I and the infamous We

Personal branding

Talking about ourselves is a human obsession – until you get into business.

Suddenly it’s “we” even if you are a solopreneur or a freelancer.  

This is my site, it’s called Ameena Falchetto because that’s who I am.

It’s just me.

I could have called it the Ameena-F-global conglomerate-of-kick-ass-companies and thrown an Inc. on the end for added effect. But I didn’t because there is no one else.

Who is the infamous we?

Just today I received an email from a solopreneur saying “We will get back to you”, perhaps she is going to broach the subject with her cat because there is no one else to qualify the use of the word “we”.

Does “we” make a business seem more legitimate?

Does it create a sense of grandeur whereas “I” seems pitiful and feeble?

Does the solopreneur suffer with a sense of low self esteem as Marcus Sheridan recently discussed in relation to blogging?

Who exactly is the infamous we so many are guilty of referring to?

Big vs. Small : We vs. I

To be perceived as a huge company is better isn’t it?

Why wouldn’t it be?

Gini Dietrich recently wrote about the pro’s and con’s of large PR agency vs. a Boutique agency explaining how smaller agencies can give the human touch and the transparency that larger agencies can’t.

 At the end of the day WE can pass the blame, I means I have to do something about it.

A big company doesn’t mean it’s successful. Ask Enron.

Your neighbour driving the latest big car doesn’t mean he’s making tonnes of cash.

Danny Brown said that it’s up to you, the individual, to decide how you want to be perceived and how big you want to appear but remember big isn’t necessarily better.

What do you think?

How do you refer to yourself?

Do you hide behind an infamous we? If you do, I’d love to know why.




Image source: Justice League by Alex Ross. (DC Comics)

24 Responses to I and the infamous We

  1. I refer to myself as an animal…..a ‘Lion’ in fact 😉

    You bring up a really interesting point though Ameena. Perception is a big deal…at least to some. When I talk to clients, I usually say ‘I’, simply because ‘I’ am going to go to their company and ‘I’ and going to rock their marketing and then they’re going to write a check to ‘I’. 🙂

    BTW, love the header up top. Seriously great. I’m so giddy excited for you 🙂


    • @Marcus_Sheridan You are quick of the mark! You are officially my 1st commenter! Whoop! Thanks for the feedback on the header – it was a team effort – WE did it together. Thanks to @johnfalchetto for all his help setting up my site.

  2. LOVE!!!!!!! love the photo of you, absolutely beautiful, and the La Cage aux Folles font. 🙂 so glam. 🙂

    I was a solopreneur for 7 years, (with help on and off) and I often used “we” because I encountered a perception issue that “I” did not have the capacity to meet their needs. So they’d go with a larger agency, and funny enough, in one instance, they actually came back around to me.

    The BENEFIT we provide, is that we care deeply, because it is just “I”. it’s our name. The larger agencies don’t have that kind of skin in the game, and so when it comes to delivery, they don’t meet expectations.

    So yes, I used “we” and not just in the royal sense, for a long time.

    • @Lisa Gerber Thanks Lisa 🙂 I totally agree that “we” is needed to deal with perception issues but I do feel that if you step out and say “I” it could cut down the crap – many clients want to play with the big guts but don’t realise that what they need is the individual. Using I makes that so much clearer. Hard but it pays off! Thanks so much for commenting on my new site 🙂

  3. I like to refer to myself in the third person “Nancy Davis is an excellent writer” No,. really I hate people like that. hate them with a passion.

    My big decision that I have been playing with has been – do I go out on my own? How do I refer to myself? I may use “we” to start off because I will be working with others (some more consistently than others) it is a scary concept to me, but i think the time has come.

    I do understand with others do it – to me it makes sense, especially when starting out.

    • @NancyD68 Yup I am guilty of it in the past but when it was really we. It was ME who was replying, ME who was quoting, ME who was billing but I used WE because there was more than just me in the company. Saying “We will get back to you” often irked me because it was me, and only me who would respond if ever which let me to this topic.

      I tell my clients to use I where ever relevant, creating an elusive WE can only lead to issues unless there is a real WE

  4. Oh wow, I am literally laughing here. Ameena, you are kicking a$$ here. Definitely adding you to the next round up on my blog. I “love” those e-mails with “we” written all over the place. I mean even if you are a part of the company, it sounds more natural to say I most of the time. Weirdos…

    • @Brankica Now I have noticed the crazy overuse of WE instead of I I’m seeing it everywhere and it does make me laugh. Many do it without realising too. Thanks for the support Brankica!

  5. Guilty as charged! I often use “we” whether I’m working on my own or with others. It’s habit more than anything for me and I’d never looked at in this way before.

    • @SharonHill Funny isn’t it? Do you talk about yourself in the third person too? Habits are hard to shake and sometimes creating an elusive team makes it easier to hide behind them. I openly admit that I was guilty of it until recently.

  6. Hi Ameena. Big fan of John’s and soon to be yours, too, I’m sure. Interesting topic. Certainly something to think about. My first thought is, I try and use WE, not as being something I am not, but as to encourage the team concept and try and change the ME to WE. The feel that WE are in this together. The CARE Movement is all about the WE. There is no THEY or ME, it is a WE thing.

    Ok, that sounds good, but maybe I am trying to sound bigger than I am ( or WE are ) Hummmmm ?

    More to come. I have to think about this.

    Like other comments, I really like the header and your picture. Looks great. Best of luck.


    • @Al Smith Thanks Al for your kind comments!

      WE instead of ME makes sense in a team. When it’s an individual I think it sounds silly. I know many do it because they feel that say I will discount their abilities. Look forward to hearing back from you when you’ve mulled it over some more.

  7. Hey, hey Ameena! Love the new site and love seeing your name up in lights! Good question and one that I will answer with a “depends.” I often bring in subcontractors to build my team for the project and in that case, I do say “We.” When it’s just me, I say “I” will handle that for you. Like @Lisa Gerber mentioned below, there is a perception issue and it’s sometimes a “card” I play if I feel I need to. I don’t think I’m being deceptive, because if I feel I need to say it, I usually do have a team on the project. However, you raise some really good points here in that it doesn’t need to be a smoke and mirrors game.

    I laugh at this one because early on when I started Allison Development Group it was with the intent of having an actual group, a team of folks and consultants who came in and out as needed. I even went so far as to say “We’ll get back to you …” on the answering machine message. I no longer do that. I thank folks for calling ADG and let them know they’ll be talking with Erica Allison and that I’ll be calling them back! 🙂 Good first topic, Ameena! Love seeing your name up in lights! 😉

    • @EricaAllison That’s interesting the story of your answering machine. Yes, I can see how it makes sense to use WE especially if there is the intention to have a WE situation. I agree with @Lisa Gerber that at times it’s necessary to pull out a we for back up!

      Thanks for the feedback on my site – all thanks to John!

      • @Ameena Falchetto That’s a great distinction, @EricaAllison and I completely agree. Using “we” is never with the intent to mislead. And I absolutely bring in sub-contractors if the project warrants it. I had them listed on my website too as part of the team.

        My intent was also to grow the biz. If the intent is not to do so, then there is a difference.

  8. Ameena, your site is lovely! Congrats:) I always use “I” because my company is me.

    There’s been a lot of posting lately about what ‘we’ business owners call ourselves: solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, small business owners, etc. Shonali Burke just wrote a great post about “Positioning your business…in your head” that talked about the perception each of these titles takes, depending upon the recipient.

    I really dislike labels and titles, so when asked “What do you do?”, I always say “What do you need done?” It breaks the ice, and allows me to talk about what I do for YOU.

    So I refer to myself as “I”, and I’m proud to be a company of one. Cheers! Kaarina

    • @KDillabough Thanks so much! It’s all John’s hard work!

      I admire one woman/person shows who have the confidence to say “Yup! It’s me, myself and I”. So many lack the confidence to say that. Like you, I am not a fan of labels and titles but they are often avoidable.

  9. Hi Ameena!

    I have no company or team other than me, my husband and children. So, I’ll speak from there. “We” aren’t pregnant! I AM.! Maybe I’m just fiercely independent (my husband tells me I am. The jury’s out.), but I can’t speak for him when I’m out and about. I would think even in a business meeting, unless the attendees have been told you are the rep. and are going to use the “we” for that reason, it’s better for everyone to show up as an individual.

    • @BetsyKCross This is something that drives me nuts “We are pregnant” – since when did a uterus become a collective organ. We are parents, yes, We are pregnant? Well that’s just stupid.

  10. HI Ameena,

    This is one of the hangovers from the dark ages when Corpoate buisness would only deal with registered companies so the “We” was used exclusively even if you were the company. It was You and the company.

    Fortunately Corporate buisness has woken up and the buzz words are Ownership and Empowerment.

    I now use both We & I dependant on the subject. It could be We (the comany) will address your problems and I (me) will ensure it is done to your satisfaction.

    There are those who still use the “We” who feel the need to hide behind a company name. Remember not everyone can be a Entreprenuer or a Soloprenuer.

  11. Loved it Ameena and you do have a nice looking blog here. I’m from the South of the USA and there I think we say in a friendly conversation, such as “We’ll call ya’ll”, “We’ll see”, “We’ll check”. Also in China, they use we instead of “I” because it’s an indirect culture. But yes, in business, in taking responsibility, own up to it and give the big “I”.

    As we say back home, “We’ll holler at ya’ll”.

    • Thanks @Jacob Yount for adding an angle I’d not considered. Wow. Y’all even to one person? Interesting! Thanks for the compliments on my new site … have to thanks john falchetto for that!

      Waiting for the big news from your side 🙂

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