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How Self-Employed Professionals Can Defeat the “Fraud Factor”

In my experience, there is almost always something that holds an independent service professional back from either getting his/her business started or ramping it up to full capacity and keeping it there. I call it the "Fraud Factor". Until you no longer feel like a fraud, any investment you make in marketing your business will be diminished because these unresolved issues are draining all of your marketing efforts. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why will anyone else believe in you?

What is the "Fraud Factor?"  It’s a great sense of insecurity that overwhelms you any time you attempt to talk about or market your business in some way.  Below is a list of 6 statements that business owners suffering from the Fraud Factor Syndrome often tell themselves. Do you resemble any of these remarks?:

  • "I have no idea what I’m doing here — why would my client trust me?"
  • "I don’t have any experience in working with clients as a <fill in the blank here with your profession> — the people I talk to about my business are going to see right through me."
  • "I can’t charge this much money for what I do — I’m not an expert in this field."
  • "I don’t have enough information to work with clients — I need to get more training."
  • "I’ll bend the rules just once for this client. After all, I’m a newbie, and I need to do anything I can to get a client."
  • "I don’t have all of my marketing materials completed — no one will ever believe I’m a business owner, so I can’t start until everything is perfect."

I would be lying to you if I told you that every single one of these thoughts didn’t flutter through my head on at least one occasion in the start-up phase of my business. One or two of these come back and visit me on a regular basis, even though I’ve been a successful business owner now for 7 years and counting.  It’s very natural to be visited occasionally by your own IBSC (Itty Bitty Sh**ty Committee).

What distinguishes happy, successful, confident, and fulfilled self-employed business owners from the unsuccessful ones are how they handle problems and challenges and deal with their self-doubt and self-confidence issues. I’m of the opinion that life is comprised of mountains (places and times when you’re at your best), valleys (when you don’t think can take another minute) and missiles (unexpected events that take you off track). If you were to ask 20 very self-confident people about the low points and high points in their lives, every single one of these people would tell you that his/her life has never been all mountains — that they have all seen their fair share of valleys and missiles just like the rest of us. 

However, the difference is that these self-confident business owners realize it’s a phase and it will pass. The IBSC (also known as the little voices you hear in your head), will rule your life and your business if you let it.  None of you fell off the turnip truck yesterday, to borrow a phrase from my growing-up years out in the country. Every single one of you brings into your business a unique set of skills and experiences that no one else has and no one else can duplicate.

So, if you feel yourself to be a fraud, for whatever reason, you need to learn to "act as if", or "fake it ’till you make it" – – pretend as though you’re a wildly successful business owner until you truly believe that you are. If you need help, get it — from a good friend, a business colleague, your spouse, a coach — whatever works for you.

People with high self-esteem who handle problems and challenges well understand that the only people who don’t have mountains, valleys, and missiles in their lives are lying in the cemetery. So, fake it until you make it, act as if, and suck it up and get over yourself. Mark Twain says it best, "Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right."

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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