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Artists and Etsy craft sellers are often their own worst critics. This is especially true for those that suffer from artist imposter syndrome. This condition causes an individual to feel like a fraud, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. This can lead to anxiety and depression. Many times, sufferers of this syndrome are not even aware of it. They simply believe that they are not good enough or that they will be exposed as a fake at any moment.

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There are artists out there who feel like they can never live up to the high expectations of their peers.

This can be incredibly discouraging and prevent them from pushing themselves to their full potential. In fact, some would-be artists never even allow their work to be shared with the world, and that’s a really sad thing now more than ever when the world could really use some joy.

What’s even more unfortunate is that if these artists never share their art with the world, no matter what it is – this also means they can never make a full time income from selling it. They will never experience the humbling feeling of someone loving your work so much they want to give you money to have it in their lives. And that’s what we’re all about here at Marketing and Heart!

Before we continue, if you yourself suffer from artist imposter syndrome, I’d like to emphasize that I once saw an article that showed a trash can in an empty room and this was called “art” at a museum. Read that again if you need to.

So in this blog post, we will explore the symptoms that artists and crafters may experience and what they can do to overcome their imposter syndrome and start sharing their art with the world and maybe even open an Etsy shop to start making some money doing what they love.

First things first, what Is Artist Imposter Syndrome?

Artist imposter syndrome is a term that has been around since 1970. The term was coined by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in a paper that was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  

They were studying how people experience self-doubt, specifically when it comes to their professional identity. They discovered that many people feel like they are fake or pretending when they are in a professional setting. They may feel like they are playing a role and that they will be exposed as a fraud at any moment at work.

Causes of Imposter Syndrome

While the cause of Imposter Syndrome is unknown, there are several factors that may contribute to it. Some of these factors include perfectionism, fear of failure, low self-esteem, and social pressure. Research suggests that upbringing and family dynamics can play an important role in the development of Imposter Syndrome.

This is because parents who are constantly pushing their children to achieve goals can contribute to Imposter Syndrome.  It is also possible that people with low self-esteem may experience Imposter Syndrome more frequently than those with high self-esteem.

If this is the case, people with Imposter Syndrome may have a more difficult time coping with failure. In addition to factors like these, there are also other factors that may contribute to the development of Imposter Syndrome.  One such factor is an individual’s ability to cope with stress. This may lead them to develop Imposter Syndrome.

Individuals who experience Imposter Syndrome are more likely to be introverted, anxious and perfectionistic and are likely to have some of the same symptoms like anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.  This can create a vicious cycle in which each symptom causes another one to develop.

So what are the signs that you may be experiencing artist imposter syndrome?

The symptoms of artist imposter syndrome can vary from person to person, but there are some common symptoms. Many people with artist imposter syndrome feel like they are not good enough or that they are faking their talent.

They may also have a fear of being found out, and often feel like they are the only one who experiences these feelings.

Other common symptoms include:

  • self-doubt and self-sabotage
  • unhealthy perfectionism
  • procrastination
  • negative self-talk

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To be clear, artist imposter syndrome is not a mental health disorder.

It’s just a common experience that can affect anyone who works in creative fields. I’ve gone through it myself and I know many other people have as well.

The real question is, do we all experience it and just don’t talk about it? And if so…

How do we overcome artist imposter syndrome?

We all have our moments of self-doubt. For some people, this feeling can be so powerful that it stops them from pursuing their creative passions. But it doesn’t have to be this way.  It’s possible to overcome artist imposter syndrome and start acting on your creative desires, regardless of what others might think. Overcoming imposter syndrome is possible with a few key tips.

  • 1. Realize that everyone feels like an imposter at some point in their career. The important thing is to keep going and not give up on your dreams. Recognize that you are a unique person with your own set of skills, talents, and experiences that no one else has. Be sure to surround yourself with other people who support your creative pursuits and think like artists or entrepreneurs. This is a great way to stay positive and keep your confidence up.
  • 2. Don’t compare yourself to other artists. While it is natural to want to be as good as your peers, you should never compare yourself to them. Instead, focus on improving yourself and making a name for yourself in the industry that you love. Make sure to do the best work that you can. When an artist feels like they are imposter, they tend to slack off on their craft and this will eventually lead to self-doubt in the long run.
  • 3. Look to other successful artists for inspiration. You should never ignore your influences and always seek out new ones. And by this I again emphasize, do not compare yourself! You should see your successful peers as cold-hard evidence that you have nothing to worry about. You have proof through their success that yours is highly likely, too.
  • 4. When you put your authentic self out into the world, you will attract those like you. You’ll also attract some trolls, but trolls are a sign of success! Stay positive and don’t let negative thoughts stop you from progressing.
  • 5. Accept your faults and don’t be ashamed of them. Don’t forget it was Bob Ross who said, “We don’t make mistakes, we make happy accidents”. Everyone makes mistakes happy accidents and it’s important to learn from them. When you do this, you can better yourself for the future, as you will be more able to recognize your own faults and make the changes you see fit.
  • 6. Don’t take the opinions of others too seriously. They are often wrong and will never truly understand your vision. What’s that saying? Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has them?I’ve been running my handmade business since 2011 and I can’t tell you how many times people have offered me unsolicited advice on what I should or should not be doing. If I’d have taken their advice I’d have never accomplished my dreams of turning my jewelry business into a full-time, six figure income.
  • 7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You should always seek out feedback from others when you are unsure about something. And when you do, don’t be afraid to take the advice with a grain of salt. Take what you need and leave the rest.

I’ve learned from experience that sometimes you’ll get better advice from a stranger than a close friend or family. Which is why I think it’s super important to find an online community of other artists or handmade business owners that you can talk with. Shameless self-plug time! Check out community.marketingandheart.com to join my community, I’d love to see you there.

To sum it up, overcoming artist imposter syndrome is a lot like jumping into cold water.

You’ll spend a hell of a lot of time just standing there staring at the water. As if the water is going to change. And when you finally do jump in, the only thing that changed was you.

And you know what? 5 seconds later the water is nice and warm and you’re having the time of your life.

I heard some motivational thing awhile back and I will totally butcher it, but it goes something like this:

You can’t be great unless you once sucked.

So my advice? Allow yourself to suck so hard and bask in the glory of it all.

Because one day you won’t suck and other people will have imposter syndrome because you’ll be so amazing. And when that time comes, please send them a link to this blog post 💙

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