On this week’s episode of Back to Work (starting at the 33-minute mark), Dan and Merlin have a great conversation regarding what it is that sometimes causes creative and entrepreneurial people to feel like frauds.

It’s a great conversation about the fear of going into the unknown to create something and then exposing yourself by putting your work out there, and how, at the end of the day, it’s just part of the process for people who make things, and to do anything worthwhile requires stepping out on a ledge.

As an example, they talk about my launch-day fears which I shared in my post last week about how I self-published my book. In that post I wrote that I woke up on launch day feeling like a fraud before I had even made Delight is in the Details available for sale.

I’ve been making and selling my own work for years. I’ve done freelance work for print and web projects, I’ve sold t-shirts here, and I ask readers to become members and support the writing I do on this site.

Have I ever felt like a fraud before? No. Last week was a new experience for me.

All I can boil it down to is that charging for this book was different than anything else I’ve sold before. With the book I assigned a value to a topic that is familiar to me, but those who were buying it didn’t yet know what was inside. I feared they would find the content to be familiar as well and thus not consider the price to be a fair value.

For all the other things I’ve sold (design work, t-shirts, site memberships, etc.), the person buying knew exactly what they were getting before they paid. In the case of the book, people have had to trust that what I’ve said about the book is true.

I’m not sure if that makes sense, but it’s the best way I know how to explain it.

If this “lizard brain” stuff sounds familiar to you, give this week’s Back to Work a listen. Merlin does a great job at debunking some of the reasons why people may feel that way and why it’s usually not an accurate assessment of who they actually are.

Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann on Fraud vs. Failure