Nearly every time I’m out talking with a design group about steps for growing a design business, a designer will come up to me afterward and share that she is just not ready to do those things because she needs to feel a bit more confident before making that kind of move.
Sure, she’s talented, has a strong base of referral clients, has been around the design block once-or-twice so the business side isn’t totally unknown to her… but there’s still something she’s waiting to happen before taking the next step.
And that’s where I come in and explain that confidence doesn’t fall out of the sky.
The biggest problem is that waiting for confidence to show up before making your big move is like ordering your accessories before you’ve specified the upholstery.
It’s backward and you’ll just keep waiting… and waiting… and waiting.
In order to feel more confident, you need to be bolder, you need to make bigger moves even when fear is present. Once you make that bold move, successful or not, you become stronger and learn lessons to build on for the future.
It’s the big bold move is what creates the confidence, not the other way around.
So, let’s do a little coaching here:
Take a minute, get comfortable in your chair, and be honest with yourself… how long have you been waiting, knowing that you need to make that move?
Let’s pretend you’re trying to get to 6 figures – $250K, $500K or maybe $750K.
What would you do, in steps, to move closer to your goal?
- Raise your rates or become completely design fee-based
- Hire an assistant or expand your team.
- Get in control and manage your time
- Create some celebrity for yourself by taking a room in a show house or submitting your last project to a magazine for publication
- Open a “bricks and mortar” studio or even a retail furniture space
Ok, still being honest with yourself, write down how much further along would you be if you had made that first move when you first started thinking about it, even though fear was present?
For example, if you had started taking the bold steps of a 6-figure income when you first starting knowing you needed to make some moves, you might be pushing for a million in the next 12 or 18 months.
No joke, I’ve seen other designers do it and if they can do it, you can do it too!
Now ask yourself, what is it that has been on your list for years and it just hasn’t happened, and how long are you willing to wait before you do some of these things? 6-months, a year, 5-years, or even 20 years?
SIDE NOTE: Can you imagine how different the world will be in 20-years? We already have ALEXA and the beginning of self-driving cars! But more importantly, how different will YOUR LIFE be in 20-years if you start taking action today?
Next, focus on that thing that you know you need to do, give it a name, and write down how it will feel to have it done.
- What would change in your business?
- What would change in the kind of clients and jobs you would have?
- What would change in the kind of income you would have?
- What would change in the lifestyle you would enjoy?
Finally, be bold and go after it, even if you don’t feel totally ‘ready’!
You know what it is… it feels really daring and a bit scary… but the good news is you know what it is you need to do.
Confidence is created when you take action, and always remember… if another designer can do it, you can too!