Fake it till you make it

"The key is to believe in what you're becoming, rather than where you are today."

Ranzie Anthony | Co-founder | Athlon

How would you explain what "Fake it till you make it" means?


I think a lot about the importance of confidence and belief in your own story and impact. Coming from an East London working-class background, you may face limitations in what you believe you can achieve.

However, building confidence in your own aspirations and living as your future self, rather than focusing on your current capabilities, is key. This concept of "fake it until you make it" is actually a positive thing, as it emphasises self-belief and confidence over where you are today.

What do you think of the advice?


When I started my first agency, Tonic, we were just two designers fresh out of university, working in the basement of our flat in Streatham. To avoid telling clients about our less-than-impressive setup, we pretended our studio was based in Clapham.

However, by constantly living in the future story of who we believed we would become, we were able to grow from two to six, then 25, 50 and finally 60 people, with a studio located in Shoreditch. I believe that "fake it until you make it" can be empowering, but it's important to be realistic about your current situation and capabilities. The key is to believe in what you're becoming, rather than where you are today. I think it's great advice.

Ranzie Anthony explains how he used the perception of scale to appear more credible...


I recall when we were launching in the US about six years ago. To impress US clients and prospects, we had to give the impression of being more established and having a stronger presence in the US. This involved us being a bit more liberal about the size of our team in that region. Today, we have 35 people in the US, so I believe that being a little flexible with the truth is not necessarily wrong, but it's important to focus on where you're going and have the confidence to pursue it. As long as you're responsible and not lying about your capabilities, it's okay.

Ranzie Anthony's bio

Ranzie started his career as a designer and co-founded his first design business in 1998. He has served in leadership roles across a number of digital, advertising and brand agencies.

Today he is CEO of Athlon. A 90 strong brand and UX agency based in Europe and North America. He focuses on helping market leaders and startups bring brave ideas to market. He is an active industry speaker and enjoys mentoring.

Humble promo of Ranzie Anthony and Athlon


Let me start with the obvious here:
Our industry (in particularly in the UK) has too few black founder role models. I know Ranzie wouldn't see himself as that, that's why this section is for me to do that job for him! And I think he's an incredible role model not just for the black founder community, but also for the agency world.

It's rare that agency founders manage to build one success agency to 50+ employees. It's even rarer for agency founders to build two agencies with 50+ employees from scratch - in a life time!

Ranzie really knows his stuff when it comes to building successful businesses. But he's also incredible generous with helping others succeed too. I look forward to seeing Ranzie shine now and in many years to come - and to continue to being a good role model.

Daniel (Polymensa founder)

Explore other perspectives

Carla Heath
Agency Advisor @ Carla Heath Consulting

"I think the phrase is dangerous"

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Mark Ritson
Founder @ Marketing Week MiniMBA & Marketing professor

"I regard fake it until you make it as kind of the 'good bullshit' for the most part"

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Liam Corrigan
Founder @ RedPill

"I agree with it. Because I don't understand how anything would ever get done - unless you're an expert."

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Tash Courtenay-Smith
Founder @ Bolt Digital

"It encourages focus and behavioural change towards your desired outcome"

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