I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “Fake it til’ you make it,” in the music industry. If you are in a creative industry, and you haven’t heard it, don’t worry, I promise you will sooner or later.
Faking it until you make it is the action of trying to control the outside perception of your operation. The concept is simple, really. If you are a small-time musician, actor, model, etc., you simply put up a front to make your self look like a bigger deal than what you are. Pay attention to your wardrobe, and the company you keep. When you go out, take plenty of pictures to document the “moves” you’re making. After all, selfie…or it didn’t happen, right? If you’re meeting with a friend to have coffee and talk about a short promo video that you want to shoot, be sure to take a quick Snap video while you’re there and caption it “workin'.” Even in your conversations that you have on an everyday basis, play-up your actions to make people believe that you are always on the verge of hitting the big-time.
While imitating a level of confidence/competence absolutely has its value, when it comes to the creative industry, it differs greatly from imitating a level of success/achievement. This is important because doing one of them gains you respect, and doing the other makes you look foolish and arrogant. In everything you do, there is a certain virtue in performing up to the position you hope to get verses the one you have. This implies that you would take on more responsibility than you are assigned, work long enough for people to take notice, and acquire the expertise to make sure you are a lock for the position when it becomes available. If you don’t approach this properly, it is easy for it to blend into pretending that you have achieved something you haven’t.
There was a time where pretending to be doing something bigger than what you’re actually doing was effective, because no one could verify it. With our constantly growing connected world, it takes very little research to fact-check just how hot of a commodity someone is. Everyone has that one Facebook friend who updates their status with exorbitant prices for features and collaborations that no one is asking them for. Now I am not knocking charging for your craft, but don’t do it to the detriment of your growth and brand.
In closing I will say this: If you want to be successful in the creative industry, I encourage you to act as if you are. But only from a standpoint of how much work you are putting in, how you assign value to your time, and how you make sure that your actions align with your desired outcome. When it comes to people’s perception of you, it is best to collaborate with people on every level. We need people to help us get where we are trying to go. If we spend all of our time pretending to already be there, we will have a long road….running in place…by ourselves.