Imposter Syndrome & Running a Small Business

Humanitea and Nutcessity - Tina and Mike


HumaniTea and Nutcessity are two similar thinking brands, but make very different products. Both have sole founders, both use healthy and environmentally friendly ingredients, and they don’t use plastic packaging.

These two small brands are growing and becoming more successful, and both offer alternatives to your typical food and drink. HumaniTea offers a chilled, vegan version of a tea latte, and Nutcessity offers nut butters that do not contain peanuts!


What is Nutcessity?

Nutcessity was created by Mike after he tried nut butter in Australia several years ago, and he decided to make his own in 2016. 

Mike describes why he first decided to start Nutcessity: “Having a peanut allergy has always been something that has affected me. I wanted to create a range of nut butters that were suitable for people with peanut allergies, environmentally friendly, healthy, and just super tasty. I didn’t feel like there was anything like that around at that time. I started to think maybe I should make my own nut butter.”

 The nut butter is organic and contains no gluten, no peanuts, no added sugar, and no palm oil, and they taste amazing! Mike used to make all the nut butters by hand, but due to a high demand he has been working with a UK manufacturer to ensure that even more products can be produced.


Instagram Live

Yesterday afternoon, Mike from Nutcessity and HumaniTea’s founder Tina Chen had a discussion on Instagram live. They spoke about a range of things, including imposter syndrome, life as a sole founder, and their tips for starting a business. You can watch the live here, and read the highlights below! 


What is Imposter Syndrome?

Mike describes it as: “When you feel like you’re not really doing your job or yourself justice and you feel completely out of your comfort zone and you think ‘I’m not up to this’. You don’t feel good enough. There’s loads of situations in life where it happens.

“Imposter syndrome comes into it all the time as I sometimes just feel like this random guy off the street just trying to make a living from making nut butter!”

Tina believes that imposter syndrome could be beneficial to a small business: “it’s nice when a brand has a story and it’s not just another big corporate brand.” 

Mike agrees with this as he believes a brand’s story resonates with customers and he carries on with the business due to the passion, the story, and not for the money. 


How to start succeeding in your business

Tina believes that you need to find the right people for your business as the founders can’t be good at everything. “If I’m not good at content creation then I’ll bring in a wonderful marketing person. I have Megan on my team who has been doing TikTok and blogging, which is not my skill set! She’s really good at it, so it’s finding the right people to join the team. We can’t be good at everything, and we don’t have time to do everything, but we should notice our strengths, recognise, and celebrate them.”

Tina also believes that you shouldn’t compare your business to others but admire them instead. “We often compare ourselves to other companies and think we’re not growing as fast, but we should celebrate the little steps cause every win counts. We need to celebrate other successes and learn how they succeed too.”

Mike agrees: “That is one of the key things to being happy- not just in business but in life! Doing your own thing and being comfortable, and also having an understanding that other businesses have different resources, experiences, capabilities.”


Sole founders - do you need a co-founder? 

“I’ve got quite an individual personality and I like my own company”, says Mike. “I don’t have a lot of close friends, so running a business on my own works for me because I can do things the way I want to do it.

“I am learning to be more receptive to opinions and advice, which I think is important, but I do have times where I think it would be nice to have a co-founder, but that has its own difficulties as well… I reckon a lot of co-founders think ‘oh I wish I was a sole founder.’” 

Tina explains what it takes to be a co-founder: “I think finding a co-founder needs to be a good match - it’s like getting married! The success stories I’ve heard are either two really good friends where there is so much trust, or married couples who work really well business wise. It’s about that trust.”


Mike and Tina’s top tips for starting a business


Question everything: “I’m not the most positive person, I’m very sceptical, so I would say don’t listen to advice and act on it. Listen to advice, then listen to more and more advice, then make your own decision. You need to do your thing as it would make you happy. Act on your own instincts and passion, don’t just listen to any advice.”

Commit to it: “It is really hard and not everyone realises that it’s super, super hard work.”

Drive a car: “I drive a lot, just to see the right people, do tasting, meet manufacturers, you need to be able to get around fairly quickly.”

Be Passionate: “Burnout rates can be quite high if you’re not passionate about what you are doing. We are passionate because our businesses mean something to us (Mike is allergic to peanuts which inspired him to create Nutcessity, and Tina was inspired by her native Taiwan and their bubble tea).

Find the right support network: “Mentors, other founders, like me and you can support each other so find the right people to help. Bread and jam (a place for food and drink brands to network) is really helpful for that.”

Have a routine: “Walk around the block before you start work, eat the right things, call your parents or support network at the same time every week. Things like that help you do your job.”