Founder Diary

August 8, 2023

Your failures are your credibility

Your failures are your credibility

And you have no shortage of those.

The Brick Layer newsletter banner featuring a hamster with a trowel. The hamster is leaning on a brick wall under construction.
The Brick Layer newsletter banner featuring a hamster with a trowel. The hamster is leaning on a brick wall under construction.
The Brick Layer newsletter banner featuring a hamster with a trowel. The hamster is leaning on a brick wall under construction.
Nikita Kazhin's headshot

Nikita Kazhin

Co-founder at Brick

X (formerly Twitter) logo

Hey friend 👋,

A lot of beginner makers and creators struggle with credibility. Myself very much included.

What is credibility about?

People need a compelling reason to follow you, consume your content and later maybe buy from you.

The default narrative on social media (and pretty much everywhere you talk about your work) is that you must demonstrate proof (preferably quantifiable) that would show readers/viewers that you’re the real deal.

Common examples:

$50k+ MRR

14 products shipped

3 companies sold

3+ million words edited

Clients/employers like Apple, Adobe or Microsoft

…and on and on and on.

But what if you’re only just starting out? What if you haven’t built a blockbuster SaaS (app), created an award-winning design or even have a single customer (or follower), yet?

One way out of the conundrum is to show some of your mock work, even if it’s not “real”.

For example, Diego here built a few mock websites to create “mock credibility“ and get his first clients as a Webflow designer.

Think about it.

This is a simple thing to do. It doesn’t work for every business (but it does well in design, music or even web development), but it’s one power move.

What if you’re a writer and there’s no way to just flash your article and shock your reader with your skill in just a few seconds?

Or a maker who can’t get her product seen?

What if there’s NO product?

What if there’s even no skill to build the product?

One great invention is Build in public.

You post about you doing the thing, warts and all, ask for feedback and people see the authenticity and sign up for the journey.

As a long-time maker and author Arvid Kahl puts it: “It’s not about showing off, it’s about showing up”.

This is a great way to get started and the best part is that it works for a even more people and kinds of business.

Build in public is a legit and powerful way to gain credibility with ZERO proof of success behind your back.

But you can go one step further still.

Make your failures work for you

In a recent dispatch, my favorite editor Erica Schneider shared a truly contrarian thought.

What if you can make your failures your credibility?

Yep, my first reaction also was…

But bare with me here.

Sure, failures don’t sound as sexy as $50k MRR, but…


  • Are real work you put in

  • Had tangible impact on your path

  • Taught you something worth sharing

  • Contain lessons about how others can avoid mistakes you made

Plus, failures say A LOT about you as a person:

You don’t sit on your sofa all day. You keep trying, you fail, you learn, you make progress and then you look back and draw lessons. All the time.

This is powerful.

For example, when Erica dove into her past writing/editing work and started editing herself. She’d evolved a lot as an editor so now she had it in her to laugh at past missteps and show how her past work could be better.

The best part? Followers found it useful, entertaining and yes, credibility-building.

My own example:

It took me 2 years to release an app that I should’ve shipped in 2 months. I made all the mistakes in the process.

Sounds bad?

It was and I’m not one bit happy about this. But I’m sure there are loads of people who want to avoid those mistakes and learn the lessons I learned along the way.

It was bad work but it was work that built my credibility as a maker and founder.

In other words, a huge opportunity.

So if you’re at a loss about credibility…

Talk about your failures.

If you’re a person, you have those. And while you swim through those piles of bad stuff, you might as well stumble on a few wins.

Thanks for reading. Let’s get building.

Be the first to know what's new at Brick: