You're an Imposter


It’s almost Christmas and everyone I am talking to has already called it a year. I hope you’re planning a time-off with your loved ones, too.

I often check games out and catch up with online trends in my ‘time-offs’ and the other day, I was playing ‘Among Us’. I ended up being an imposter.

Source: Giphy 

Let’s keep the game’s specifics aside, but that word shook something inside me and got me thinking. 

You get me. Right? That fear of being an imposter when you’re trading your skill for money as a freelancer.

Everything starts with your first thought

Let’s say someone from a unicorn startup approaches you for getting something done and asks your price for it.

What’ll be your first response?

If you’ve just begun, or haven’t worked with a big client, you’d want to do your research, right? Most probably, you’ll say that you’ll come back with a quote.

But then there’s another class of freelancers- the desperate type.  

There’s a popular Hindi saying among students– ‘Shakal dekh ke number lagana’. This is a remark on favoritism among teachers.

Desperate freelancers start thinking of the prospect as a catch and once they find out that the prospect can pay more, they inflate the quote seeing the client’s name or stature. 

If they charge 1k for the work, they'll quote 2k in the hope that the prospect would accept it.

That’s who I call a chancer!  

Don’t be the auto rickshaw driver we all hate  

Let’s say you are visiting a popular vacation spot and want to go to the local market. You need a ride. 

You search on Google Maps and see the place is just 5 kms away. You ask a local auto rickshaw driver. He says it would cost you 500/-.

We’ve all been there. And we’ve seen how India is notorious for auto rickshaw drivers duping tourists this way. Right?

The auto rickshaw driver sees the face, instantly recognizes an outsider and quotes whatever he feels like, without giving any justification.

Sometimes, he wins, sometimes he loses. It all depends on luck.


Don’t be that auto rickshaw driver – a chancer.

If you do this once and win, you’ll do it again and before you know, this will become a habit. And when you meet a genuine client, your habit would make them walk away because they know the genuine efforts and the costs involved.

Before you even realize it, you’ll be marked as an imposter in their circles– someone who doesn’t know the reality but still takes their chances with work- that too, at an exorbitant cost. You don’t want to be that person- an imposter. 

Don’t decide anything just by the face value 

There’s been a trend going around in the freelancing community – that you should charge a maximum fee from clients who can afford it.

But, if you keep doing that, you’ll find yourself with just a few long-term clients in the future.

Remember, greed is a dangerous trait. 

So, the next time anyone approaches you (even when they are 'big' or they don’t know the costs), be genuine.

Charge for your skill and time, but don’t inflate your prices just because the prospect can afford the quote.

And if you're genuine bust still feel like an imposter, I've a quick guide below: 

Few Ways to Deal with 'Imposter Syndrome' as a Freelancer 

  • Have a portfolio of live work and projects (Here’s how you can build a portfolio even without a website or as a beginner)
  • Document your process and results you brought via case studies (Here’s how to write case studies)
  • Refine your positioning and define your audience personas (Here’s how to research and document your audience personas)
  • Don’t create hypothetical quotes and proposals. Add some substance. (Here’s how to create an effective one)
  • At last, don’t act like an imposter! (Like the autorickshaw wala bhaia trying to dupe unsuspecting tourists)  

Remember, freelancing is your career and you are in it for the long haul.

Stop treating freelancing like a side gig. If you think of it as a side gig, you’re an imposter.

I hope you will take this thought into 2021 and reach your goals through freelancing! 😊

That’s all I had to say before this godforsaken year ends. (I will write to you in January now)

All the best! Remember, if you’re stuck at any step, I am always here.


Keep freelancing!


Your freelancing companion




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