help you set up your own business.

Having been there myself, my advice is to do your research in the industry you’d like to set up business in and write down how your skills match up. Don’t worry if you don’t feel you can do everything that might be expected of you, you can learn – there are lots of online learning solutions available at very low cost, such as Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, etc.

Again, find groups on Facebook that supports the industry you’re hoping to set up business in. These groups are full or women (and men too) who are doing the same as you and most likely feel exactly the same as you do.

Don’t hesitate to engage with the people in these groups – tell them how you feel and you’ll be amazed at the support you receive. You’ll likely create new friendships along the way too.

Imposter syndrome is something that does go away in time but if I’m honest, I feel that you’ll probably need to be doing the job before the feeling fully goes away. But be assured that it will.
Throw yourself into your new business, immerse yourself in learning all you can and your confidence will grow as you develop your skills – and it’s amazing how quickly this can happen.

My overall advice is ‘share how you’re feeling’. You’re not alone, there are women all over the world feeling as you are now and lots of others who’ve been there and have come out the other side. There is lots of help and support for mama’s these days – find it and use it – and become the best version of yourself that you possibly can.