Make It Until You Make It

Success doesn’t come overnight.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

If you’re not going to respect yourself for what you do, how can you possibly expect to earn the respect of other people? If you don’t take yourself seriously, how can you expect other people to take you seriously? If you want to command an air of confidence, then play the part.

Act as if.

Fake it until you make it.

How many times have you heard some variation of the advice above? On the surface, it appears quite sound. After all, if you’re starting from nothing and building your business from the ground up, it’s hard to command the respect of those around you. When you start out, you’re nobody. No one knows who you are, so they’re not going to turn you to as the go-to expert in your chosen field or industry.

Putting on a Performance

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common pieces of advice that you’ll receive is that you should fake it until you make it. Even if you’re a solopreneur, running a business of one, you should put on a front that you’re a larger, more established, more respected business.

That’s why you’ll find so many people in Internet startups and similar businesses referring to themselves as “we,” even if they’re the only person associated with the business at all. When you talk about “us” and what “we” are doing, you command a certain respect.

It elevates how you are perceived, because if I say that “I” am doing this, some people might dismiss my freelancing work as little more than a hobby or “side hustle.” It’s not a “real” business, right? So, you put on the front. You act as if. You fake it until you make it, hoping that by playing the part, you’ll one day actually have the part.

There’s some truth to that, to be sure. But I disagree. Or rather, I’d like to offer a different take. Rather than deciding to “fake” it until you make it, why not try to “make” it until you make it? Let me explain.

The 10,000 Hour Rule

In Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell famously proclaimed that you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something to become an expert at doing that thing. This is true for everything from playing basketball to woodworking to mastering the craft of making exceptional sushi. Some people may be more or less talented at first, but if you put in those 10,000 hours, you’re probably going to get awfully good at whatever it is that you want to do, even if you started off at a bit of a disadvantage.

Making money online is no exception, though to be fair, the timeline can get significantly condensed thanks to the fast paced nature of modern technology. Even if we consider the 10,000 hours number in more of a figurative sense rather than a literal sense, most of us would agree that the more you work on something, the better you’ll get at that something.

For a time on my own blog, Beyond the Rhetoric, I published a new post every day. That’s seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is in addition to the hundreds or even thousands of other articles I wrote for my freelance writing clients.

As I look back at some of the stuff I wrote more than 10 years ago, I cringe. I thought I was pretty good at the time, but I’d like to think that I’m better at what I do today than I was back then. The same is true with taking photos, shooting and editing videos, engaging on social media, managing the back end of a blog, and so on. I put in the hours.

I’m not sure if I’ve hit 10,000 hours, necessarily, but you get the idea.

Dream Less, Do More

And while there was a certain level of “faking it” in the beginning in order to attract readers and clients to my blog and my freelance writing business, respectively, the more important component was the “making it.” I wrote a lot. Every day. Without fail. Just by way of brute force, my writing ability has (hopefully) improved. I made it until I made it, even if I think I’ve gone plenty of more room for improvement still.

If you want to be a famously successful YouTube star, then shoot and publish more videos. They don’t even need to be that great; just be consistent, putting in the work. When you allow yourself to slide one day here, one week there, you inevitably fall down the slippery slope of skipping another day and another week until you get to the point where you haven’t uploaded a new video in months. That’s not how you “make it.”

So, get out there and make something. Write more blog posts. Shoot more videos. Publish more photos on social media, run more affiliate marketing campaigns. Just keep creating. Just keep making it. And one day, true enough, you just “make it” after all.