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Issue #14: Share Your Work


James Costa

June 13 · Issue #14 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

I think there are two sides to the imposter syndrome coin. First is an overwhelming fear that we’re not capable of doing our jobs, and second is a worry that if we share our work we’ll suddenly become obsolete. Being open and transparent can be difficult, often because it shows our own flaws and opens us up to criticism, but is important. Not only do we learn from feedback (both positive and negative), but we also get back what we put out there. It helps us grow not only as people, but professionally in our craft.
Early days in Phuse’s history, I was terrified of sharing. I remember being nervous that I had built a house of cards that could easily topple. Over time, I began talking to people who began asking tough questions and challenging me and the work we were doing. These were clients and partners, friends and team members. They pushed to ask critical questions and give advice because they wanted to see Phuse succeed. I couldn’t imagine being where we are today without them.
The success of such relationships (and my constantly asking for more feedback to get some sense of validation) led me to find groups like the Entrepreneur’s Organization, and ultimately to starting the Toronto Agency Owner meet-up (which, admittedly, I’m behind on planning a meet-up for). These groups pushed me farther, creating a network by which I could ask tough questions and get support. It’s amazing how many people who are a part of these groups talk about how liberating it is to share and how they feel more confident through engaging and being real, and how they wish they had done it sooner.
We need to stop lying about how things are going and call it like it is. We’ve learned over time by societal norm to always respond “good” (or “nm, u?” for those of us who used MSN) to questions asking how we’re doing, instead of telling people how we feel. (And, for what it’s worth, I’m not saying you need to respond to that question with your life’s story - but we all have bad days, and we need to be able to identify those days.) Instead of closing up when our business isn’t doing well, talking about the problems with others can often help (both mentally through having support and with breaking down the problem at hand). When sales got tough at Phuse, I remember approaching clients and telling them honestly where we were at and what we were looking for. It was terrifying (because we always want to look perfect to our clients, right?), but the response was always incredibly overwhelming and led to a lot of our transparent practices both internally and externally.
Deeper than that, sharing our tools and processes allows us to not only give back, but to also learn. I look at incredible examples in the community like nGen Works who share their process publicly, as well as the growing knowledgebase online for other agency owners through communities like the Digital Bureau, and realize how lucky we are to be at the point that we are as a community. We’re making open source not only about a particular framework or snippet of code, but also about how we build our businesses, and that’s pretty damn exciting.
Overall, this mentorship we’re able to give each other when we’re open to it is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to overcome that same imposter syndrome that scared us to share in the first place. Like any idea for a startup, success is based on execution and people. Let’s make this week count by allowing others to learn from us, and taking the opportunity to learn from those around us.
P.S.: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or making sticky note artwork with a quote from this week’s article, it would mean the world to me.

Good Reads
Getting less done
The Weight of Words
9 Facts Every Creative Needs to Know About Collaborative Teams
Do you really need that meeting?
Building remote-first teams
Weekly Inspiration
“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” — His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In Closing
This past week I went to a 21 Pilots show and I’m pretty sure I was one of the oldest people there, and someone behind me kept yelling “oh my god, he’s so pretty!”. Walking out of the concert afterwards, there was a massive line of dads waiting for their kids. That being said, it was a damn awesome concert. Just… thought you should know?
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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