“Fake it until you make it”, or maybe until you break it? If you’re not familiar with it, lately it’s being used in the context of pretending you know what you’re doing, until you really do! I have a serious problem with this so-called strategy. Not to mention there are people teaching this strategy to new Virtual Assistants. It’s just wrong!
Do You Really Want To ‘Fake It Until You Make It’ With Your Clients?
You’re working in their business – their baby. They trust you can do what you say. Remember, it’s your business and reputation on the line. I’ve heard WAY too many horror stories about Virtual Assistants saying they know how to do something just to get the client. Then, when it comes time to deliver, they disappear leaving the client high and dry.
This damages our industry. Clients have trust issues (rightfully so) because they’ve been burned. The VA industry is a service-based industry, similar to lawyers, CPAs, doctors, dentists, plumbers, and many more. Would you want your attorney or doctor to fake it on you until they learn what they need to make it? I doubt it.
I know that’s not a straight comparison, but you get the idea. Professionals such as attorneys or doctors spend years in school learning their professions plus pass a test before they can even begin working with clients. Virtual Assistants do not.
Faking It Vs. Lack Of Confidence
It’s about ethics and being transparent with your clients. If you don’t know something, say so. You might be surprised. Many clients are willing to work with you to help you learn things.
And there is a big difference between faking it and lack of confidence. Faking means you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Like saying you know Infusionsoft but you’ve never seen it before.
Lack of confidence means you have the skills and know what you’re doing, you’ve just not done it enough to be confident yet. For example, you’ve taken classes to learn WordPress but you’ve not offered it as a service yet.
There are so many ways you can learn the skills you need to be successful. Take a class, intern, sub-contract, or find a mentor. I sub-contracted for several people when I was getting started to gain confidence and understand how this whole business works. Go with what you already know and offer that – but stop faking it.
Please also read my blog post, The 12 Virtual Assistant Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs – Especially If You’re A New VA! if you want to know more about some of the most common errors a lot of new Virtual Assistants make.
What do you think? Feel free to post below and share your thoughts on this strategy. I’d love to hear from you. All comments and questions are welcome.
Thanks for reading – Susan
P.S. If you want to specialize in in-demand skills, learn how to package and offer them as a service to become a known Specialist and get those higher-paying clients, I recommend you have a look at my TechieU Training. You can try it for 5 USD for 5 days and see if it’s for you!
For me, the ‘Fake it till You Make it’ is just a confidence booster, especially if you wake up not feeling very good or a little down in the dumps, I tell myself to put a smile on my face and ‘fake it till you make it’ and after a while, the smile becomes natural and I feel better. If I don’t know something that a client asks of me, I would never even dream of being dishonest and saying I know it, my response to that would be, I don’t know that program or I’ve never heard of that but give me an hour or two and I will research and learn about it. There is so many ways to learn new skills that ‘faking’ that you know something is only going to hurt yourself.
Catherine – thank you for sharing!
I see this all the time as well, not just in the VA sphere, but all over the internet as part of some invisible ‘plan’ to get to some imaginary goal. I don’t get it. To me ‘fake it until you make it’ is just a recipe for more stress and anxiety, which would make me less productive and get me absolutely nowhere. Maybe it’s just a personality type thing and this idea actually works for some people where they convince themselves they are a thing and then become that thing, but I guess my brain isn’t wired that way.
I hear ya Loretta, I feel the same way.