Do you ever feel like imposter syndrome runs the show in your business?
Whether you’re an aspiring designer, or you’ve already been designing for clients for years, if you’ve been harboring some secret doubts about whether or not all of this is really possible for you, then you are exactly where you need to be!
So keep watching for those 5 lies imposter syndrome loves to whisper in our ears as designers, and how to finally let go and get back to confidently doing what you love!
Before we get into our mindset work for the day, if you’re currently winging it with your projects, just crossing your fingers nobody notices that you are still new to this whole design thing, then the most important step you can take for yourself and your business right now is to come up with a rock-solid, repeatable process you use with every single client.
No more making it up as you go along, and constantly feeling like you’re about to drop the ball.
I’m sharing my complete Web Design Client Process Checklist and planner for free!
One of the biggest secret fears we tend to have about starting a web design business is “what will people think?”
And who do we mean by ‘people?’ The people we knew before we decided to become a web designer.
The people who know us as the child they babysat…
Or that kid who butchered the word ‘humungous’ in that grade 4 spelling bee…
Or that girl who went through multiple awkward fashion moments, worked that random retail job and spent 4 years going to college for something not even remotely related to web design.
By ‘people’ we mean our friends, family, acquaintances, and (let’s be honest) our frenemies.
Your friends, family, acquaintances, and frenemies are not the client you are trying to reach with your web design business.
Sure, you might rely on people in your circle to help you drum up a bit of business at first, but once you’ve picked a niche, and start going all in on serving that one person, suddenly what all those other people could literally not matter less.
Here’s how it usually goes down (which I promise is the exact opposite of everything you are currently picturing):
You pick a niche and start learning everything you can about it…
You start showing up consistently and are generous about sharing everything you are learning with the people who could benefit from it…
Suddenly your name starts popping up everywhere for the person in your niche who is searching for answers…
Someone you’ve never laid eyes on in your life discovers your business, sees how much you’ve been able to help them and others…
Those are the people you are starting your business for! Not:
✗ Your grade school crush who still follows you on Insta
✗ The ladies in your Aunt Margie’s bridge club
✗ Or the other moms in the school drop-off line who have seen you show up accidentally wearing two different shoes.
Social media has made it easier than ever to compare yourself to what you think is “normal” for other designers, or what success should look like.
It’s easy to get the sense that there’s this sort of club for ‘real designers’ that you’ll never be allowed to join.
These designers are trendier and more popular than you, they started their business at a younger age, they have more sparkly personalities, and better opportunities because of who they know.
You’ll never be part of the ‘it’ club, so it’s better just to put your head down, be thankful for the projects that come your way, and try not to draw any attention to yourself.
And you don’t design websites so that hopefully other designers will be impressed and wish they had thought of that idea themselves.
You started it to help one specific person: your ideal client.
And they more than think you belong.
So if your story doesn’t match the typical designer’s story, be thankful. Because your future client’s are looking for anything but typical.
I hear this all the time. “Paige, I’m not a coding genius like so and so.”
And, “I didn’t go to school for this.”
Cool. Me neither.
You’re looking at the girl who has her masters in Recreation & Leisure. (Yes. That’s a thing.)
Zero computer science studies. Zero prior experience.
And yet I was able to build a successful web design business where $10K months quickly became my norm. How?
The IT undergraduate majoring in computer sciences probably isn’t out there building Squarespace websites for small businesses.
They’re going for that genius coding job at Google, or to interview for the development team over at Microsoft, something I’d honestly have no business ever attempting.
But again, that’s not who I dreamed of serving when I started my design business.
I started my business to help ladies who need a website quickly & easily. I wasn’t coding websites from scratch…
Why on earth would your average photographer or event planner need a completely custom coded site? They’d be clueless the second I handed it over.
I worked with ladies like me, ladies working on a passion project.
Ladies who loved it when I would take a genuine interest in their brand/business and that loved my upbeat attitude when I hopped on a call with them.
The IT guy from Microsoft definitely has me beat when it comes to book smarts. But watch him try to hop on a consult call with one of my fashion bloggers.
They just wouldn’t click.
So if imposter syndrome keeps trying to convince you that you aren’t smart enough to become a successful web designer, I want you to remember two things:
Your clients aren’t looking to hire the smartest person. They are looking for the person who cares about their business the most.
(And if you’ve chosen a niche you’re passionate about, you should have no trouble convincing them that’s you.)
If you come across a skill you don’t yet have but you think could be genuinely useful to the people you are most passionate about serving, there’s probably a course for that.
Do you ever get the feeling that real success is only meant for certain people?
That some people have all the luck, and opportunities just seem to fall in some people’s laps?
Well, you’re not wrong. ♀️
Opportunities are everywhere for some people. But that’s because they choose to see opportunities everywhere and to believe that success is possible for them.
They feel the fear, recognize they’ll never be 100% qualified, and do it anyway.
But it’s not just believing that it’s possible…another huge roadblock many new business owners, especially women, really face is not feeling worthy of success.
So imposter syndrome has us charging peanuts for our time and expertise.
Even if deep down we know we are bringing immense value, we don’t feel worthy of making money from something we enjoy, or something that comes easily to us, or for helping someone with something that we ourselves are still figuring out how to do.
We believe investing in ourselves and our businesses is selfish, and wanting to charge more is greedy.
So we downplay our accomplishments, and shelve future goals for fear that we simply aren’t meant to have them.
So next time imposter syndrome tells you you don’t deserve success, I want you to remember two things:
You are meant to have what you work for.
And it’s ok to work for what you want.
My team and I recently chatted with past Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ student Lucy O’Reilly and something she shared in her interview that really stuck out for me.
“When I hear that little voice in the back of my head…or when I’m on social media and I see all these other beautiful websites, and I’m like “Oh, my god! They’re just so beautiful!”…
If no one was buying from you, or you were getting complaints, or people were asking for their money back…well then maybe you’ve got a problem.
But you’re not designing for other designers, you just have to listen to your client’s feedback and believe in yourself.”
And that’s such great advice!
The only person you are trying to measure up to is yourself.
If you are finding ways to grow as a designer and business owner, and are working to improve your process based on client feedback and each new experience you have under your belt, then you my dear are measuring up.