How LinkedIn Causes Imposter Syndrome in Entrepreneurs

How LinkedIn Causes Imposter Syndrome in Entrepreneurs

Comparison is the thief of joy, and social media makes comparing oneself to others unavoidable. For better or worse, social media connects us with a sizable proportion of the human race, expanding the scope of comparison. Historically, we would only compare ourselves to friends and family, people who are most likely on our level. But now, we are forced to compare ourselves to Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, as social media gives us deep insight into their lives. This inevitably impacts the self-esteem of nascent entrepreneurs who feel surrounded by infinitely more successful people, shaking their confidence and sense of worth.

In this article, I will outline how social media, and LinkedIn specifically, has given a generation of entrepreneurs imposter syndrome, and what you can do to rid yourself of it.

The Imposter Syndrome and Entrepreneurs

Imposter syndrome occurs when someone doubts their own competence, value, or expertise, causing them to believe they are simply faking it. They feel like they aren’t “real” entrepreneurs but rather imposters, destined to be exposed eventually. Often, people imagine scenarios where they speak with someone more knowledgeable, experienced, or competent, fearing that unanswerable questions will reveal their lack of expertise.

Imposter syndrome is particularly common among entrepreneurs, as the distribution of success is enormous. We have literal billionaires who started effectively from nothing, and we have failed business owners who leave behind only debt, and everything in between. It is easy, therefore, to hold the most successful entrepreneurs as the norm, rather than the exception, making us feel inferior. But why is LinkedIn so culpable in propagating imposter syndrome, and what can we do about it?

You Only See People at Their Best

The biggest problem with LinkedIn and social media in general is that people only post themselves at their best, giving a false impression. People brag about their successes, revel in their achievements, and shout loudly about their competence at any given opportunity, making this seem normal. Even when people post about difficulties and challenges, they do so via “humble bragging,” putting a positive spin on problems which would otherwise be purely negative, further making people feel inferior.

Naturally, it's a basic human instinct to show off, and when we feel especially proud of our achievements, we want to share them. Moreover, we know deep down that most of these posts are really just promotional messages for their business, which is the whole point of LinkedIn. However, psychologically, you cannot help but compare yourself to these noise makers, contrasting their achievements with your own. What's worse, because they hide most of their story, it feels like you are the only one struggling, shaking your confidence.

Only The Best Get Pushed By The Algorithm

Another contributing factor is the reality that LinkedIn disproportionately promotes material from successful people. People are just more interested in what Bill Gates has to say than a solopreneur just starting out. Consequently, your feed gets bombarded with content from ultra-successful people whose achievements completely eclipse your own. After all, who do you actually follow on LinkedIn? It's inevitably going to be a mixture of industry magnates, thought leaders, and celebrity billionaires, not a realistic sample for comparison.

This becomes particularly clear when you personally post something, and it gets a fraction of the engagement that you see elsewhere, further reinforcing imposter syndrome. Surely, if no one is interested in what I have to say, and I am comparing myself exclusively to people whom everyone cares about, I must be a fraud? This is the logic behind imposter syndrome, and it's easy to see why LinkedIn exacerbates its effects. But what can we do about it?

How To Overcome The Imposter Syndrome

The most important thing to overcome imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur is to seek mentorship and/or coaching (particularly offline). You need an experienced and impartial reference point who can speak honestly about your professional and personal development, and this is non-negotiable. I know, it would be easier if there were an app you could download, or a 5-minute meditation exercise, or something more light touch, but imposter syndrome is caused by negative self-perception, and you need someone to realign this perspective.

Seeking, fostering, or even procuring such a relationship is difficult, and many will simply dismiss this advice offhand. However, imposter syndrome doesn’t go away quickly, and it drains your mental health while limiting your productivity. Prioritizing your own success and wellbeing is something that all entrepreneurs should be doing, and there is no shame in admitting that you need support—everyone does. Speaking with an experienced mentor provides much-needed context, helping to pull you out from a negative spiral in a way that cannot be replicated elsewhere.


As with all difficult problems in life, there are rarely easy solutions. Imposter syndrome, particularly when caused by unnecessary LinkedIn doom scrolling, is no exception and requires a meaningful attempt at resolution. A real-life experienced mentor or coach can tell you exactly where you are on your journey, dispelling illusions of inferiority and easing concerns. However, left to your own devices, you will likely continue to doubt yourself chronically, and it could be years before you get yourself out of this rut. Therefore, I strongly recommend taking this issue seriously and following the necessary steps to recover.

Oliver Savill

About Oliver Savill

Oliver is the founder and CEO of AssessmentDay, with extensive experience in starting and scaling new businesses. He writes extensively on several topics, including entrepreneurship, SaaS, skills-based hiring, and running small businesses.

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