Dealing with imposter syndrome – that feeling of self-doubt in spite of your success – is part of being a formidable business person. Scott D. Clary has wrestled with this and still built successful businesses and a podcast that has had more than a million downloads
Scott D. Clary is a successful man. His list of credentials is impressive – he has interviewed some of the world’s most prominent thought leaders and built numerous businesses from start to scale. Interviewing him, you realise just how grounded he is. He’s passionate about sharing knowledge and helping people, and eager to grow himself at any opportunity.
He has a social media following of more than 800-thousand people and is the host of the popular podcast series, Success Story. The sales and marketing podcast has featured guests such as Guy Kawasaki, Anthony Scaramucci, Jack Canfield, Patrick Bet-David, Grant Cardone, Oren Klaff, Joe Vitale, Vernon Davis and many more, and offers listeners life lessons by delving into the wins, losses, success and struggles of his guests.
The Success Story podcast has had over one million downloads, with people from all over the world listening for insight into the world of business. Clary’s podcast has been successful because he has focused on content that resonates with people. When he started the podcast he began by creating content that would teach people very practical, tangible business items, and also interviewing highly successful people. “I think the goal of the podcast is to bring perspectives on how to upskill yourself and that was the initial goal of the podcast. That’s what I’m still trying to build,” says Clary.
He attributes the success of the podcast to his focus on creating content that resonates with people. “It hasn’t always been perfect, but I think that it does fit a certain niche of individuals, like high performing people that want to figure out how to take life to the next level. And that’s more and more people,” he says. “With the pandemic, even more people are trying to figure out how to start a side hustle. They are realizing their job isn’t so secure. They’re trying to figure out how to do things differently to how their parents did. So I think that the concept of entrepreneurship is hotter than ever.”
The Power Of The Side Hustle
What sets Clary apart is that he’s all about the side hustle. “Traditional entrepreneurship expects you to go all into something, risk all you have, and save enough money to survive for three years without working, all this before starting your business,” he says. “Going all in on something can potentially work, but entrepreneurs don’t have to take on so much risk. If you can get talent and technology to help you augment your skillset and productivity, and you build processes, you can create a decent side hustle without investing all of your resources of time and money into it.”
While most thought leaders seem to be encouraging people into full-time entrepreneurship, Clary is evangelizing the idea of keeping your regular job and focusing your free time on your side hustle while figuring out how to monetize it, and this is resonating with his audience.
Clary was working full-time when he created Success Story, and still is. He chose to stay in his day job and keep his side hustle. To do this he created a process requiring a minimal amount of his time while still providing a great product. He lined up a team to take care of the process of editing, copywriting, and distribution. His part, which is what he loves the most about his side hustle, is preparing for and recording his one-hour episodes.
“I kept my side hustle as a side hustle so I can still, as of right now, be an operator and a company,” he says. “It could turn out that your side hustle could just be a side income if you figure out the process for it so it doesn’t take too much of your time. Or alternatively, if it started as a side hustle and you need to go into it full time to really scale it, then you have that option as well. But it’s not as risky because the side hustle has been validated and it’s starting to make some money. Then you can feel a little bit more comfortable about quitting your full-time job.”
Never Say No
Clary’s mantra is ‘never say no’ and he challenges himself to take on every opportunity that presents itself. “Never saying no means you should always try something and figure it out because you will never be 100% ready for anything you take on in life,” he explains.
While his podcast focuses on chatting to thought leaders to find out where success comes from, he is honest about how easy it is for self doubt to creep in as you build your business. “You will always have imposter syndrome. You will always have self doubt,” he says. “Be cognizant that you will always feel those things and know that if somebody asks you to do something, of course, if you say yes, you’re going to have to step up to the plate. You’re going to have to figure it out, but always have confidence in yourself to be able to figure it out.”
“If you always know that, okay, I’m committed to figuring it out. And if you’re honest with yourself about what you don’t know then saying no is the wrong attitude. Saying yes is the right attitude. Then follow up and put 110% of yourself into that thing so that you can figure out everything you need to know to execute it effectively,” he says.
The most immediate emotions he experiences when saying yes to something is stress and anxiety. He believes these emotions never go away no matter what the world perceives about you. Clary says you will always internally have stress and anxiety because it goes hand-in-hand with the imposter syndrome
“When I jumped into things, and I figured them out, and I was successful in them, stress and anxiety went away over a period of time,” he says. “It’s the confidence in yourself that you can figure it out that ultimately will allow you to be successful and to remove that stress and anxiety a little bit quicker. It comes down to trusting yourself, and that’s what alleviates the natural reaction of stress that comes with jumping into something new.”
Imposter syndrome never goes away. It’s something that successful people need to be aware of and work with. Clary believes that, “You should never feel like imposter syndrome is 100% gone because it drives a ‘figure-it-out curiosity mentality,’ which is required to be successful in any business. It’s almost like a preservation mechanism that forces you to be better.”
“I’ve interviewed more than 200 people and I’ve probably been interviewed at least 100 times, but every single time I try to show up. The only reason I try to show up is because I give a shit. And I give a shit because I have a little bit of imposter syndrome that forces me to try and exceed expectations, and I like that. I don’t want to think that I have it all figured out. Because I think that kind of makes you a little bit better.”