I have written millions (truly) of words and thousands of blog posts and sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and think, “Who the hell am I to tell people what to do? Why should they listen to me when I extol the virtues of organization and conquering the overwhelm?” There are those occasions when I look at myself in the mirror and wonder, “Am I a blogging fraud?”
What happens when “impostor syndrome” pops up? I look at my body of work and know that I KNOW what I am writing and talking about. When I talk about getting organized and keeping a business going during an illness, hell, I survived breast cancer and multiple surgeries and treatments so, yeah, I KNOW what I am talking about.
Do you need to have written millions of words and thousands of blog posts in order to NOT be an impostor or a feel like a blogging fraud? No, you don’t. What you need to do is to claim your expertise and build your blogging business and your platform around that expertise. The best way to claim expertise is to know (and write) your business story. When you share your business story with your readers, they get to “know, like and trust” you and that adds to your expert level knowledge.
Do You Feel Like A Blogging Fraud? Tips To Claim Your Expertise
In order to stop feeling like an impostor, you need to understand the phenomenon. Feeling you’re a fraud or impostor means you don’t feel like you deserve your accomplishments or the accolades or the income you’re earning. You worry, with every post that you write, that you will be “found out” and people will point and say, “You’re not good enough.” Studies have also found that close to 70 percent of all people have felt like a fraud at times. That means that even Steve Jobs, Stephen King and Mark Zuckerberg probably felt like frauds at some point — intriguing.
As Stuart Smalley used to say when he looked at himself in the mirror, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and people like me.”
What you need to stop feeling like a blogging fraud is confidence. Confidence in yourself. Confidence in your writing abilities. Confidence in the expertise that only YOU can bring to the table with your blog content.
Stop comparing yourself
You are not “that” person. You know, that one blogger out there who is crushing it on social media and on receiving blog comments and getting into influencer programs you covet. Yes, jealousy is sometimes inevitable, but don’t let it rule your blogging life. You are not a blogging fraud simply because you’re not “that” person — whomever “that” person is for you. You are, well, you. Be brave and reach out to that person and say, “Wow, I am so impressed by all that you do. I wonder if you’d be willing to offer me some pointers on how you got to where you are.” Now, if this person is a consultant and charges for his or her services, offer to pay for the time you spend together; they may be flattered and want to chat, but don’t assume you can “pick their brain” for free.
Tell a peer
There are those days when you just need to say out loud to a trusted peer, “I feel like a fraud.” Tell them you’re struggling and ask them what they think of when they think of you and your blog and the niche you’ve chosen. Chances are the outside world looks at you completely differently than you look at yourself — more favorably than your inner demons I’ll bet.
Focus on your peeps
Who are you serving? To whom do you write your content? Who buys your products? How have their pets or family or lifestyle been made better because of what you do and what you offer? Channel your energies toward the clients you serve.
Your bank account isn’t the deciding factor
If you’re just starting out, you may feel like a fraud. This feeling can be exacerbated if you look at your bank account and notice you’re spending more than you’re making. Slow and steady wins the race. If you go back and talk to that one person you admire, you’ll probably find out they struggled in the start-up phase. They may have worked a full time job and run their blog as a side hustle until they “made it.”
Tally your self-worth
Take time right now. Today. Write down all of those things at which you are an expert. It could be anything from writing a blog post to making the best peanut butter and jam sandwich to being a DIY pro when it comes to dog beds. Your expertise could be applying eyeliner like nobody’s business. It could be the ability to write a blog post that brings readers to tears with its poignant content. Whatever it is. Write it down. Post that list where you can see it when you need lift yourself up. When we’re in the midst of doing we forget what got us to where we are. It’s good to remember and writing down silly things that you’re good at will give you a chuckle and get you out of your head.
When people are feeling like frauds or impostors it’s usually in the middle of the night or in downtime during the day. When you’re feeling like an impostor, take action. Write a blog post. Interact in a blogging group. Talk to a peer. Re-read your body of work.
What’s in a name?
Expert. Guru. What’s to say someone is an expert? Is it the content they’ve written? The money they say they’re making? (Anyone could say they’re making six figures, but unless you see their bank statements, how do you truly know?) What makes me an “expert” in time management and productivity? Because I lived through a situation unique to me. Because I came out the other side and said, “I cannot continue living and working the way I was. Something’s gotta give.” And it did. I completely turned my work schedule and life around. I came up with systems and procedures and had a lightbulb moment of, “I’ll bet there are other solopreneurs who are in the situation I was. I want to help them.” When I speak, I speak from a point of having lived it. Am I am an “expert”? I suppose I could add that label to myself, but I don’t… sometimes because I still feel like a fraud. I still have those moments of, “Why should people listen to me when I talk about productivity?” Then I realize it’s because I’m talking about concrete details, not abstract thoughts. I’m providing systems that can be implemented. I am offering a different way to look at a work day and the to-do list. I claim that “expertise” because it’s what I write about and speak about.
What is your expertise?
Do you claim it fully? Can you stand up at your next networking meeting and proudly proclaim, “I am an XYZ and I am uniquely positioned to help my clients XYZ”?
In the comments below, I urge you to claim your expertise! If you aren’t certain what your expertise is, ask in the comments for people to look at your blog and tell you what they see.
Is there something you’ve avoided doing because you feel like a fraud? Mention that in the comments. If you don’t want to expose yourself in that way, drop me an email. Let’s talk. Robbi AT PositivelyWoof.COM
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. I spoke at BlogPaws on: Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing. If you couldn’t attend, email me for free a copy of the e-book I offered. (Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT COM)