The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy

Lately, I’ve seen lots of posts and ads about “Fake it until you make it” and I have a serious problem with this so-called strategy. So, Friends, this is going to be a “soapbox” post – you’ve been warned  ;-).

You can also listen to this blog post instead of reading it. Simply hit the play button on the podcast player below. 

Not to mention there are people teaching this strategy to new Virtual Assistants… it’s just wrong. If you’re not familiar with it… it means fake like you know what you’re doing until you do!

That’s no way to do business!

Do you really want to fake 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 know I would not.

Now 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.

It’s All 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 – offer that.

But please, stop faking it.

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

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Written by Susan Mershon

Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor™ in 2013 to teach Virtual Assistants her no-fluff approach to the systems and skills they need to build and automate a successful business.

With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer in-depth training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants.

She’s taught over 5,000 students her unique systems and strategies that focus on offering high-end skills that give you the freedom to work when and where you want.

To learn more about The Techie Mentor™ and the systems and skills she teaches without all the fluff or hype go to The Techie Mentor website.


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  1. Catherine

    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.

    • Susan Mershon

      Catherine – thank you for sharing!

  2. Loretta

    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.

    • Susan Mershon

      I hear ya Loretta, I feel the same way.

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