I used to think people wouldn't take my company seriously if they knew I was the only one running it. That couldn't have been further from the truth.
I started my business in 2008 as a one man show. I worked hard. I worked late. I bootstrapped my little SaaS while attending college and working full-time.
Early on, I made the decision to use words like "we" and "us" instead of "I" and "me." I even went as far as using a pseudonym for support. I didn't think people would take me seriously if they knew I was working alone. I was afraid it would be bad for marketing and it would hurt my bottom line.
I was a victim of The “We” Facade.
A decade later, it's still just me, but I've stopped using "we" and "us" and I've embraced running the company on my own. Over the last year or so, I've changed my website, blog posts, and the way I write emails to reflect this.
It turns out, those fears I had were complete bullshit. Nobody cares that I'm doing this on my own. They don't care about my non-existent team. All they care about is great service and excellent support. Upon realizing it was "just me," one user told me what I'm doing is "simply incredible."
I'm not gonna lie...It feels good to be appreciated. 😏
When I was hiding behind a fake team, people didn't realize my dedication. They thought other people were doing all the work. I lied and told myself I was OK with that because it was necessary for the business to be successful.
I still get emails that start with "hey guys" and "dear team." I don't go out of my way to correct them, but I do proudly sign my own name at the bottom of every email and I no longer pretend to be bigger than I am. If someone asks about my team, I proudly tell them it's just me — and they're fine with that.
Contrary to my initial fears, I've never lost a sale because I said "me" instead of "we." I have, however, built myself up as an integral part of my own brand: a hard-working, dedicated creator who loves what he does and cares about his users. I think there's more value in that than pretending to manage a team.
For anyone else flying solo in this crazy startup world: you don't have to have a team to be successful and you don't have to impress anyone by pretending that you do. Just be yourself, embrace your solitude, and have fun building your dream.