How to create content without feeling like a fraud

By  •  Updated: 11/16/22 •  4 min read

I must have a dozen or more courses each with templates for emails, blog posts, social posts and sales letters, even before I start on the video formats.

And yet I’d still dread hitting “publish” on any of them.

Even after several months of regular online posting and emailing I’d get the same feeling, and I know that people just starting out as creators feel this intensely.

The fear is that their first posts have to sum up what they’re “all about” in a few hundred words and that every client will read it and say “oh, so that’s what you’re doing now?” 

Maybe they’ll leave if it doesn’t exactly match what they have come to you for in the past?

Deep down we know this is all nonsense, but we have an existential crisis about each post we publish, for quite some time.

Often it’s enough to make people quit altogether.

There’s definitely resistance, and “just pushing through it” isn’t the answer.

If you ever rode a bike into a headwind you know that the way to deal with resistance is to move it aside, not to just push harder into it.

Well, mental resistance is just the same.

What you’re up against is years of being taught to copy someone else, and you have roughly an 8% chance that they’re the right person for you to follow.

(I’ll get to how I worked out that number in a moment.)

Copying can be a good thing.

It’s how we learn everything as children, which is why I find it so odd that copying is treated like criminal behaviour as soon as we start school.

We’re told that we have to copy this person, not that person.

So we train our eye on the “expert” and copy them. Forgetting to develop our own voice.

Soon that voice gets buried, but when we start to create online it appears again, fighting to get out.

But we no longer recognise that voice.

It’s time to find it again.

If you’ve ever had a knot in your stomach when someone tells you to write polarising viewpoints, or you’ve wanted to throw up a bit when you’re told to be more empathetic, the chances are you’re approaching your content with the wrong values.

We don’t think about values, but they’re easy to find. 

Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, managed to group them into 12 characters or “Archetypes” that we behave like when we interact with other people.

For years branding consultants have used the same archetypes to describe corporate brands and help keep their vibe consistent over time.

So it’s odd that I’ve never seen a system that was designed to help individuals, used to help personal brands.

I decided to fix that.

I’ve built a short test based on Jung’s research that’ll tell you what your archetype is and give you some advice on how to think about your tone of voice, the kind of people you’ll attract, and even a few graphic design hints like the colours and fonts you might want to use.

The free test is at

If you find it useful, let me know what it came back with and how you feel about the suggestions.

P.S. Before you ask, no I’m not a designer, but I’ve worked in agencies for years and this is the 80:20 of visual branding that will get you going until you can afford the swanky websites and photo shoots that I know you think you need.

Give it a go and see how far it gets you:

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.