I’m pretty transparent and honest about my ever-evolving design businesses as a solo-creative. So here goes another open-book blog post.
All successful businesses requires risks in various forms, and to most people fear is associated with risk.
What fears holds you back from taking a step that you know could potentially bring in revenue?
Over the course of the past several months, I’ve been reading multiple books at the same time. Not something I would recommend, but I’m like a dog who sees a squirrel or bird while out walking with its owner. Distractions!
It’s taken me a year to finish reading "You are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero. A year! But I’m the kind of reader who highlights important bits, and takes notes, then journals about it, swirls it around in my brain for awhile to simmer and stew. Or I will go back and reread chapters that I need at the moment. This book is genius! But scary.
I started reading it after one of my clients had gradually become my bread & butter half way through the year, the referrals had stopped coming in, and my other current clients were not in need of my services. While it is nice to have a that steady income, it’s a very slippery slope to rely on only one or two clients.
I needed to figure out what and why this happened. My business has been mostly from referrals or organic leads. So, how did that shift suddenly? Well, it wasn’t that sudden; I just didn’t notice it happening until a flurry of work over the Summer had simmered down and I came up for air. I was surprised, and scared at the same time.
What had changed? There were a few things I thought maybe influenced my vibe I put out into the Universe: a very dear client had passed away in February. We had worked together throughout the year for the past 5 years. And then some big branding projects fell through. I don't know if that sad and scared vibe had anything to do with the lack of referrals or organic leads coming in. But it was an energy force.
It's something I never could figure out and gave up trying. Chalking it up to whatever the Universe was spinning in my direction.
My real desire became the hunt for new business, new clients, new branding campaigns. I knew I needed to act, get myself out there and sell - something I have never mastered. And always feared.
In all the mentoring workshops I’ve attended, and the books and blogs I have read about how to get new clients, it all boils down to sales and marketing. Gulp. I’m an introvert, and sometimes I can be a little insecure about my work [even though my clients are happy with it]. Like I’m an imposter. Who am I to claim that I’m an expert in the design industry? Insert self doubt. Which I hear is normal for a designer to feel.
Sales and marketing meant networking, and also researching to find out where my ideal clients were, and then putting myself in their surroundings and stalking them. It meant possible cold calls or cold emails. Yuck! I just want to design.
What was behind my fear?
But, deep down inside I know it's really opportunities on the other side. I just can’t see past my fear of rejection. The rejection of that I’m not good enough or my fees are too high [even though both statements are really false and I know it].
So my fear has me stuck.
However, in the middle of my stickiness, I am being proactive behind the scenes! I have recently updated my positioning statement and messaging [over and over and over], rearranged my website so it has more call-to-actions and work samples up front. I added even more portfolio items.
I’m ready, just fearful. Just got to take that leap of faith.