Am I a Real Entrepreneur? Firing the Fraud police


Do you ever worry the Fraud Police are going to stop by your cubicle or descend into your lunch meeting where you need to close a deal? I worry if I reach out to a new contact, that they will not return my call because they will know I am not good enough. But that never happens. When I reach out, people want to work with me.

I built my own website, have run eleven successful international travel writing awards with over 1600 writers from over 75 countries but I wonder is this good enough? I was invited to the United Nations to help with a project but I am concerned should I call myself a travel expert yet? I have traveled to over 95 countries, was hired by Hilton Garden Inn for national television and invited by United Airlines to the red carpet for the Oscars and I am still wondering what do I call myself. Am I a travel writer? An on-camera host? An entrepreneur? The biggest obstacle to my success is that I have joined the Fraud Police and keep stopping my progress by not believing in myself. 

I learned about imposter syndrome during my first week at UCSF Medical school. A psychiatrist addressed our class and said, “It is very likely you are looking at the people on either side of you and wondering how did you get here. Many students are concerned that we accidentally admitted them to this class and they will be found out. We did not make a mistake. You deserve to be here.” I keep acquiring evidence that I am an expert. But I still wonder, am I good enough or big enough yet? I have 600 travel videos. I film all the time, I edit, I take classes, and I get paid for my work. I am a professional but a professional what?

Lately I have been asking for more specific help. I read “The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help,” by Amanda Palmer and was amazed about the commonalities of my musings. She writes:

I’ve had a problem feeling real all my life. I didn’t know until recently how absolutely universal that feeling is. For a long time, I thought I was alone. Psychologists have a term for it: imposter syndrome. But before I knew that phrase existed, I coined my own: The Fraud Police.” —Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

Palmer writes about “telling my artist friends that it was okay to ask..for money, and it was okay to ask for help,” and wonders, “Why do we find it so hard to ask, especially if others are so willing to give?” I often tell people I am a travel writer but I rarely lead with the videos that I do all the time. I spend much more time on video but I worry that I am not trained enough or skilled enough or good enough to say that is what I do.

American culture in particular has instilled in us the bizarre notion that to ask for help amounts to an admission of failure. But some of the most powerful, successful, admired people in the world seem, to me, to have something in common: they ask constantly, creatively, compassionately, and gracefully.

This year I made a plan to participate in five conferences to study how to build my business and learn about the income avenues. People have been generous with their time and ideas but blogging and making money on the internet often feels like I am living in the wild wild west. I am realizing that what I need to do is take up space and go my own way. I need to take a deep breath, pull up my big girl pants and keep going. I am creating my own path. I am an entrepreneur.

As Palmer says, “When artists work well, they connect people to themselves, and they stitch people to one another, through this shared experience of discovering a connection that wasn’t visible before.” This is the work I want to be doing, connecting people and places and shared experiences to show how our very big planet can seem tiny at the same time. All over the world, parents want a better life for their children, they want to feel love and share love and find community.

I love how Palmer defines artists, because I do not consider myself an artist but when I read her words I know that I am. Palmer says, “Artists connect the dots—we don’t need to interpret the lines between them. We just draw them and then present our connections to the world as a gift, to be taken or left. This IS the artistic act, and it’s done every day by many people who don’t even think to call themselves artists.” When you meet me the next time, I will say, “I am an artist.”

Am I an Artist? We Said Go Travel
Lisa Niver’s first solo art show

I get to decide when I am ready to believe in me. I have to decide to say, “Yes I am a success.” It appears that the only one who cannot see it yet is me. There is evidence and I get to decide.

This quote from Palmer’s book rang true for me:

A farmer is sitting on his porch in a chair, hanging out. A friend walks up to the porch to say hello, and hears an awful yelping, squealing sound coming from inside the house. “What’s that terrifyin’ sound?” asks the friend. “It’s my dog,” said the farmer. “He’s sittin’ on a nail.” “Why doesn’t he just sit up and get off it?” asks the friend. The farmer deliberates on this and replies: “Doesn’t hurt enough yet.”

It is hurting me not to believe in myself. I can decide to get up off the nail anytime now that I am aware of my it. I can resign from the Fraud Police and enjoy what I have built. I am an artist and an entrepreneur and a writer and an on-camera host.

Are you an Artist? YESIn Palmer’s words, “In both the art and the business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple: The professionals know they’re winging it. The amateurs pretend they’re not.” I am ready to fully take my place as a professional. I am creating something where I can share what I believe in. I hope you will join me in believing in yourself and leaving behind imposter syndrome. Join us by sharing your story in my We Said Go Travel Inspiration Travel Writing Award starting in January 2017.

Lisa Niver is an on-camera host with 600 videos on YouTube, Amazon Fire Tv and Roku. She currently has 900,000 video views and knows that one million is just around the corner. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel and writes for many on and offline publications. She had her first solo art show last month as part of her project, 50 New Things Before I am 50.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

2 responses to “Am I a Real Entrepreneur? Firing the Fraud police

  1. Hey Lisa! Great post! You said (and quoted from others) what I too can certainly relate too. And I know when I reach out to others, we all share a similar battle with the fraud police. I also love how you say online entrepreneurship is like the Wild West. It seems like plenty of “really big success stories’ while pop up, but we all have to navigate and find our own way to our true selves and where we feel the most driven. I think that is the surest way to not let the fraud police win. I certainly take inspiration from you as I go along my own path too. Here we go into 2017! 🙂

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