This is a follow-on to my post on giving away your business expertise as a model for how to approach your content marketing, a Seth Godin idea.
Another idea from Seth’s recent intellectual stampede flips the notion of “imposter syndrome” on its head. Most seasoned business consultants tell you to watch out for “imposter syndrome,” and overcome it. Get past it. Don’t believe in it.
Not bad advice.
But Seth goes beyond that: “If you are doing work that matters you are an imposter …. if you’re not feeling like an imposter I would argue you are not working hard enough.”.
I love when a business idea applies equally to the product or the services delivery model (example: improve the impact of your solution by specializing).
That’s true of this imposter-mentality idea.
Below is Seth Godin’s full riff on imposter-dom. It comes after an anecdote about self-doubting musicians who felt they didn’t deserve to “stay in one city” and work their way up to playing larger venues – instead they went from town to town, easy-to-book coffeeshop to easy-to-book coffeeshop.
Why didn’t they take their music label’s advice: stay in one city, work your way up. Play bigger shows, bigger venues.
Because they felt like imposters.
To which Seth says:
“Of course you feel like an imposter. If you are doing work that matters you are an imposter. You can’t certify that you’ve done this exact thing before and it’s guaranteed to work. You can’t, so because you’re a good person and an honest person inside, you feel like a fraud. Because you’re acting as if, because you’re describing a future that isn’t here yet. If you’re not feeling like an imposter I would argue you are not working hard enough.”
Do you have a vision for the future where X (your clientele) can now do Y thing better – or at all – because of Z thing you offer?
Especially if there was no good reason your clientele couldn’t do this before?
In other words, are you helping victims of the current status quo by updating a small piece of the future status quo? Even if:
You can’t certify that you’ve done this exact thing before and it’s guaranteed to work.
Feeling like an imposter is not for everyone, but if you want to change what you do and solve new kinds of problems – in new ways – it’s not only an accelerant, it might be a requirement.
Because a great way to validate your ideas is to stand behind them in public.
Once you start to make your imposter-dom part of your marketing, you put your commitment to doing something different to the test. You’ll feel it keenly.
It’s even harder than giving away your expertise for free. And even more work.
My University didn’t offer a degree in agile ideation for marketing. But here I am, offering change through thousands of little ideas – impostering.
 Forgot to mention, if you’re pressed for ideas on how to share your expertise, do a “tear-down”, a product critique. Here’s one I did of Google Brand presence of large interactive agencies https://www.rowanprice.com/google-brand-score-big-agencies. But they could be of anything – you could critique wine label bottles, footpath design, restaurant-industry mobile apps, musical instruments, or marketing websites for B2B SaaS companies. If you know something important, it’ll sneak out.