Every designer and creative across the board experiences some degree of imposter syndrome. It can hold you back from charging what you’re actually worth, and keep you from taking the next step with your business.
Imposter syndrome causes us to compare ourselves to others in the field, and wait for someone to oust us and tell us we’re really not that good.
While imposter syndrome is definitely challenging to deal with, it’s not impossible to overcome.
In this video, Chris sits down with Ben Burns for part two of their conversation, where Ben shares what he wished he knew when he first started his business. If you missed out on part one, click here to watch the first half of this conversation.
Ben reflects on what he wished he would have done differently, and how imposter syndrome continues to creep up, despite his evident success as a self-taught designer.
If you’re just getting started as a creative professional, here are some lessons and advice, from one creative to another, to help you navigate the road ahead:
Your business, as well as every other business you’ll interact with, needs three things to stay relevant and in front of potential customers: a logo, website, and marketing strategy.
While it’s tempting to resort to websites like Upwork and Fiverr where the work is essentially waiting for you, you won’t generate long-term success from blindly bidding.
You have to be proactive in presenting your business professionally and in a way that shows potential clients what you’re all about.
Your marketing efforts are what will attract potential clients to your website, LinkedIn profile, or Instagram. The content you share should be relevant to their challenges and pain points, and provide value in some way.
An example of a pain point clients often experience when working with designers is not knowing how to find the right designer for what they need. This is a great opportunity to spin this into a piece of valuable content. You could turn this into a blog post, and title it “How to Pick Out the Right Logo Designer for Your Business.”
If you keep selling $50 logos, you’re going to keep getting projects for $50 logos. People tend to spend time with others who are like themselves. The same goes for your clients.
Let’s say you deliver a beautiful logo for $50. Your client’s blown away by the quality of the work, and even more astounded they snagged a major bargain. They call up their friend, who also happens to be a small business owner in need of a new logo.
“Hey! If you need a new logo, I know this amazing designer who only charges $50!”
If you want to build a sustainable business, and earn a livable wage for your design work, you’ve got to charge accordingly. Otherwise, the same types of clients, expecting the same $50 deals, will keep showing up.
We touched on the effects of imposter syndrome and how they can hold us back from charging more, speaking up, or even pushing ourselves to progress.
When you think about doing any one of these things, does the voice in your head tell you that you can’t do it? Or that you’re not capable of pulling it off?
The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is recognizing your internal dialogue. How you speak to yourself affects your actions and decision-making. When you tell yourself your design work isn’t worth $30k, you won’t be able to come close to charging that amount.
You have to have the confidence to charge more. And it starts with a simple shift of your mindset.
Write a letter to yourself and acknowledge your accomplishments. Whether they’re big or small wins, they still count. Congratulate yourself for the progress you’ve made. Write down the things you want to accomplish in the future.
Go all in on your strengths, forget the weaknesses, and you’ll see how drastically your life will change.