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Am I an Imposter Entrepreneur?

Am I an Imposter Entrepreneur?

Successful people all around the world in various industries and diverse cultural backgrounds have one common piece of advice that has been instrumental in the way in which they achieve their success. Visualization. Placing yourself in the positive energy of how you will feel and live your life once you have achieved the goals you set for yourself, will catapult you into a successful mindset, thus creating the life you have imagined. Seems easy enough, right? 

After my divorce in 2017, I embraced this concept and never wavered. To start, I visualized my entire weight loss journey as I lost fifty-six pounds within a five-month period, ultimately reinventing myself. I was empowered and continued to build my massage therapy practice while shifting the paradigm of my previous two-parent household into a single-mom universe for my two children.  

As a medically inclined massage therapist, I started my own practice in 2013. I had also written a very elaborate ever-evolving business plan for an expansion of that practice into an independent contracting-based, salon-spa-childcare business concept. In addition, I aspired to establish myself as a credible business coach for female entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness industry.

Visualizing my checking account with that six-figure income; the beautiful house I wanted to own; the countries I wanted to travel to and someday live in. And naturally, as Whitney said it best when she sang “I want to dance with somebody – with somebody who loves me”, meeting that ONE SOMEBODY that I would fall in love with has never been far from my thoughts. 

I walked the walk, talked the talk, and I started to make things happen. And to be sure, there were successes along the way. In January 2021, I opened a Salon-Med Spa which started off and held very strong for that first year. My first entrepreneur-coaching client soared to exceptional heights in her endeavors to create a nail spa business. She truly exceeded my expectations. That first year was fun and I felt on top of the world. 

Although, as time marched on and as much as I continued to live in that same positive energy with the desire for people to see me as that extraordinary woman I have described, in early 2022 my realities unfortunately were not necessarily reflecting the ‘walk’ and ‘talk’ I was depicting. I started to think of myself as an imposter entrepreneur. 

My Realities

After a short two years in business, my Salon-Med Spa was failing to produce the income required to survive, and I was forced to abandon my dream business in March 2023. To add insult to injury, I haven’t earned that six-figure income that I was so accustomed to since 2017. Given the current real estate market and new financing requirements for self-employed contractors, my dream of purchasing a new home appears nearly impossible now.  

While my passport stands at the ready, Greece will alas have to wait until my financial picture allows it. And the incredibly gorgeous, intelligent, hysterical man of my dreams that I met along the way… Well, he has other plans for his future and, sadly, they do not include me. 

I know, at this point I must sound like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, only like an imposter entrepreneur! You’re probably wondering, as I often wonder, “Where’s that unwavering positivity and visualization I have been touting to everyone?” Is it OK to at times manifest an “Eeyore” type outlook and feel bad about how things are transpiring? Or will that run counter to the visualized outcome because you’re not actively projecting that positive energy of your end goal? 

Do I Really Know What I Am Doing?  

Given my history in corporate America and the years of experience I have in owning my massage therapy practice, I have promoted myself as having a high level of expertise to help promising entrepreneurs create their businesses and financial freedom. Dozens of women have come to me with stars in their eyes and big ideas for their dream business. And yes, I have given them information to embark on their journey to independence. 

But what would they say if they knew that, beneath my façade of confidence and knowledge, my own business, finances, emotions, and personal life have suffered varying levels of failure? What would they say if they knew I sometimes thought I was an imposter entrepreneur? That sometimes I didn’t believe in myself. In reality, I have suffered setbacks that have greatly impacted my day-to-day life which track completely opposite to the image and confidence I project.  

At times, I find myself questioning my self-professed status as an entrepreneur as I continue to present myself in this visage and mindset and yet I don’t have the statistics to back it up. Could it be possible that visualizing my life the way I want is inadvertently keeping me in a ‘dream state’  rather than compelling me to face realities that are hindering my REAL success? Have I become an imposter entrepreneur?  

New Pathways 

I was in a state of confusion and, to be honest, a dampening depression. In the midst of all of this, and as a result of my persistent desire for clarity, I was reminded of a quote from Stephen Covey: “Begin with the end in mind.” This bit of advice was on a wall of the building wherein I relocated my massage practice.

As I stared at the wall, I found myself visualizing a new pathway with a renewed attitude toward my future endeavors. I knew that I had to outwardly admit to myself and others that although my first attempt saw some success, it was OK to have had those failures that forced me to discover new improved approaches to keep achieving my goals. It’s okay to embrace myself even when I sometimes think of myself as an imposter entrepreneur.  

In the end, I wholeheartedly came to believe that visualization and my desire to actively live in the positive energy is the way I will continue to move forward. It’s important to concentrate on those successes you’ve had so you can ‘sandwich’ the good and bad lessons that have been learned. When all of the pieces of the puzzle at long last fit together, it will come to fruition the way I want, the way I dreamed, the way I visualized it all. The house, income, travel, the relationship, dreams fulfilled. 

If ever you’re wondering just how I accomplished it all and are in need of advice, just look for me on the beaches of Greece. I’ll be the one dancing with the gorgeous, intelligent, hilarious SOMEBODY that finally walked through my door! Thanks, Whitney.

About the Author

Women Thrive Magazine Article Author - Emily Sanders

Name: Emily Sanders

Professional Title: Massage Therapist/Business Coach

Bio: After years of building her clientele and gaining experience in the field of medically inclined massage therapy, Emily was able to open her own Med Spa in Centennial, CO in January 2021. At the same time, she created Ilaria Entrepreneurial Investments LLC wherein the concept is to assist and mentor independent contractors in building their own practice as she did in 2013. On June 5, 2021, she competed for and won the title of Miss Colorado for America and has worked with the Blue Bench Organization to advocate for Rape Prevention Education in our Middle and High schools as well as works within the capacity of manager of the Denver Chapter of the Remember Betty Foundation, providing financial assistance to breast cancer patients and survivors ever since.


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Media platform spotlighting and celebrating entrepreneurial women and their achievements. Creating a platform where every woman can be seen and heard. We are disrupting the media industry by democratising media channels for women. If you have a business or an idea and you would like to rise and thrive, you are in the right place.

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