The other day, one of my clients, who is newly self-employed and launching a design business, said to me:
I’ve decided to be a self-employed designer – but who says I’m good enough or that I’ll get any business? What if I’m a sham? And what if my clients find out? It’s just hard to find the confidence.
This client is not alone; I hear this from a lot of clients, especially those who are just starting down the self-employed path. So to put the confidence issue into perspective, here's what I told this client.
Don't worry about whether or not you "feel" confident. Confidence comes from competence. You don’t have to be "the best." So whether your work is great or just good, there is always a market for it. (Plus, most clients can't tell the difference between good and great anyway.) When you’re just starting out, and you’re still learning, your work will appeal to a certain market. As you get better and develop an expertise, your work will appeal to a higher level market. So just be patient and learn from every single experience. And don't use lack of confidence as an excuse for not making those cold calls!
It think it made her feel better to know that it’s okay to be learning and growing, even while selling your services (at least, that's what she told me).
There's a whole chapter on this topic in my book, Stop Pushing Me Around. But you can read the chapter here, including the handy-dandy 7 Ways to develop your own self confidence. (It doesn't happen overnight!)
I sometimes cringe when I think of all the mistakes I made during the first 10 years (when I really had no idea what I was doing), not to mention the slightly less egregious ones from the second 10 years. Let's just say I've gotten much better at learning but the mistakes keep me on my toes.
How 'bout you? How do you deal with this "confidence" issue?