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How many others do this, or am I just a walking mental case?
My first site is a "Guide to Widgets" sites. On this site I have tended to imply that there was a staff (I called myself a director, I said "we" instead of "I", but I never made up fake names and the like. I did this simpy because I am not an expert in widgets and so I needed something to provide my site with some quick credibility (although I still provided very high quality articles).
My second site will be more of a community site. I don't feel the need to fake my size because this topic related to by college degree (and my future graduate research) so I have some qualifications talking about this topic.
With some sites it provides security, anonymity and less overall hassle with the pushy ones. With others, it's survival: web hosting resellers would not want to disclose that "they're" really one person just playing the middleman. Happens in the brick-&-mortor world too...
So, we're instinctively used to matching our appearance and behavior to social situations. It's a natural behavior, and it's not just present among humans.
However, interviewers want to see the "real" candidate when they interview. People dating want to know "is this person really this cool or is it just an act."
Think about personal ads. Let's say an ad includes:
Well, that ad sends a lot of "positive signals," and probably will attract some interest. However, if the applicant doesn't live up to those expectations, there's going to be a really short date. It doesn't matter if the person is a 16 year-old computer whiz who envisions him/herself as that person someday or if the person is a 60 year-old janitor who dreams of the "could have been". It's best when placing a classified ad to be mostly "real." We expect people to present their best qualities and downplay their shortcomings, but we really seek the "true" person.
So, I'd say be real. Be yourself. If someone disses your work because you've done it all, then they're not the right fit for you but you (and it's their loss).
People like success. I've been "faking" it since the beginning 5 years ago, and now that my wife has joined the team, when I say "we" it really means something.
"we" refers to the company, not just you. It's good to be honest when asked, but generally it's a "we" and a "company" rather than me in my slippers and jammies in the living room.
if you're a walking mental case, then so am i. and so are my highly skilled team. and the trainee who is responsible for any errors ......
i do actually have 3 staff now, but we run many many websites between us. we don't use names - we'd just confuse ourselves. any email replies etc come from "sales" or "support" or sometimes "Admin Team" etc - much easier than names.
I work for a company that does just this. I can tell you from experience that it doesn't take that long for customers to find out the truth one way or another, and worst of all it doesn't just reflect on the company, it reflects on the people involved, whether it's under their control or not.
When it comes down to it, BS is BS.
"we" refers to the company, not just you.
I agree with tx. When I say we, I'm referring to the company as a whole. I don't get into specifics because I don't really think it matters. I tell my clients that I will personally be working on the project and that seems to go over just fine.
You need to develop enough confidence in who you are and what you do that you don't need to hide behind a network of non-existent workers.
It's more than that. You can have all the confidence in the world in your own abilities. Your customers need to have confidence in a company - not just one person.
You can give the impression of being larger without being Verizon.
Remember the old IBM PC commercials with the cast from MASH? Unless it's a plumber of electrician, I want to know I'm dealing with a company.
Just be yourself and take all the credit.
But the dropship sites, the content site and my affiliate sites are all random visitors and contributors. I compete against sites that are larger and better staffed (unless they are faking it too) so I feel that I need to make people feel that I am of a caliber to compete with those competing sites.
Lets say Joe in customer support replies to an email complaint and the person takes offense. The person hates Joe, in customer support, but that doesn't mean he hates the website or company. The person emails Joe's supervisor and complains. Joe's supervisor replies back saying that Joe is on thin ice and we sincerely apologize for his attitude. Now the person is happy and feels important because he got Joe in trouble, and on top of that likes a company that was so fast to act against Joe in customer support. End of story.
Lets say it's just Joe. Persons misreads Joe's email reply and takes offense. Now begins the biggest DDoS attack ever against joe and his website.
I have a whole staff of people just waiting to be disciplined and fired at the drop of a hat if they anger or upset even one customer.
My business (engineering consulting) is a one person business-no partners, no secretaries, no flunkies, etc.) There are people who would prefer to deal with several person firms so that if one person was unavailable someone else would be able to cover.
I, for example, prefered a three doctor ob/gyn group to a very good doctor in solo practive. Since babies don't come on schedule, it makes since to have a group practice with a rotation--one doc scheduled to cover deliveries at night and not have morning routine gyn appointments.
I don't try to pretend that I am more than a one person operation. Sooner or later the client will find out. Better sooner than later.
We now have six people that work in the company directly, and another 30 at our subcontractors. So how big of a company are we? We wouldnt be able to produce our products without subcontractors, so do they count?
I read all the business magazines I can find, and there is one thought that comes to mind when I read about some company with only 5 employees doing $10M a year in business - how many people work for their subcontractors :)