Recently my wife and I came to grips with the fact that neither of us has an eye for interior design. Our house is a random mishmash of patterns, designs, fabrics, and styles.
So we got a recommendation from a friend for a local interior designer.
Our process for vetting the designer was telling. First, my wife logged onto Facebook and looked her up. "She looks cute," she said, "and she's got style."
"Oh! That's good!" I said, hovering over her shoulder.
Next, we logged onto her website and looked through her portfolio, which had four samples.
"Seems legit," I said.
"Yeah, I like her designs," my wife said.
Finally, we looked at her "About" section on her website, where she proclaimed herself "a well-rounded student of Art History and Interior Design." (Note: she proclaimed herself.)
"Great! Let's give her a call and set up an appointment to learn more!" I said.
Now, this may say more about us and our superficial vetting process than it does about her, but I don't think so. In reality, I don't actually care if she's got the degree, a long track record, or a beefy portfolio.
I care that she came recommended from a friend, she's done it before, and she doesn't look or seem crazy.
Think about it: when you hired a mechanic, did you ask for their degree? Track record? Probably not. You probably looked at their testimonials.
How about your dentist? Did you ask how many patients they've served in the past 5 years? Did you ask to see before and after shots of past work? Probably not.
Legitimacy is an interesting thing. It's actually relatively easy to establish. Serve a customer, get a testimonial, show a passion for what you do, and publicize that passion. Don't be crazy, serve people to the best of your ability, and offer an outstanding product at a great price.
You don't have to have a degree, a long track record, and a published book to be credible.
See, credibility is more about you than it is about us.
We -- the people you serve -- don't need it as much as you think we do.
Credibility is the reason people will pursue additional degrees, certifications, etc. Every MBA I've ever coached is really getting their MBA for credibility, not for the interesting content.
Interestingly, we pursue these things more to convince OURSELVES that we're legit than to convince others...as usual, we are our own worst enemies...
To be clear, I'm not antagonistic against furthering your education or getting certified, but I think it's more for you than for us. That's ok. Do whatever you need to in order to feel legit, but don't delay offering what you have to the world until you feel legit.
Paradoxically, legitimacy comes from offering what you have to the world in spite of feeling like you lack credibility. Your offering makes you credible, not your dossier.
Hi! I'm Dustin.
I post here once a week on Tuesdays, every week, at 4:59am. You can also sign up below to have these posts magically air-dropped straight to your inbox.