I recently had the opportunity to work with a really high-potential client. Almost work with. An Ivy League grad, a fierce business owner, a woman on a mission with a vision and a firm legacy she had been envisioning for years—she checked so many of my ideal client boxes. Except for a really big one. She was nervous. She didn’t see the exact thing in my portfolio that assured her I am her designer—she couldn’t imagine the possibilities I was capable of producing.
Do we ever really have the exact thing in our portfolios? Sometimes, I suppose. Other times it’s a mood, a genre, a vibe we are telling the clients. Sure, my website is now under construction to tell better stories, and I am definitely taking responsibility for not constructing the proper one to tell her about myself and my work. But I want this post to be about something else.
That gut check. She never quite believed I could deliver what she wanted, and ultimately we couldn’t agree on the terms. Our interactions were friendly but serious, respectful but not confident. And I knew it. I could feel it in my gut from the first phone call. I had to constantly think about how to sell myself out of fear. Ahh, hello old friend. Fear. It made her nervous, and always left me scrambling.
I want to tell you, that when you operate out of confidence, clarity, and authenticity—your clients will know. You have to stick with what you know, and sometimes that’s not what your clients want. I believe in the niche, fuck, I’ve been trying to be and so many things over the years… trust me. I get it. I really, really do.
Create out of your inner, visceral desire to be the best at what you are best at. Stick with that and don’t let anyone take your sunshine away. Not me, not your peers, not the nervous clients. If you feel an inkling that you are not being authentic in your offerings, or what you are good at—do the work and get clear. It is imperative you get clear on who you are and what you are doing. When you do, your clients will no longer be nervous and you won’t be selling out of fear. I promise you that.