How entrepreneurs can overcome imposter syndrome

Holly Branson signing a book for Carol Lathbridge from Tiwani Heritage at Virgin's office in London
Kami White
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 24 April 2024

 If you don’t do it, you haven’t done it.

My granny used to say this a lot, and the words have always stuck with me. It’s a brilliant mantra for entrepreneurs, but it’s easier said than done sometimes, especially when imposter syndrome gets in the way.

Holly Branson with the founders of Tiwani Heritage founders at Virgin's office in London
Kami White

 Whenever imposter syndrome comes up in conversation, I remember some brilliant tips that Carol Lathbridge and Lola Cawood shared with me. Carol and Lola are the founders of a fantastic start-up called Tiwani Heritage, which launched with support from Virgin StartUp. As two Black female founders who launched a business in a global pandemic, Lola and Carol know a thing or two about overcoming barriers and shutting down imposter syndrome. When I asked how they cope with self-doubt, Lola told me: “Just shut it down. Go in there, lift your head up high and say, ‘I’m here. I’m here for you to see what I’m about.’” 

If you’re an entrepreneur with a tendency to doubt yourself, here are three great tips from Lola and Carol: 

  1. Know your worth: Apply for every grant, every accelerator programme, every competition, and every award you can find. 

  2. Turn down the volume of the negative self-talk: This gets easier as your careers moves on, and you build up more confidence from everything you’ve experienced. At the beginning though, you’ve got to take a leap of faith and just get started.   

  3. Don’t underestimate the edge you can bring to your brand, just by being yourself and bringing your own voice to the table. 

Tiwani Heritage founders Carol and Lola
Tiwani Heritage

The pair also shared a lot of wisdom about everything from little known grants to ways of overcoming imposter syndrome – and I wanted to bottle up everything they said and share it with you all. So, we turned our coffee-fuelled chat into a more formal interview, which you can watch below! We covered everything from spotting gaps in the market, to tackling sustainability, embracing simplicity, overcoming imposter syndrome, empowering other entrepreneurs, and finding innovation in the most unlikely places (i.e., banana fibres). For context on that one, you’ll have to watch our conversation in full… 

Holly Branson in conversation with the founders of Tiwani Heritage

Thank you to Lola and Carol for sharing your wisdom with us, for creating such an exciting and purpose-driven business. Here’s more about Tiwani Heritage and here’s everything you need to know about Virgin StartUp.