I finally bought my own business cards (<—referral link) and a special self-inking stamp for my business. I’ve been “open” for three months now. I ordered my business cards from Moo, which I highly recommend. And if you need to order some, you can sign up here and we both get a $15 credit. Nice, right? Plus, I’m super happy with how they turned out:
So back to my story: why did it take me so long to get offline tools to promote my brand? Imposter Syndrome.
Right about now, you probably want to know what Imposter Syndrome is. Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you’re a fraud and you’re going to be “found out” at any minute; that you’re not really what you claim to be even though you’re doing a great job.
I’ve been designing cards, invitations, and wall art for almost 7 years. I’ve done it for fun, for family and friends, for gifts, and myself. And yet I still felt that calling myself a graphic designer was reaching, mostly because I didn’t go to college for it (although I do have a degree in Liberal Arts and I’m a very, very quick study). I’ve been studying my butt off, reading a ton of business books, and honestly making a ton of growth as a designer. I’ve had several requests for custom orders in the last week. My business is growing!
In spite of my business growing, negative thoughts still managed to creep in.
A few weeks ago during a slow sales period I caught myself thinking, “My stuff sucks, no wonder no one is buying it.” Then a few days later my sales picked right back up. This week I caught myself under-charging for services and products. Before that at a particularly hard day at my day job, I thought, “how am I ever going to escape when my business income isn’t replace my day job income?” I got a new paper cutter and it was making crazy, misaligned cuts; I thought, “I can’t sell paper invitations and cards! I can’t even get my paper cutter to cooperate!”
Why was I sabotaging myself? What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I feel good enough?
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran at your craft or a newbie, it turns out a lot of people (even iconic people) worry about this.
So when Imposter Syndrome strikes and starts to gnaw at me, here’s my combat strategy:
1.) Don’t Compare my Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle.
Hands down one of my favorite quotes by Jon Acuff. I constantly have the feeling that I should be farther ahead than I am. Then I feel like I’m behind and I need to learn everything RIGHT THIS INSTANT.
I have to remind myself that I’ve only been doing this professionally for three months. I need to give myself grace and time to learn. There’s no way that in three months my brand new business is going to completely replace the job field I’ve been working in for a combined 10 years. But if I work hard enough and believe in my business, and grow it, it just might someday. And I need to hold onto that and stay positive.
Fear will make you do some crazy things you’ll regret. I’m no exception to this. So I need to keep my cool if I want my business to stay around.
2.) Remember that I Bring Something Unique to the Table.
No one is going to be or think exactly like me (or you!). We all have our own special talents and gifts to share with the world. Not every person is my ideal client and that’s ok, there’s a designer out there for them, too.
3.) Rely on my Tribe to Keep Me Humble and Build Me Up.
My tribe is smack dab in my target demographic so I bounce ideas off of them A LOT. They aren’t afraid to give me constructive criticism and that is SO important. Surround yourself with people who care about your best interests and will help you stand up and dust yourself off when you fail.
Your turn: have you ever suffered from imposter syndrome? How did you overcome it?