Writers Worth: How to Fake It as a Freelancer

I’ve already gushed about how thrilled I was that Princess Jones is in my freelance circle. A little more won’t hurt, though I am in danger of having the “stalker” label slapped on me.
Here’s the thing about Princess — she’s a professional. She writes incredibly, runs her business exceptionally well, and takes no prisoners when it comes to telling it the way it ought to be told. As witnessed by her guest co-hosting on The All Indie Writers Podcast, she’s fun, funny, and smart.
So when Princess tells you to fake it, it’s a good idea to listen. But like most freelancers, Princess knows how new freelancers should fake it. 

How to Fake It as a Freelancer

by Princess Jones
Recently,  I was a
guest co-host on The All Indie
Writers Podcast
. During the recording there was a lot of light
shed on some interesting topics. The first is that I sound like a cartoon
mouse. The second is that it’s hard for me to stay on topic. I am all over the
place. I’m quite random actually. And finally, that apparently I didn’t know
what “fake it ‘til you make it” meant.
I thought faking it until you make it meant borrowing
confidence, style, or a winning attitude until you feel like you’ve gotten
there on your own. Sort of like “dress for the job you want instead of the one
you have.” Putting on a well-made suit that you spent a month’s salary on
doesn’t mean you’re pretending to be the boss. You’re just letting everyone
know that you and the boss are cut from the same cloth.
But apparently I have misunderstood. Apparently it means
pretending like you’re an authority when you aren’t. Apparently it means
pretending you have experience that you do not have. Apparently it means coming
up with a personal history that does not exist in reality. None of these things
are OK so I can see why it’s gotten such a bad reputation.
It’s time to take back “fake it ‘til you make it.” And so, I
present to you a few things that OK for you to fake as a freelancer:
Confidence: Nobody
is confident all of the time. We all have inner anxiety about our work. That’s
OK as long as you don’t let it drive the bus. When I’m in need of some self
confidence, I read my testimonials or other nice things people have written
about me. Then I pretend to be the person those people are talking about, even
if I feel like she doesn’t exist.
Courage: Courage
is not the absence of fear but moving forward in spite of it. Even if you don’t
feel particularly courageous, you can just do what the people you admire would
do in the same situation. For me, that’s Batman. Whether it’s a new client
trying to nickle and dime me or the Joker busting up my writers’ group, I look
to him as an example of how to kick fear’s butt and make things happen.
Professionalism: Professionalism
is relative. What’s professional at a startup in someone’s garage is very
different from what’s professional at white shoe law firm. Even though I have a
one-person business that exists at my kitchen table, I project the
professionalism of one that has too much overhead and fancy letterhead. I do
that because it makes it puts people at ease to deal with someone who seems to
have their stuff together. I’m not faking a business–I am a business. That fact that I’m on this conference call in my
monkey pajamas eating jelly beans for breakfast is no one’s business.
Enthusiasm: I’m
introvert. All I want to do is stay at home, talk to my dogs, and play video
games. But I force myself to go out into the world for networking, prospecting,
and just my overall mental health. When I’m on the way to some function and I
definitely wish I was still in my pajamas, I pretend like I’m excited to be
going. I talk myself up about the things that are going to happen–I’m going to
meet a new cornerstone client. I’m going to meet another writer that gets me
and develop a lifelong friendship with her. I’m gonna eat a lot of appetizers
and sneak a piece of cake home. If I do that long enough, I actually start to
get enthusiastic, which makes others enthusiastic about me.


Princess Jones is the evil genius behind P.S. Jones Copy & Design, helping food and drink businesses find their wings. For more talk about authenticity, faking it, and Batman, follow her on Twitter at @imprincessjones.


Writers, how many instances of “faking it” done wrong have you seen?
Of all the points Princess brought up, which one (or ones) were/are the toughest for you?

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Comments

  • Paula Hendrickson May 29, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    All this time I thought Cathy was my twin. Then Sharon was our triplet. But Princess may be our quadruplet.

    Or maybe you're my real twin, Princess, because I also prefer staying home talking to dogs, and I never realized people had corrupted "fake it 'til you make it" to support false advertising or flat out lying. Thanks for making sure others understand the real meaning of the phrase.

    I will confess, I've never heard the term "white show law firm" before, but for some reason it only conjures up visions of Matlock. (Didn't he wear white shoes with his white suits?)

    Reply
  • Princess Jones May 29, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Oh it's an old term for a WASP-y, New England type law firm that deals with "old money." It does come from the shoes they used to wear. Not sure at Matlock, though. I watch a lot of courtroom dramas and that's where I got it from. LOL!

    Reply
  • Cathy Miller May 30, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Now this kind of fake it should make it just fine. One of my former corporate bosses nicknamed me the Lone Wolf because of my preference for living alone. Hard to do when you're the middle child of seven. 😉 Good seeing you here, Princess.

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 30, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Amen to everything you said, Princess. It makes me sick when I see fake-sperts conning people, but putting on a mantle of confidence is fine.

    Reply
  • Dennis Muigai May 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Princess Jones
    I have a problem with enthusiasm. I am very introverted and in recent occurrences, it has become clear that enthusiasm is not one of my strongest suites. I just can't learn how to fake it.

    Reply
  • Lori Widmer May 31, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Princess, you rule. But then again, you should. 🙂

    I love this post because it points out a glaring issue in today's freelance world — writers who lie outright about their experience. One in particular spent a few years swiping content from this blog and others, repackaging it as their own, then selling courses based on this compiled info. Worse, the people who think of this person as an expert don't realize the unethical way this person got such "experience."

    And you're damned to say anything. I would never hamper anyone's ability to earn a living, even an unscrupulous jerk. They'll get found out, if it hasn't started to happen already.

    Dennis, even introverts can be enthusiastic — find that place where your joy lives and let it out to shine. Still, if it's not your thing, have your own private enthusiastic moments. No reason why you have to share that. 🙂

    Reply