How One Bad Day Turned Me Into a Fraud

December 3, 2018

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinski.]

You ever get that feeling when things are gliding along smoothly, you’re elated things are going your way, but you just can’t shake that feeling that things are about to fall apart?

And then, in the blink of an eye, all the confidence you were riding high on seemingly disappears into thin air and you’re left wondering why anyone thought you ever had any talent at all?

Well that was me.

I felt like a fraud.

In the matter of minutes.

It was the Spring of 2016. I had been working round the clock for approximately two weeks to debut ticket sales to my first virtual music conference. I secured the speakers, I wrote six e-books, I created the webpage, I created a promotional schedule, and I set up the e-store on my website to sell the tickets.

That was a big thing for me – the tech work. I am NOT a tech person in the least; I am, however, a control freak. My confidence was at an all-time high when the launch coach I had hired to help me tested the purchase and it went through with no problem.

It was show time.

The event was the biggest project I had taken on since I began working for myself two years prior. My coach called this “up-leveling.” I was ready. I had done the work, I had checked all the boxes. And then the page went live. Tickets were being purchased! HUZZAH!!!

And then… the issues. The tech issues.

Due to a weird software glitch, people began having issues purchasing tickets. Emails and tweets started to trickle in:

“I’m having trouble buying tickets.”

“Your website doesn’t work.”

“I want to attend, but the sale isn’t going through.”

One even mentioned that due to a glitch that was causing a different total to appear in the checkout cart he didn’t trust it (aka he didn’t trust me) and was going to hold off on purchasing until we spoke.

My heart sank.

The Know-Like-Trust Factor is crucial when building your community. In a nut shell it’s your reputation and indicates how comfortable people feel about doing business with you.

I had worked on building that trust for so long and it seemingly felt like it was gone in an instant. I couldn’t blame any of these people in the least. I’d feel the same way. And if these people were having issues, how many others had them and didn’t think to reach out? I called my coach in a panic. Why did I think I could do this? Who was I to take on this sort of responsibility?

After my pity party, and with her sage wisdom, I walked away from the computer. I decided to chill out for the evening, as nothing was going to get done with the state of mind I was in, and I would address the tech issues first thing in the morning.

It took time, but I got it all working.

What I had to learn and accept was that I am not my job.

I am not my website. I am more than a few tech glitches. Mistakes happen. Honest mistakes happen. They don’t take away from the fact that I had something great to offer others.

I started to pick up the pieces of my bruised ego and made sure everyone who contacted me with an issue was addressed and that their issues were rectified accordingly. They all understood. They all still purchased tickets. I posted online addressing the issues and assured people it was all fixed.

This wouldn’t be the last time a launch would go wrong. There would be more bumps in the road, especially when trying something new. However, I now know that this journey – being a musicpreneur can be an emotional rollercoaster.

If you allow yourself to be defined by your wins or losses, and allow your ego to insert itself into every situation to make it all about you, you will not survive the rollercoaster.

Believing in yourself doesn’t mean you think you’re perfect; it means you trust you’re mistakes don’t define you. How you deal with mistakes is what defines you.

When you are able to silence the fraud talk you’re able to take real action and embrace any mistakes that may follow as learning experiences. You’re here to build a career in music – that’s more than one song, one music video, one live show, one Facebook Live or Instagram Story.

Get out there and always do your best. If you keep in mind that you’re building a career to span your lifetime you can more easily remind yourself that the current upsets will soon be seen from your rearview mirror.

No matter what, keep your focus on your fans and industry relationships. Always lead with integrity and transparency and the mistakes will never outweigh the respect others have for you and your talents.

Think about the last time you felt like a fraud. When have you felt like what you had to offer wasn’t enough to share with others? Tell us in the comments below!

Suzanne Paulinksi is an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate.

Tags: featuring imposter syndrome motivation