ASH AMBIRGE

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“I don’t feel confident in my work.”

In: Finding Your Voice

Are you squinting your eyes at the screen trying to decide if this describes you or not? (Of course you are, you're probably reading this on an iPhone the size of my elbow.)

It's kind of an ugly characterization—nobody wants to admit to feeling less than confident in what you're doing. And yet, I've got news: It's so, so common.

Here's how it shows up:

:: You're nervous as hell about sending that invoice

:: You pray when sending a client deliverable (maybe even on both knees)

:: You routinely get pushback from clients who “want to see other options”

:: You feel more like an order taker / slave than a professional being paid for their expertise

:: You see clients making mistakes but you're hesitant to correct them. After all, the client's always right…right?

:: You're constantly comparing yourself to other people in your industry

:: You get hives just thinking about raising your rates (psst—I've got a workshop coming up to help you exactly with this)

You know why all this is happening, right? It's not about your work—it's about the fact that you're now accepting money for your work. Once you introduce the money factor into the equation, everything changes…including how much confidence you've got in yourself. Now there are expectations. Now there's pressure. NOW YOU MUST LIVE UP TO THE VALUE OF THE MONEY LAID BEFORE YOU. *bows head*

So what's a gal / guy / zebra to do?

The answer: Gain confidence by helping your clients gain confidence in you.

No matter who you are, when you first start working with a client, they have no idea if you're really any good. They're taking a risk on you; they're swinging the bat. So especially in the beginning, they're always wondering, “Did I make the right choice?” They're looking for any and every signal that could help them figure that out. They're taking their cues from you.

In all my experience as a freelancer, business owner, service provider, and copywriter, there's one trick that demonstrates not only your confidence in your work, but helps them to have confidence in it, too:

Justifying your madness.

How many times have you taken your marching orders, gone to work for days or weeks, and then:

  • Just sent the list of taglines
  • Just sent the website mock-up
  • Just sent the diet plan
  • Just sent the finished painting
  • Just sent the final deliverable

It's normal; you know that's what the client is paying you for, so that's what you deliver. But you know what happens, right? All of the actual time you spent thinking, planning, plotting, brainstorming, deciding, iterating and doing your job…gets lost in translation. All of your hard work? The client NEVER SEES. All the sweat, the tears, the rum you drank “for inspiration”…it's like it never existed at all. (Which is really only good when it comes to the rum.) As a result?

Your client feels cheated.

Even if you did what you were supposed to. Even if you delivered everything they asked. Even if the end result is phenomenal.

They might be paying you for the end result, but the full value of your work isn't communicated in the end result itself.

As this timely article over on 99U quotes:

“Psychologists have long noticed what’s sometimes been called the “labor illusion:” when it comes to judging other people’s work, we might say we’re focused only on whether they did the job quickly and well—but really we want to feel they wore themselves out for us.”

And that's precisely where justifying your madness comes in.

Check out the video below and watch me walk you through a fun, quick little example of exactly what I mean using my own work to demonstrate. (And also hear my man voice—always a treat!) Because once your clients feel confident about the work you're doing? You will, too.

Jan 25

2018

Right Now, Someone Out There is Admiring You, Greatly.

They might not have said it. In fact, they probably kept it to themselves—“don’t want to seem like a creepy ass stalker.” But no matter who you are, you have changed things for someone. You have made them rethink their career. Rethink their stance. Rethink their makeup. (Because, hey, Urban Decay is a religion.) You […]

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Aug 25

2017

The Competition Doesn’t Have Sh*t On You

There’s never been a person who went to school for accounting and said: BUT WAIT, I CAN’T BECOME AN ACCOUNTANT BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALREADY DOINGGGGG THATTTTTTTTTTT. There are plenty of people out there doing exactly what you want to do—times eleventy thousand. “But there are already so many writers / designers / candlestick makers” […]

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Oct 29

2015

“I don’t feel confident in my work.”

Are you squinting your eyes at the screen trying to decide if this describes you or not? (Of course you are, you’re probably reading this on an iPhone the size of my elbow.) It’s kind of an ugly characterization—nobody wants to admit to feeling less than confident in what you’re doing. And yet, I’ve got […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Oct 26

2017

Sometimes, Being Difficult Is an Act of Devotion

Nobody wants to “be difficult.” Those words have stigma tattooed right across their rear. Just hearing them makes you think of that psycho in line at the grocery store, berating the cashier for not accepting her expired coupon. (She’s also wearing Uggs, for the record, and DEFINITELY has a soggy cigarette hanging out of her […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Sep 15

2015

Plan On Being Nervous, Brilliantly

Being nervous sucks. Your pulse races. Your brain blanks. Your hands shake like little assholes. You tell yourself to take deep breaths, but the minute you do, you then worry that the entire room can see the fact that your heart is, in fact, doing the electric slide up and down your rib cage. (God […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Jun 11

2016

When You Feel Worthy of Being Seen…It Shows

  Let me tell you what: American women may have Victoria’s Secret, but Italian women have another secret altogether. You know it by the way she holds her head a little higher than yours, eyes on fire, gliding down the god damn sidewalk as if her and Mother Nature were tag teaming. It is not just […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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May 27

2017

The Anti-Trump Bar: The Way You Stand Out is By Standing UP

There’s an AWESOME new creative cocktail lounge in New York City called Coup. All of the profits are being donated to organizations being threatened or defunded by the current administration. Tips are donated, too. Guest bartenders are flying in from all over the world, no charge, to donate their services. And guess what? There are lines […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Feb 10

2016

Nice Brands Finish Last

[x_blockquote type=”center”]I take it as an insult when somebody calls me The N Word: Nice.[/x_blockquote] Out of 100,000 adjectives in the English language, if the best you can come up with is nice, then I’m doing something wrong. It’s like spending Thanksgiving Day ripping out gizzards and mashing actual potatoes, only to be told that […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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