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Fake it till you make it – even more fake!

“I am going to fake it till I make it.” This is what a prospective client said to me the other month. On the surface they had a good coaching business and we were exploring whether they had the capabilities, experience and the commercial vehicle to achieve their desired goals. Well that’s what I was exploring! Plus are they “coachable” and by that I mean are they willing to listen to learn, to experiment, to get better over the time it takes to build a sustainable profitable business.

What they were exploring was how I could help them to create a 7 figure coaching business, and quickly.

My reply was “Well if you’re in the business of getting better at being a fake then I doubt we will be working together, after all who wants to do business with a fake.” I shut up, went quiet and waited; the quiet pause became a more uncomfortable silence (for them – not for me) as the meaning of my response sunk in.

Imagine standing at the top of a black ski run tottering on the edge, with no practice or experience but just a lot of confidence; go ahead fake it till you make it – take a leap off the peak of confidence down into the valley of despair. Fake it till you break it!

The fake it till you make it attitude is common among newbie’s or those who have invested very little time, money or effort in mastering their profession, whether that’s coaching or any other business venture. The Dunning – Kruger effect, best sums up this attitude.

“In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability.”


I’m all for confidence, however it works best with competence. Competence comes from practice, doing the work, mastering the craft, from having a willingness to make mistakes and to learn from them, to devoting and investing time, money and effort in the pursuit of getting better.

Many begin with high levels of confidence, they climb up the peak (see the graph) and plant a flag at the top of “Mount Stupid” – at this point they go on social media and declare themselves an expert, authority or genius.

Then as they do the work, they begin to doubt themselves as they either become more aware that their results aren’t as expected, or that no one is interested in their marketing. As they slide down into the “Valley of Despair” they begin to doubt their competency (which is probably accurate at this stage, and if they are being honest) and they either go back to a day job. Or become a bit coin or Forex trader, and within a month will be climbing the graph again as they position themselves as an online trading guru on instagram.

At this point all they need is a green screen and a picture of a private jet with a tiger by their side, and a list of fake testimonials that violate all trading standards.

You may be thinking to yourself “Steve this is a very cynical negative perspective” or you will recognise this trend throughout social media.

Desperate people, who want quick fixes and easy results, often grab at this approach looking for easy results with minimal efforts. I am all for maximum results with minimal effort and this comes from working hard, doing the right work, doing the grind, doing the hustle. Unfortunately there are smart savvy racketeers (I meant to say marketeers but spell check – auto corrected for me) out there willing to sell them the next get rich, live the life of your dreams, 5 step formula and make money selling this to others.

Anything we practice we get better at, practice faking it (whatever “it” is) and it’s a great way to become more of a fake.

Confidence comes with competence it becomes your USP not only because people can smell out fakery and authenticity but also because it’s an approach that every successful entrepreneur has (whether consciously or unconsciously) it will help you and your business stand out from the crowd and be noticed.

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